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Latest Environment Stories
Stunning Images of Feeding Fin Whales
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Times has stunning photographs of fin whales and dolphins feeding off Hook Head in Co Wexford captured by photographer George Karbus. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0201/1224288694464.html Czech-born Lahinch resident Karbus, who specialises in wildlife photography, said: “It is really hard to capture…
Three Seals Set For Release This Weekend
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) is gearing up for three seal releases this coming weekend. On Saturday 5 February ISS volunteers in tandem with the Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary will release Rupert and Rosie back into the wild at…
NI Minister Welcomes Renewable Energy Forum
Coastal Notes
Northern Ireland Energy Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed the setting up of the Offshore Renewable Energy Forum, tasked with evaulating the potential of Ireland's offshore resources. "Members of the forum can help shape the sustainable development of offshore renewables in…
Irish to Lead Europe in Research Vessel Productivity
Marine Science
The Marine Institute's two research vessels, RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager are to lead Europe with an all-time record of 627 days spent at sea of between both ships, well above the average for equivalent European research vessels.…
New Marina Centre for Ballycastle
Aquatic Tourism
Work has begun on a new visitor services building at Ballycastle harbour as part of a £7.4 million (€8.6 million) marine tourism project for the nothern part of Ireland and western Scotland. Moyle District Council is one of 20 partners…
Auction of Aran Islands Passenger Ferry Sisters
Island News
Two passenger ferry vessels which operated on routes to the Aran Islands will be put up for auction next month, writes Jehan Ashmore. The sister vessels are the MV Clann Eagle I (2005/169grt) and MV Clann Na N'oileain which was…
Corrib Pipeline Go-Ahead Rests With Energy Minister
Coastal Notes
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan will issue a decision "in the coming weeks" on Shell Ireland's plans to complete the Corrib gas pipeline, The Irish Times reports. The news follows yesterday's ruling by An Bord Pleanála which approved revised plans final…
Aerial Survey of Whales Begins
Marine Wildlife
The first ever Air Corps survey of whale and dolphin activity in Irish waters is set to begin today, the Irish Times reports. A survey team accompanied by members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) were scheduled to…
Baby Seal Found at NI Plant Hire Yard
Marine Wildlife
A lost baby seal surprised workers at a plant hire yard in Strabane, Co Tyrone earlier this month, BBC News reports. Staff at WT Hire were put in touch with a seal sanctuary in Newtownards when the pup was discovered…
Erris Seals Back in the Wild
Marine Wildlife
Whitecoat seal pups Snowy and Cecil were finally returned to the wild on Tuesday after their original Saturday release was postponed. The two seals, who were reabilitated by the Irish Seal Sanctuary at Courtown Harbour after being found on the…
Seal Sanctuary Sees Off Latest Releases
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Seal Sanctuary celebrated the release of six grey seal pups from two different locations last weekend. Dustin, Phoenix and Sean were released from Courtown Harbour, while Buddy Holly, Louise and Cookie were put into the water in Ballyferriter,…
Marine Sector is Key to Ireland's Future Says President
Marine Science
Marine scientists yesterday welcomed President Mary McAleese on a visit to the Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway. The President met many of those involved in the SmartBay project, a network of buoys that uses remote sensing technology to…
New Humpback Whale in Irish Waters
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has reported the sighting of a humpback whale new to Irish waters. Andrew Malcolm of the IWDG along with Martin Colfer spotted the whale just west of Dunmore East - a year after…
Ireland's Fog Signals to Fall Silent
Coastal Notes
The Commissioners of Irish Lights has said it consulted widely about discontinuing the last remaining fog signals around Ireland's coastline, The Irish Times reports. Nine lighthouses operated directly by the authority in the Republic and Northern Ireland, along with several…
Salt Shipments Bound for Cork
Weather
As artic conditions persist throughout the country, another shipment of rock-salt is due to arrive at the port of Cork tonight, writes Jehan Ashmore. The cargo-ship, CFL Prospect with 6,300 tonnes of salt onboard, set sail from the Mediterranean over a…
Vets Get to Grips With Whale, Dolphin Post-Mortems
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) recent workshop on the post-mortem examination of stranded dolphins and whales is hoped to encourage the building of much needed experience for Ireland's vets. http://www.iwdg.ie/article.asp?id=2430 More than 20 veterinarians from across the country…

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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