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Latest Environment Stories
New Website to Promote 'Tralee's Hidden Gem'
Coastal Notes
Fenit Harbour Company has launched a new website to promote its harbour and marina facilities, one of the most westerly marinas in Europe. Using the slogan, 'Tralee's Hidden Gem', Chairman of the Harbour commissioners, Brian O'Sullivan outlined plans for the…
State Research Body Backs Call for Marine Protected Areas
Marine Science
The Marine Institute today welcomed the publication of a major international marine environmental status report highlighting evidence of climate change and ocean acidification in the North Atlantic and calling for the creation of more Marine Protected Areas. The Quality Status…
€3.6 million to Irish Wave Ocean Firm
Power From the Sea
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan announced today that Irish company Wavebob Ltd has secured a grant of $2.4 million (€1.83 million) from the US Department of Energy to prepare for a commercial-scale wave energy demonstration project planned for US waters in…
Irish Marine Researchers Invited to Comment on European Marine Research
Marine Science
Irish marine researchers (including SMEs) are invited to comment and / or give input to future European Marine Research Strategy via the draft Ostend Declaration. The EurOCEAN 2010 Ostend Declaration will be a key deliverable of the Belgian-EU Presidency EurOCEAN…
Irish Marine Science Nets €23 million from Europe
Marine Science
Ireland's reputation as an emerging centre of excellence in marine science has been validated by the announcement yesterday (September 14th) of over €23 million in European funding for some 30 Irish marine research groups, including around 20 SMEs, engaged in…
Strangford Seal Deaths (Warning Picture May Upset Some Viewers)
Marine Wildlife
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has expressed concerns over a high number of unnatural seal deaths reported in recent years along the County Down coast. Declan Looney, Senior Wildlife Inspector with the NIEA said: "Both harbour and grey seals…
Protected Seals in Northern Ireland Were Decapitated
Marine Wildlife
A total of 16 were found, mainly grey pups and juveniles - which are both protected under European legislation - were recovered from Strangford Lough and Dundrum Bay. The Environment Agency said circumstantial evidence indicated interaction with some form of…
Harland and Wolff to build two Offshore Substations for Siemens
Power From the Sea
Siemens, a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, has awarded Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries Limited the design and build contract for two offshore substation platforms for the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm off the coast of North…
Students Take to the High Seas
Marine Science
Imagine being able to plan, design and carry out your own scientific survey into the seas around us. Last week research students from across Europe were given just such an opportunity when they joined scientists onboard the Irish national research…
Antrim's Red Bay is Marine Protection Area
Marine Wildlife
The popular Red Bay boating area on the North Antrim coast is to gain protection under EU Law as a marine animal protection area. The area was chosen because it contains rare species that are in danger of becoming extinct.…
Live Dolphin Strandings on West Coast
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) have received reports of five live stranding incidents of these marine animals along the west coast between 23 July and 9 August. There was a further report of a stranded striped dolphin from…
Swimmers, Surfers and Sailors are Reminded of the Venomous Weever Fish
Marine Wildlife
Excruciating pain as spines embed into human flesh from a marine animal. Not the sort of holiday talk, you were thinking about? The CEO of Irish Water Safety John Leech has issued a notice reminding swimmers, surfers and all beach users…
Politicians Aim to Restart Courtown Marina Project with EU Cash
Coastal Notes
The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has thrown its weight behind MEP Nessa Childers' efforts to raise funds in Europe for a stalled marina in Courtown. Wexford Councillors and County Council officials have come together to seek European assistance to help…
Belfast Uni Gets Funding for Tide Turbines
Power From the Sea
A consortium involving Queens University Belfast has won funding to develop a new marine turbine tidal energy system that can be deployed underwater, but raised to the surface easily for repairs.  Marine Current Turbines Ltd and its project partners Queen’s…
Seas at Risk from Decline in Plankton
Marine Wildlife
A major study published today in the journal Nature suggests that the marine food chain could be in danger of collapse due to declining levels of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are the bottom rung of the food chain on which all sea…
Cork Harbour Dolphins Jumping
Marine Wildlife
Pictures of Dolphins jumping off Roches Point in Cork harbour have been captured for youtube viewers courtesy of a Cork fishing trip this week. The three harbour dolphins jump clean out of the water in the clip below from about…

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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