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Displaying items by tag: Marine Institute

The European Commission has recently launched a pilot version of a new European Atlas of the Seas – a dynamic online atlas where users will be able to learn more about Europe's seas, its maritime sectors, the interaction between them and the maritime policy which brings them all together.

By presenting the European Union's maritime heritage to the public in a practical and informative way, the atlas is seeking to bring fisheries and maritime policies to a wider audience. It offers detailed information on a vast array of maritime subjects and areas, such as: the volume of passengers and cargo carried to and from various destinations, the areas most affected by coastal erosion, or which Member States fish for a certain species in which sea basin.

Information on sea depths and undersea relief names, rivers and their drainage basins, tide amplitude, sea level rise, marine protected areas and many other things are also to be found.

The atlas, which will be available in English, French and German, was one of the actions outlined by the Commission when it launched an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union in 2007.

This pilot edition of the atlas will be further developed, and for this purpose an online survey asks users to give feedback and ideas for improvement at:

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

Scientists at the Marine Institute, Galway, are working with anglers around Ireland to study the migration and diving behaviour of porbeagle sharks (Latin name - Lamna nasus) in the northeast Atlantic. Porbeagle sharks are one of the top marine predators around Ireland, but very little is known about their movement patterns in the northeast Atlantic.

Like most pelagic sharks around the world, the porbeagle shark is vulnerable to fishing pressure due to its high commercial value, slow growth rate and complicated reproductive cycle. However, there is currently no protective legislation for the species, primarily due to a lack of basic information on its biology and ecology.

Marine Institute fisheries scientist Dr. Maurice Clarke said, "Understanding the biology and spatial ecology of the porbeagle shark is key to the conservation of the species and for establishing successful ecosystem-based management strategies in the northeast Atlantic".

To study the movement patterns of porbeagles, scientists are using pop-up satellite tags. These tags are fitted harmlessly to the back of the shark and collect information on the animals' location and depth distribution, together with data on the environment in which the sharks live. Then after nine months the tags pop-up to the surface and transmit the data to polar-orbiting satellites.

With help from expert shark angler, Peter McAuley, three tags were deployed off Downings, Donegal, in September 2008. These data have provided new insight into the migration and diving behaviour of porbeagle sharks around Ireland. One shark, a juvenile male, migrated over 2400 km to Madeira off the west coast of Morocco during the wintertime. Another shark migrated to the Bay of Biscay, a region that is considered a hotspot for other shark-like species such as albacore tuna. The results also showed that porbeagle diving behaviour is linked strongly to the day-night cycle and the monthly lunar cycle.

Daragh Brown of BIM commented that, "These results are really interesting and since there isn't a whole lot known about porbeagle behaviour or habitat preference, even small amounts of data can really advance our knowledge".

This year, Marine Institute scientists are hoping to tag large adult females to find out the location of porbeagle birthing grounds. Currently nothing is known about where these large predators give birth.

The Marine Institute is currently working with the Irish Elasmobranch Group, French Research Institute for Exploration of the Seas (IFREMER), and the Association for the Conservation of Sharks (APECS) to find further funding for the project that will end in 2011. They aim to establish links between the fishing industry, recreational anglers and the public to increase research and awareness for the conservation of these sharks.

Dr. Edward Farrell (Irish Elasmobranch Group) said, "Pelagic sharks have received much global attention recently. Given the increasing pressures that threaten their survival, there is a pressing need for new research to underpin effective management measures".


Published in Marine Wildlife
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr. Brendan Smith TD, speaking at a workshop organised by his Department on 29th April, said that Ireland had secured over €7.5 million to date in research funding under the FP7 Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology (FAFB) Programme.

Of this amount, €1.6 million (19%) went to the marine sector with a further €6 million being won in collaborative marine food related research projects across the various FP7 Thematic areas. The occasion of the Workshop, held at the DAFF Backweston Campus, Co. Kildare, was to launch a DAFF booklet highlighting the success of Irish researchers in the FP7 FAFP Programme; discuss how Ireland could increase its participation in this important funding programme and to welcome Ms Maive Rute, EC Director, FAFB Programme, who outlined the future direction and aims and objectives of the FAFB Programme which will continue until 2013.

In opening the Workshop, the Minister described the level of funding secured as "very significant and a clear demonstration of the essential need to continue Ireland's investment in R&D, particularly in relation to our most important indigenous sector and especially given the economic challenges facing both the country and the industry."

Minister Smith said that the involvement of Irish scientists and researchers in the Irish agri-food and fisheries' sciences, over the past three years, and the continuing need to emphasise the importance of industry involvement in research, demonstrated "the essential place of the Irish food sector in the Government's Smart Economy agenda."

The current economic challenges as well as those posed by climate change, energy supply and food security have all pushed agricultural and food production up both the domestic and European political agendas and have emphasised the need for international research collaboration. "These are challenges of a global nature that we simply cannot tackle in isolation, it is essential that we engage internationally to develop strategies that mitigate against and adapt to these challenges", the Minister concluded.

Ms Maive Rute, Director, Directorate E: Food, Agriculture, Fisheries, Biotechnology, outlined a vision for a bright green economy and the role of FP7. "Green" in this context refers to the Europe 2020 Strategy which sets out a vision of a resource efficient, low carbon economy, stimulating green innovation, jobs and growth. Priorities, she said would include: making industry "greener"; providing healthy food; closing the waste loop and retaining the European lead in bio-sciences and technologies.

Mr Geoffrey O'Sullivan, of the Marine Institute's European Information Desk, outlined, how in addition to the €1.6 million won by Irish researchers and SMEs under the FP7 FAFB Programme, an additional €6 million had been won in collaborative marine food related research projects across the various FP7 Thematic areas. These included seven projects related to the ecosystem approach to fisheries management and the detection of toxic algal (€3 million) funded under the Environment Programme; four SME projects related to improvements in production technologies for aquaculture and marine food additives (€2 million) supported under the Research for the Benefit of SMEs Programme and over €1 million for a project investigating the use of marine algae as biomass for biofuel.

Mr O'Sullivan pointed out that there were many opportunities for Marine Research Centres and knowledge-based SMEs to benefit from FAFB funding, particularly in relation to production efficiencies, seafood processing, health and safety and in marine biotechnology. The current level of Irish engagement in the marine food sector is very encouraging, he said, but anticipated a significant increase as new marine food research capacity established under the NDP Marine Research Sub-Programme, which includes €5.2 million DAFF/Marine Institute investment in the NutraMara Programme on Marine Functional Foods, started to kick in.

In closing the Workshop, Dr Dave Beehan, Chief Inspector, DAFF, pointed out that in the current economic climate, FP7 is one source of research funding that is not diminishing. It is increasing year on year. It is the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's stated strategy to develop internationalisation in our research system and FP7 represents the most obvious mechanism of achieving this aim.

The next call for competitive collaborative research proposals in the FP7 FAFB Programme will be launched on 30th July 2010 with closing dates for submissions in January 2011.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under
Page 38 of 38

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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