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Marine Environment, Science, wildlife, weather & Ocean energy
Collaborative Research Project Develops Marine Toxin Warning Network
The Marine Institute has collaborated with 10 European partners as part of the research project Alertox-Net: Atlantic Area Network for Innovative Toxicity Alert Systems for Safer Seafood Products. Alertox-Net has focused on developing a marine toxin warning network to facilitate…
Tourism Minister Catherine Martin TD (left) pictured at Killiney Beach with Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly and Cllr Una Power, Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Funding of €19 million will be used to build “world-class” facilities at 22 locations across the country where water-based activities are a key visitor attraction. Tourism Minister Catherine Martin and Fáilte Ireland today (Thursday 15 April) launched the investment to…
Climate Minister Eamon Ryan noted that Ireland had set a 40 per cent target for renewables last year, and had actually met 43 per cent.
Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan has predicted that Ireland may be able to go “further, faster and bigger” in meeting and exceeding targets for emission reduction and renewable energy. As The Times Ireland edition reports, Ryan told the…
Hanneke Frenkel making her
Turbot Island's main claim to fame has been its sighting by trans-Atlantic aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown before they crash-landed at Derrygimlagh bog in north Connemara on June 15th, 1919. Turbot or “Inishturbot” is a few miles west…
Locations of the wreck sites off Co Donegal that will be surveyed from the RV Celtic Explorer from next week
The Department of Transport advises that a survey will take place at several offshore reefs and sandbanks off the North West Coast from next Friday 23 April to Tuesday 4 May. Survey works with marine robots in support of the…
The IWDG is awaiting clearer footage of the dolphin spotted off West Cork in recent days before it can make any confirmation of its identity
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has said it is “irresponsible to raise peoples' hopes” that a dolphin spotted off West Cork in recent days might be Dingle’s missing resident bottlenose, Fungie. Cork Beo reported on Sunday (11 April)…
Explorers Education Project Features in New ‘European Blue Schools’ Handbook
The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme is pleased to be included in the publication of the European Blue Schools handbook for teachers. This handbook was recently released as part of the launch of the European Blue Schools project’s Find the Blue…
Trá Mór on the Rosguill Peninsula in northern Co Donegal
Visitors to a beach recently named among the 10 best in Ireland were shocked to discover the remains of three whales washed up on the strand, as the Irish Examiner reports. The three carcasses found on Trá Mór in Donegal…
The inshore Atlantic 85 class lifeboat with the two walkers at Omey Island
Clifden RNLI came to the aid of two walkers who got cut off by the tide yesterday evening (Sunday 11 April). The volunteer crew were requested to launch the lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 5.50 pm following a…
Keem Beach is one of two beauty spots on Achill Island alone to make the cut
The Wild Atlantic Way is a winner when it comes to Lonely Planet’s new list of the 10 best beaches in Ireland. All but two of travel writer Fionn Davenport’s selections can be found along the breathtaking coastline from Kerry…
Image illustrating the proposed Codling Wind Park
The Department of Transport has been advised that Codling Wind Park Limited intend to conduct a series of geophysical surveys in the Irish Sea off Dublin and Wicklow from Wednesday 14 April to Wednesday 26 May, weather permitting. This work…
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) across Europe
Over the last three years, researchers from 12 institutes across seven European countries (Norway, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, France, Spain and Romania) investigated the impacts of ocean climate change on coastal marine ecosystems. The researchers, with expertise in climate change, social…
Tomas Flanagan, CEO at ÉireComposites
A Connemara company has secured €3 million from the European Commission to research and design a marine turbine that uses recycled materials for the first time. As The Times Ireland edition reports, designers at ÉireComposites in Indreabhán, Co Galway, believe…
Great Blasket Island off Co Kerry
One of the ferry companies that services the Blasket Islands is up for sale, as RTÉ Nuacht reports. Bádóirí an Bhlascaoid Teo operates a 48-passenger ferry between the island of Great Blasket and Dunquin in Co Kerry and is the longest…
Deploying the SLOCUM Glider. The SeaMonitor project uses innovative marine species tracking technology to better understand vulnerable marine life in our oceans
Clew Bay and Achill, Co Mayo will be among the key study areas in SeaMonitor, a unique marine research project which is using innovative marine species tracking technology to better understand and protect vulnerable marine life in our oceans. The…
With the successful remediation of the East Tip site into a 22-acre Public Park, the way is now clear for the remediation of the rest of Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour
The Government has assigned responsibility for the remediation of the former factory site on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour to the Department of Defence. Minister Simon Coveney stated that with the successful remediation of the East Tip site into a…

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.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”

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