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Latest Environment Stories
Poots Appeals Over Latest NI Seal Deaths
Marine Wildlife
NI environment minister Edwin Poots has appealed to the public for information on marine animals following the suspicious deaths of five seals in Strangford Lough last week. The grim discovery comes only weeks after a wave of fatal corkscrew-like injuries…
U.S. Nobel Laureate Visits Marine Institute in Galway
Marine Science
The Marine Institute headquarters at Oranmore, Co. Galway was honoured last Saturday (6th November) by a visit from US Energy Secretary Prof. Steven Chu, himself a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and long-time advocate of alternative sources of sustainable energy. This is…
Bray Web Cam Captures Storm Scenes
Weather
East North East winds that hit the country overnight are creating big waves on the East coast this morning. Bray Sailing Club's web cam is picking up the storm waves breaking at the mouth of the North Wicklow harbour HERE. (Check back…
Galway Atlantaquaria Nets Second Education and Outreach Award
Marine Science
Galway Atlantaquaria who, with the Marine Institute, Forfas Discover Primary Science and others are partners in the Explorers marine education and outreach programme, have achieved their second prestigious award - Best Education Project : Public and General Visitor 2010 - from the Britain and…
Sonar Possible Culprit in Whale Death Tragedy
Marine Wildlife
Sonar activity by Royal Navy submarines may have caused the deaths of up to 35 pilot whales off the coast of Co Donegal at the weekend, an expert has claimed. Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group…
Lunch Time Atlantic Weather Reading Shows Approaching Storm
Weather
It's a beautiful, bright and calm winter afternoon on the east coast HERE but there's no doubt about a storm brewing in the Atlantic thanks to weather readings at 12 noon from the Corrib Gas field off the west coast HERE
Post Mortem on Mass Pilot Whale Strandings Cancelled Due to Bad Weather
Marine Wildlife
Plans to carry out a post-mortem examinations on thirty-five Pilot whales found dead on a beach in Co Donegal yesterday have been cancelled due to bad weather according to Dr. Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Up…
European Shark Experts Gather in Galway
Marine Wildlife
International experts on sharks, skates and rays will meet at the Marine Institute in Galway for the 14th Annual European Elasmobranch* Association Conference from 10th-13th November 2010. The waters around Ireland are home to a rich diversity of sharks, skates…
Ireland has Potential to Produce 10 times our Existing Electricity Demand
Power From the Sea
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan today published the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan for public consultation. Ireland's ocean territory is 10 times our land mass size. This Plan, in conjunction with the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Irish Waters also published today,…
Irish 'Underwater Atlas' Launched at Geoscience Event
Marine Science
Following the publication of 'The Real Map of Ireland', showing a three-dimensional overview of Ireland's seabed territory, earlier this year comes 'The Real Atlas' – a detailed compilation of stunning three-dimensional imagery featuring the submarine canyons, underwater mountains and abyssal…
 Irish Atlantic Promoted for Petroleum Exploration
Power From the Sea
In Dublin this morning, Minister for Natural Resources Conor Lenihan opened an important research conference for the petroleum industry. The Atlantic Ireland 2010 conference brings together researchers and industry alike, to examine the opportunities for oil and gas exploration in…
Explorers Team Goes Out of the Deep and into Space for Science Week
Marine Science
The Explorers Education Programme run by Galway Atlantaquaria with the support of the Marine Institute is emerging out of the deep blue sea and into space to celebrate the launch of National Science Week 2010. 'Our Place in Space' is…
Jellyfish Numbers On The Rise
Marine Science
New research by marine biologists shows that jellyfish numbers are rising in European waters - including the Irish Sea. The BBC reports that findings set to be published in the journal Global Change Biology show that samples collected from the…
'Propellers' To Blame for NI, Scotland Seal Deaths
Marine Wildlife
Scientists believe that a recent wave of fatal corkscrew-like injuries to seals discovered in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the result of contact with boat propellers. Original speculation on the ususual injuries pointed the blame at sharks. But Dr David…
Rare Strangford Cuttlefish Makes Great Escape
Marine Science
A rare cuttlefish found on the shores of Strangford Lough has made a bid for freedom after it was captured by marine science students. The cephalopod apparently squeezed its way down the drain of the lab tank where it was…
NI Aquarium Hosts Seal Week
Marine Wildlife
The Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry, Co Down will host its Seal Week from 6-14 November. The week will feature fun seal-themed events for children and families, including daily seal feedings, as well as talks from the  knowledgeable staff who care…

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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