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#MarineWildlife - Airborne drones will soon be used to patrol stretches of the Australian coast popular with Irish emigrants and holidaymakers that have seen numerous great white shark attacks over recent months.

According to BBC News, the New South Wales government will deploy drones with GPS and cameras providing a live feed to operators who can recommend action to close beaches to bathing and watersports as necessary.

The drones will work in tandem with a 'smart' drum line that will alert officials on the shore as soon as a shark is snagged on its baited hooks.

"We are delivering on a commitment to test the best science available, including new technologies, as we try to find a long term-term solution to keep our beaches safe," said NSW minister for primary industries Niall Blair.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - A conspicuous chunk missing from the tail fluke of a killer whale resident in Scottish waters is evidence of an altercation with a shark, as BBC News reports.

The orca, known as John Doe, is one of the familiar pod of killer whales that's commonly seen off the west of Scotland but has also been spotted in Donegal and off the east Scottish coast near Aberdeen.

Marine scientists have long been interested in the group because of its genetic distinctness from other killer whales in the north Atlantic – with studies showing they bear closer relation to orcas found in Antarctic waters.

And this latest discovery is troubling in light of the group's already precarious status, with no calves recorded among them since experts began to study them two decades ago.

The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) said it could not "realistically speculate" on what species of shark may have been to blame for the bite.

But one it most certainly isn't is the plankton-hungry basking shark, a species that's seen a drastic fall in numbers locally over the past year, according to the Irish Examiner.

Sightings of the ocean's second largest fish – after the similarly harmless whale shark – have dwindled by a third on 2013 figures, which the HWDT says is part of a trend.

However, experts have moved to quell any concerns over the health of the marine species, as they may simply have moved to offshore waters – or below the surface – in search of greater supplies of their favourite foodstuff.

Basking sharks may be seen less often, but there's another shark species in the oceans that even the experts know very little about – and one of them was just landed in the Philippines.

The Washington Post has more on the 'mysterious' megamouth shark, a prehistoric looking beast that was only discovered by science in 1976 and has been sighted just 64 times since then.

Scientists still have no idea of the size of their population or in what oceans they're concentrated, and this find may reveal little more - but it might tell us something new about their plankton-based diet and their unique physiology.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - An extreme sports enthusiast has been lambasted for climbing onto the floating carcass of a whale while it was surrounded by sharks.

As Main Online reports, Perth man Harrison Williams was spotted by surprised onlookers swimming to the dead whale floating in the sea off Western Australia – despite it being circled by a number of tiger sharks and at least one great white shark.

"If sharks were feeding on that whale carcass when he swam over then that type of behaviour is highly risky," said Tony Cappelluti, regional manager with Western Australia's Department of Fisheries.

But Harrison shrugged off his critics, saying that "the whale looked in distress and I tried to help it. But clearly I was too late."

Mail Online has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Sea is providing plenty of big game for sea angling enthusiasts as of late, with impressively sized porbeagle sharks among the recent catches.

As Angling Times reports, Dutch angler Robin Van Da Meer reeled in a 300lb beast off the Antrim Coast just days after Bangor man Brian Menary landed a 360lb specimen from the same boat, Predator 2, out of Red Bay.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg, as Wirral News remarks on the "flurry of exciting wildlife sightings" from the British side of the Irish Sea.

Experts say the warm weather that has mostly persisted since the end of the summer is largely responsible for the increase in sightings of such rare visitors as leatherback turtles, and the enormous ocean sunfish – two of which have been seen outside their usual haunts off the south of England.

According to Emily Baxter of the North West Wildlife Trusts, keen spotters on the Irish Sea coast – or even ferries crossing back and forth – "could be in for an exciting end to the summer".

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Sharks - The video above shows the terrifying moment when a RIB was literally munched on by a great while shark off the coast of South Africa.

As Mail Online reports, the images were captured by a film crew for the popular YouTube channel MaxAnimal, which specialises in over-the-top wild animal videos.

But this crew got more than the bargained for when they encountered one of the many great white sharks that populate South Africa's waters.

The shark can be seen circling the small inflatable vessel with no provocation from those on board, who were keenly aware of the dangers these marine creatures pose.

And as the footage clearly shows, one side of the RIB is instantly deflated when the giant ocean predator sinks its teeth right in.

Luckily both film crew and shark survived the incident unscathed! Mail Online has more HERE.

Closer to home, an open sea swimmer told the Irish Independent of his own triple-threat shark encounter in St Finian's Bay in South Kerry.

Bur Stephen Lynott had little to fear from these gentle giants, as the three basking sharks were only interested in feeding on the plankton likely kicked up in his wake.

Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the ocean and an increasingly common sight in Irish waters each summer.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#MARINE WILDLIFE - There's still a week left to check out the Shark Week celebrations at Sea Life Bray.

Till 4 November the centre on the promenade in Bray, Co Wicklow will be hosting events that take a closer look at one of nature's most magnificent but misunderstood creatures.

In an urgent bid for shark conservation, Sea Life is supporting the UK-based Shark Trust by throwing the spotlight on sharks - raising awareness about the wide range of shark species in British and Irish waters, and the challenges they and other marine wildlife are facing.

Kids can get involved with badge making, puzzles and games, shark-related quizzes and activity sheets, and even see the centre's sharks - which include bonnet head shark, leopard shark and blacktop reef shark - get their dinner at the shark feeding times!

The full timetable for Shark Week related events at Sea Life Bray is available HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

An unforgettable experience on a tall ship, Galway and the Volvo Race, the MOD70 European Tour in Dublin, protection for seafarers after 92 years, Wi-Fi and sharks, topics in your TIN this week.

Read on ....


in jeanniejohnson

Sailing the Jeanie Johnston

With the Tall Ships Race in Dublin, Captain Michael Coleman has answered my question as to what it is like to command one of these vessels:

"Sailing in good weather on a clear and starry night is an unforgettable experience. The distractions of the land are left far behind and you become at one with nature and the elements."

Captain Coleman of Cobh sailed the Jeanie Johnston in the 2005 Tall Ships Race out of Waterford. "An unforgettable experience never to be repeated," he says and he is right, because at the start of that race Ireland had three tall ships and they led the fleet down the Waterford Estuary to the sea – Asgard, Dunbrody and Jeanie Johnston.

"The distractions of the land are left behind and you become at one with nature and the elements," aboard a tall ship says Capt. Coleman. "No TV or mobile phones or the pressure of modern living, just the ship, the wind and the sea and yourself."

His description is in a new book about the tall ship from Kerry, published by Collins Press of Cork to mark the Tall Ships Race in Dublin. Michael English, who was born in Liverpool and studied art in Cork, then worked in advertising in Dublin, made a photographic record of his voyage aboard the Jeanie Johnston in 2005. This forms the new book: 'Jeanie Johnston – Sailing the Irish Famine Tall Ship.'

The Jeanie Johnston has been berthed for some years as a floating museum on the Liffey in Dublin. As tall ships from around the world gather this week in the capital, while there will be smaller Irish vessels taking part, this island nation does not have an active, sailing tall ship providing training for Irish young people.



Will we see another race village in Galway again?

Applications from ports around the world to stage the next Volvo Race must be lodged with Volvo by next month and the 'Let's Do It Global' group which ran the event in Galway is not, so far, preparing one it seems, despite the great success of twice staging the event there, this year and in 2009.

Raising the money needed is the problem.

900,000 people attended the race festival in Galway this year, the organisers said and there was a major economic spin-off for the city. A study of the 2009 stopover estimated the economic impact at €55.8 million with more than 650,000 visitors.

The €4 million fee for hosting this year's event was paid directly to the Volvo Ocean Race organisation as the price for bringing it to Galway by Fáilte Ireland. The Galway organisers found it difficult to secure sponsorship in the current economic climate. Galway Harbour Company, which closed the port for the nine-day festival and Galway City Council were major backers. The event had huge voluntary effort. A number of State agencies hosted events and provided logistical support.

Galway Chamber of Commerce called on the Government to provide the necessary support to secure a third successful bid for Galway.

John Killeen one of the leading forces in getting the race to Galway has said the event would have to be underwritten by a bigger entity than just a voluntary group.

As a host port in this year's event, Galway received an automatic invitation for inclusion in the next race in 2014/2015, with the final decision on port selection to be made by the race organisers in December.



The MOD70 is coming to Ireland

Ireland continues to gain a reputation as one of the best sailing locations in the world. The new global sailing championship series, the MOD70 European Tour will be in Dun Laoghaire from Wednesday, September 5 to Sunday, September 9, hosted by the National Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company. Many of the world's top sailing events have been held in Ireland this year.

The high speed MOD70 class of trimarans are a new innovation in sailing. Each MOD70 is identical, built from the same moulds. That should reflect the skills of the sailing crew in performance and not technological advantage.

The MOD70s coming to Dublin Bay will be - Race For Water, FONCIA, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Spindrift Racing and Musandam Oman Sail.

On Friday, September 7 and Saturday, September 8, they will sail the Dublin City Race and Speed Match Races. The trimarans will leave Dun Laoghaire at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 9, for the start of the second leg of the European Tour from Dun Laoghaire to Cascais.



The labour rights of the world's 1.2 million seafarers are to be protected in a new charter – the Maritime Labour Convention. Following its ratification by 30 countries it will go into effect in a year's time – ninety-two years after it was first proposed.

The International Labour Organisation is the United Nations' agency for internationally-recognised labour rights. The Convention was adopted back in 2006 but could not be put into effect until 30 countries adopted it. They represent nearly 60 per cent of the world's shipping tonnage, meaning that seafarers working on more than 50 per cent of the world's international shipping will be covered by the new Convention. Ireland is a member of the ILO but has not yet signed the Convention.

• A safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards

• Fair terms of employment

• Decent working and living conditions on board ship

• Health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection



in whiteshark

Marine researchers are using "ocean WiFi hotspots" in their latest attempts to track the movements of white sharks. The species is under threat. Sharks take several years to reach maturity and spawn. An unmanned 'Wave Glider' robot is the latest development in ocean technology. It has been deployed near San Francisco in US waters. The self-propelled solar-powered glider is part of a new network including data receivers on fixed buoys that will pick up signals from acoustic tags on animals passing within 1,000 feet and transmit the data to a research team on-shore at Stanford University Marine Sciences Department. These are the result of 12 years development of fixed and mobile ocean transmitters to follow thousands of species. They increase scientific capacity to observe the oceans and marine populations, improve fisheries management models and monitor animal responses to climate change.

• The tracking can be followed in real time on a smartphone and tablet computer app "Shark Net" available free of charge at the Apple app store.

in sharkrobot

White shark tracking robot



Approval has been given for the building of the first commercial wave-power plant in the USA. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a 35-year licence to Ocean Power Technologies Inc. to build the plant, intended to produce 1.5-megawatts of power, 2.5 miles off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon.


• Email your maritime comments to TIN: [email protected]

Follow me for more maritime news and comment on Twitter: @TomMacSweeney

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Published in Island Nation
Last Saturday's Irish Times features an interview with Hawaiian surfing champion Bethany Hamilton who was in Bundoran for Eurosurf 2011 - where the film of her incredible true life experiences, Soul Surfer, had its gala premiere.
As previously reported on, Soul Surfer tells the story of how Hamilton battled against all odds to become a champion again after losing her arm in a shark attack when she was just 13 years of age.
Most people would be put off surfing for life after such an ordeal, but Hamilton felt she would be lost without it.
"My passion for surfing outweighed my fear of sharks or anything else that might stop me from going in there," she said. "I was so excited to be back in the ocean and once I did it I felt like I was back at home and where I felt comfortable."
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Last Saturday's Irish Times features an interview with Hawaiian surfing champion Bethany Hamilton who was in Bundoran for Eurosurf 2011 - where the film of her incredible true life experiences, Soul Surfer, had its gala premiere.

As previously reported on, Soul Surfer tells the story of how Hamilton battled against all odds to become a champion again after losing her arm in a shark attack when she was just 13 years of age.

Most people would be put off surfing for life after such an ordeal, but Hamilton felt she would be lost without it.

"My passion for surfing outweighed my fear of sharks or anything else that might stop me from going in there," she said. "I was so excited to be back in the ocean and once I did it I felt like I was back at home and where I felt comfortable."

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

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 and rays, with over forty different species regularly recorded. Since 1997 the Irish Elasmobranch Group (IEG) has been promoting the research, conservation and awareness of these animals in Irish waters.

"Ireland is not alone in having a specific body dedicated to the promotion of shark research with many other European countries having similar groups," said conference organiser Dr. Edward Farrell who has spent the last four years studying Smooth Hound Sharks under the supervision of Dr. Stefano Mariani of the University College, Dublin and Dr. Maurice Clarke of the Marine Institute. The European Elasmobranch Association (EEA) is a share-holding organisation for coordinating the activities of all the national shark organisations dedicated to the study, management or conservation of sharks, skates and rays within Europe.

"Irish shark research will feature strongly at the conference," said Dr. Clarke, "with presentations on the satellite tagging of porbeagle sharks and a global population study of blue sharks among the highlights."

The conference this year will cover a wide variety of topics including elasmobranch taxonomy, biology, management and conservation, fisheries and ecology. It will also be preceded by a meeting of the Shark Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Tuesday 9th November in Galway. This group promotes the long term conservation of the world's sharks and related species. Their task will be to assess the status of a number of threatened and endangered Northeast Atlantic species. For more information see

"The annual EEA conference provides a unique opportunity for a diverse range of member organisations to exchange ideas and research, and forge links to promote shark, skate and ray conservation throughout Europe and the rest of the world," said IEG outreach officer Emmet Jackson of BIM. "Galway Atlantaquaria is hosting the welcome reception and delegates are sure to enjoy the elasmobranch exhibits, particularly the impressive ray pool and the world's only captive white skate."

Further details of this conference, a first for Ireland, are available on the Irish Elasmobranch Group website and the EEA website at: and

* "Elasmobranch" is a collective name for sharks, skates and rays.


Published in Marine Wildlife
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