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Launch of New Lake Boat in Battle to Save Northern Ireland's Birds

3rd January 2020
The reconfigurable livestock lake-boat named Joe Magee was delivered to Northern Ireland's RSPB. AFLOAT adds the 15-metre custom-made cot for use on Lower Lough Erne, weighs 14 tonnes and was built by Mainstay Marine Solutions based in Pembroke Dock, south Wales. The reconfigurable livestock lake-boat named Joe Magee was delivered to Northern Ireland's RSPB. AFLOAT adds the 15-metre custom-made cot for use on Lower Lough Erne, weighs 14 tonnes and was built by Mainstay Marine Solutions based in Pembroke Dock, south Wales. Photo: Mainstay Marine Solutions - facebook

The launch of a new boat is a boost in the efforts to protect the habitats of endangered birds in County Fermanagh, reports BBC News NI.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) will use it to transport livestock to graze on islands on Lower Lough Erne, creating a suitable environment for breeding wader birds.

The vessel has been named in tribute to former RSPB warden Joe Magee.

Having joined the society in 1971, he was one of the first people to notice the alarming decline in curlews.

'You could hear them all over the place'

Mr Magee said when he started work as an RSPB warden in Fermanagh, the sounds of many endangered bird species were common.

"If you went outside the door at that time you could hear curlews, and lapwings, all over the place, and even corncrakes were very common then."

Corncrakes have now disappeared completely from Fermanagh.

Since 1987 curlew numbers have fallen by 89% across Northern Ireland.

Last year there were 39 pairs of curlews on the RSPB managed islands in Fermanagh, 10% of the population on the island of Ireland.

One reason for the decline is a change in farming practices.

For further reading click here. 

Published in Inland Waterways
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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