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Latest Environment Stories
Dirty Dunes a Danger Says Coastwatch
Coastal Notes
Coastwatch has claimed that a ministerial order for the protection of sand dunes in Co Wexford is being breached, The Irish Times reports. The order was made in January by former environment minister John Gormley to protect the Tinnaberna dunes…
Ireland's First Biodiversity Audit Launched
Marine Wildlife
Ireland's first ever biodiversity audit has revealed that our mountains, woodlands and waterways are home to more than 31,000 different species of plants and animals. For all the latest news on Irish marine animals click here. Ireland's waters boast more…
Kelly to Give Keynote Address at Wind Energy Conference
Power From the Sea
Sean Kelly, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South, will address the IWEA in Dublin this week. As the national association for the wind industry in Ireland, the IWEA aims to educate and build awareness in order to promote the use…
A Southern Expedition Claims 'new found land' in Needles Channel
Coastal Notes
It may not quite live up to the adventurous exploits of Scott and Shackelton, but an intrepid group from the Hamble-based Royal Southern Yacht Club, led by Mike 'Pike' Jones, Peter Delbridge and Tim Robinson, sought out new Solent territories…
Marine Sector Could Boost Tourism
Aquatic Tourism
Writing in the Irish Examiner yesterday, Donal Hickey points Ireland's tourism authorities towards our abundant marine wildlife as a draw for potential visitors. Hickey makes note of the "multi-million euro industry" built up around Fungie the dolphin in Dingle and…
Clare County Council Approves Doolin Development
Coastal Notes
The controversial €6 million deveopment of Doolin Point has been backed unanimously by Clare councillors. Clare county manager Tom Coughlan had recommended giving approval for the revised plan, which was submitted after surfers expressed concerns over the impact of the…
Scotland To Host World's Biggest Tidal Power Array
Power From the Sea
Scotland's west coast will be home to the world's largest tidal power facility, it has been announced. The £40 million (€45.9 million) 10MW tidal array, to be developed by ScottishPower Renewables in the Sound of Islay, will generate power for…
Record Dolphin Strandings 'Inexplicable'
Marine Wildlife
There is growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along Ireland's south coast, the Irish Examiner reports. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) announced that a record 19 common dolphins washed up dead in Cork, Waterford and…
'The Sea: One of Ireland's Greatest Natural Resources' - Coveney
Marine Science
In his first week in office Marine Minister Simon Coveney has moved to highlight the significance of the marine sector to Ireland. The statement came in his first official engagement at the new Department of Agriculture, Marine and Food. Minister…
Marine Institute Welcomes Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food
Marine Science
The Marine Institute has issued a statement congratulating Mr Simon Coveney TD on his new appointment as the Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food today (11th March 2011), during his visit on board the RV Celtic Explorer in Cork, after…
MEP Highlights Possibilities for Marine Tourism
Coastal Notes
An Irish MEP has urged the new Government to exploit the "endless possibilities" of marine tourism in Ireland. Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg earlier this week, Sean Kelly MEP said: "“My own constituency of Ireland South alone boasts…
New Thermal Imaging System Spots Whale Spouts 2km Away
Marine Science
Current Corporation has announced successful results of tests involving the simulation and detection of whale spouts with its new Night Navigator 3 thermal imaging camera system. http://www.currentcorp.com/current-corporation-detects-whale-spouts-at-night-at-distances-of-up-to-2km/ An air compressor was used to simulate the spout of a whale in…
Renewable Energy 'Milestone' for Northern Ireland
Coastal Notes
The UK's Crown Estate has announced a consultation on making areas of Northern Ireland's sea bed available for renewable energy projects, Business & Leadership reports. The consultation process will inflence leasing rounds for offshore wind and tidal energy projects in…
Aran Island Fast-Ferries Sold to Mauritius Operator
Island News
Two former Aran Islands fast-passenger ferries have been sold to a buyer in Mauritius, the island nation which lies southeast off the African continent in the Indian Ocean, and some 900km east of Madagascar, writes Jehan Ashmore. The ferries Clann…
Donegal Wind Farm Faces Criticism
Coastal Notes
A Donegal conservation group has hit out at An Bord Pleanála for approving plans for a 13-turbine wind farm in a scenic Gaeltacht area. The Irish Times reports that businessman PJ Molloy originally sought permission for 35 wind turbines with…
Irish Sea Marine Habitats to Get Greater Protection
Coastal Notes
Areas along Cumbria's coast could have greater protection under new plans for the conservation of marine habitats. The Irish Sea Conversation Zones project is currently recommending areas to the UK government that could be designated for marine conservation. BBC News…

For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is Afloat.ie.

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!

Weather

As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and Afloat.ie will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

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