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New developments in Ireland's capacity to uncover its past and explore its future economic potential will be revealed today and tomorrow (16th and 17th November) at a seminar on underwater mapping at the Marine Institute in Galway.

INFOMARNov2011AranSoundGalwayBay

Map of the Aran Sound in Galway Bay

Speakers at this annual seminar of the INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable development of Ireland's MARine Resource) programme will discuss the discovery of new and historic underwater wreck sites, the application of seabed mapping in the selection of sites for generating wave energy, the protection of fish spawning grounds, and the planning of fish farm sites.

The INFOMAR programme is a jointly managed programme between the Marine Institute and the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and is funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCNER).

INFOMARNov2011ManchesterMerchant

Wreck of the SS. Manchester Merchant

The event will also feature the latest results from a range of EC funded marine mapping initiatives and stunning underwater footage from the recent Irish mission to the volcanic vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge over 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea.

Opening the seminar Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said, "Ireland is leading the way for Europe in marine mapping and in laying the foundations for the sustainable management of our ocean space. Surveying the gateways to our ports, mapping our fish spawning grounds, finding routes for marine telecommunications cables and selecting the best sites for ocean energy generation all rely on accurate seabed mapping capability, which Ireland now possesses."

In addition to its large scale marine mapping remit, INFOMAR's Value Added Programme is co-ordinating an integrated multidisciplinary approach to the handling, processing and application of its ever-expanding marine data set.

Ventpic2large

Deepwater photograph from the mid-Atlantic Ridge

As a result of its latest call for research proposals, INFOMAR received 32 submissions for studies on such subjects as the appraisal of seabed data for tidal energy generation, the integration of satellite and marine data for coastal mapping and the use of new graphic animation techniques to integrate environmental information into seabed mapping displays.

"INFOMAR is a key mechanism to unlock the economic potential of our ocean territory," said Koen Verbruggen of the GSI. "By linking industry and academia to the realisation of our government's objectives and requirements around sustainable ocean development we will strengthen Ireland's position on this new frontier and expand our capability to deliver services and solutions to all marine sectors – in Ireland, in Europe and across the world."

INFOMARNov2011WMBarkley

Wreck of the sunken Guinness ship W.M. Barkley off Dublin Bay

As well as looking to the future, Ireland's maritime past will be explored in a presentation by the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on the discovery of a probably late 16th century wreck off Rutland Island, Co. Donegal. The wreck, which may have been an armed merchant ship, a pirate or naval vessel potentially associated with the local Gaelic lordships or the Spanish Armada of 1588, is an extremely important find that could add greatly to our understanding of Ireland's maritime heritage.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under
In his first week in office Marine Minister Simon Coveney has moved to highlight the significance of the marine sector to Ireland. The statement came in his first official engagement at the new Department of Agriculture, Marine and Food. Minister Coveney said: "the seas and ocean that surround the island of Ireland are among this country's greatest natural resources."

The Minister was speaking during a visit to the Marine Institute's research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, on its return from a mission to the Labrador and Newfoundland Seas.

He added "I am particularly pleased that this is my first official engagement as Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food. The work of the RV Celtic Explorer highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence, where we have prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies."

Minister Coveney commended the Marine Institute and its Chief Executive, Dr Peter Heffernan, for its leading and proactive role in the areas of fisheries science, marine environment and food safety as well as ocean science and said that he looked forward to working closely with the Institute and benefitting from the research and advice which they would undertake and provide.

The Minister noted that Ireland's two national research vessels – RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager – will record 267 days at sea during 2011, during which they will be engaged in fisheries surveys, underwater mapping, climate studies and deepwater surveys.

Published in Marine Science
The Marine Institute has issued a statement congratulating Mr Simon Coveney TD on his new appointment as the Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food today (11th March 2011), during his visit on board the RV Celtic Explorer in Cork, after its return from the mission to the Labrador and Newfoundland Seas.

Seeing the capabilities of Ireland's largest research vessel and the work of the Marine Institute, Mr Simon Coveney highlighted the importance the Marine Sector has on the Irish economy. "The seas and ocean that surround the land of Ireland is arguably one of our countries greatest natural resources. Through marine research, development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong reputation as an emerging centre of excellence, where we have prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies," he said.

Ireland's national research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager will record 627 days at sea between the two during 2011. Their work will range from fisheries surveys to underwater mapping and from climate studies to deepwater surveys with the remotely operated submersible ROV Holland 1.

"The work conducted on the vessels continues to feed into the success in attracting EU funding to Ireland's marine science programmes that have been achieved by our strategic approach to marine science planning" explained Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.

"The award of funding projects shows that partnerships between academics and small businesses can yield significant dividends in creating jobs, generating economic revenue and the supply of raw materials for new industries ranging from ocean energy and environmental monitoring technologies to marine-inspired pharmaceuticals and food ingredients" he further said.

Published in Marine Science

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.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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