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Latest Environment Stories
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…
Minister Connick Visits the Marine Institute
Marine Science
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Mr. Sean Connick, T.D., today (July 27th), visited the Marine Institute's headquarters and laboratory facilities at Rinville, Oranmore, Co. Galway where he discussed the creation of new opportunities for…
€6.4 billion EU Fund has Opportunities for Irish Marine Sector
Marine Science
EU Commission Launches €6.4 billion for Smart Growth and Jobs The European Union has opened its latest round of financial support for collaborative research and innovation announcing nearly €6.4 billion in new investment under its 7th Framework Research Programme (2007-2013).…
Whale Sighting confirmed off Rathlin
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group believes that the whale spotted off Howth and Dublin Bay last week may be the same marine animal spotted at the foot of cliffs on Rathlin Island. The whale is thought to be moving…
Nearly €4m to be Sunk Into Galway Bay Research
Power From the Sea
The Marine Institute has welcomed Friday’s announcement by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen and Mr Batt O Keffe, TD of nearly €4m of funding for technology development in Galway Bay.  SmartBay, an innovative project to establish a shared platform for testing…
More Sightings of Humpback Whale off Dublin Come to the Surface
Marine Wildlife
Since the first report of the Humpback whale off Howth, north Co Dublin, on Thursday, the first sighting in the area in almost 20 years, several other eyewitness reports are surfacing too. The sitings are among a handful of validated…
First Humpback Whale Spotted off Howth in 20 Years
Marine Wildlife
A Hump Back Whale was spotted off Howth head, Co. Dublin this afternoon by local canoeists. It is the first reported sighting in the Eastern Irish Sea in over 20 years according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who…
Fin Whales Spotted off Waterford
Marine Wildlife
The first inshore Fin Whales of 2010 have been spotted off the Waterford coast, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have reported. The Fin Whale is the second largest animal on the planet, with only the Blue Whale larger. Fin…
Marine Institute opens its doors to the public in Aid of Galway Lifeboat
Marine Science
The Marine Institute is having a Summer Fête – Family Fun Pirate Day at its headquarters, Rinville, Oranmore on Sunday 11th July from 1.00 pm to 5.30 pm in aid of Galway Lifeboat. Admission is free.The fun day offers a…
Energetic Atlantic Dolphins are Fussy Eaters
Marine Wildlife
Atlantic Dolphins choose to eat high-energy fish to suit their energetic lifestyles, scientists have found. A study of dolphins off the French coast shows that dolphins shy away from less calorie-dense prey in favour of high-energy food. This dispels a…
Warm Water Species on the Increase Around Ireland’s Coasts
Marine Wildlife
Mr. Sean Connick, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today (June 29th) launched a milestone report on the effects of climate change on Ireland’s marine ecosystems. The document - Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem…

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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