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Marine Institute Celebrates Heritage Week 2021 With Interactive Archive

18th August 2021
Image of the Scientific Investigations intro from the Sea and Inland Fisheries report for 1906
The Scientific Investigations collection from 1901-1926 is now digitised and freely accessible online Credit: Marine Institute

In celebration of National Heritage Week 2021, the Marine Institute has launched a new Interactive Marine Archive where you can explore two rare historical collections on Irish sea and inland fisheries.

The digitised collections include the Sea and Inland Fisheries reports from 1839-1987, which show what fish were being taken from our seas, where they were landed and their values at market annually, among other revealing tidbits.

Also available is the Scientific Investigations collection which spans from 1901-1926 and contains papers and journal articles of new scientific discoveries of that time, such as how Maude Delap closed the life cycle of the jellyfish and the deep-sea documentations of Anne Massey.

“These reports contain valuable data about the pre-exploitation state of Irish fisheries,” said Stephanie Ronan, librarian at the Marine Institute. “Digitising these historical books and extracting key information enables these data to be visualised and explored, making them easily and widely accessible to researchers and the public today.”

Dr Maurice Clarke, marine ecosystems lead at the Marine Institute, added: “It is only in examining the past, and beginning our journey of discovery with the appropriate baseline data, that we can offer advice on the impacts of climate change and fishing to government.

“For example, the work done a hundred years ago on the herring fisheries in Ireland — which yielded tens of thousands of tonnes annually, while today the yields are in the mere hundreds of tonnes — shows the impacts that climatic changes had even then.”

An interactive timeline takes you through 150 years of Irish fisheries history and the highlights for each year from the Sea and Inland Fisheries reports and Scientific Investigations series.

The Habitat Map displays the location of oyster beds licenses granted in 1875 throughout Ireland. Select a location and find out where the license was granted, to whom, when and the area of the beds in acres, roods and perches. The archive also includes annual landing data for species such as cod, haddock and salmon.

You can explore the work and achievements of many of the key scientists in Ireland, from Ernest Holt, George Farran and Arthur Went to the Marine Institute’s John Molloy.

And find out more about the vessels that have supported Irish fisheries research throughout the years, from the Helga — a 150ft steam liner used in 1901 — to the Marine Institute’s modern RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager which are used by scientists today.

The Interactive Marine Archive project was funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund Marine Biodiversity Scheme.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

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