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#Fishing - Key to proposals to end fish discards in this year's reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the introduction of new technology like wheelhouse cameras and 'smart nets'.

So argues EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, as BBC News reports on trials of new net designs that can separate fish catches and reduce damage to the seabed.

One of the fishing net innovations involves a bendable plastic grid attached to the middle of a trawl net that allows smaller fish and juveniles to pass through while snaring the valuable larger catch.

Another design, the Rollerball net, attempts to eliminate the problem of heavy trawling gear churning up debris on the sea floor while reducing drag and saving on boats' fuel bills.

Assuaging concerns over the prohibitive costs for fishermen, Damanaki says she hopes that such 'smart nets' will be subsidised by as much as 85% - while emphasising that the adoption of new technology could mean the difference between being allowed to fish or being banned from the ocean.

Wheelhouse CCTV cameras are another method that has been shown to reduce discards to less than 1% in some cases - and Damanaki says they will be essential if the CFP reforms indeed include a zero tolerance policy on fish discards.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
American Gregg Bemis is headed to Ireland for what may be the last major dive to the wreck of the Lusitania.
Bemis, who owns the wreck of the former Cunard cruise liner torpedoed off the Cork coast in 1915, told The Irish Times that hopes to discover once and for all what was in the cargo hold of the ship - and give an answer to rumours that precious art and munitions were part of the manifest.
The millionaire has fought with the Irish State over the rights to the wreck site, to which he has dived twice before, but now he has full licence and access to the latest technology to unveil the Lusitania's deepest secrets.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

American Gregg Bemis is headed to Ireland for what may be the last major dive to the wreck of the Lusitania.

Bemis, who owns the wreck of the former Cunard cruise liner torpedoed off the Cork coast in 1915, told The Irish Times that hopes to discover once and for all what was in the cargo hold of the ship - and give an answer to rumours that precious art and munitions were part of the manifest.

The millionaire has fought with the Irish State over the rights to the wreck site, to which he has dived twice before, but now he has full licence and access to the latest technology to unveil the Lusitania's deepest secrets.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Marine scientists yesterday welcomed President Mary McAleese on a visit to the Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway.
The President met many of those involved in the SmartBay project, a network of buoys that uses remote sensing technology to collect and relay data on ocean conditions over long distances.
Institute staff also briefed the President on its programmes to sustainably manage wild fish stocks, ensure seafood safety and protect the marine environment.
“As the resources of the ocean become ever more implicated in the future development of high technologies sectors like energy, ICT, medical and pharma, they will be a key part of Ireland’s future economic story,” said the President.
Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, also highlighted "Ireland’s reputation as an emerging centre of excellence in marine science".
He said this was "validated" by the announcement of €23 million in EU funding for marine research groups and enterprises involved in pioneering areas such as ocean energy and biotechnology.

Marine scientists yesterday welcomed President Mary McAleese on a visit to the Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway.

The President met many of those involved in the SmartBay project, a network of buoys that uses remote sensing technology to collect and relay data on ocean conditions over long distances.

Institute staff also briefed the President on its programmes to sustainably manage wild fish stocks, ensure seafood safety and protect the marine environment.

“As the resources of the ocean become ever more implicated in the future development of high technologies sectors like energy, ICT, medical and pharma, they will be a key part of Ireland’s future economic story,” said the President.

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, also highlighted "Ireland’s reputation as an emerging centre of excellence in marine science".

He said this was "validated" by the announcement of €23 million in EU funding for marine research groups and enterprises involved in pioneering areas such as ocean energy and biotechnology.

Published in Marine Science
The annual 'Follow The Fleet' Schools Eassy Competition is open to all schools that are registered to take part in the Follow the Fleet project. The 2010/2011 competition is running an essay competition centred around three key themes: Maritime History, Maritime Trading In Ireland –Life of a Container and Maritime Technology and the Master Mariner.

Schools can register details by logging on the webite where a username and password will be provided. All details with essay guidelines, entry forms and competition details and rules are available on www.imdo.ie/followthefleet/news.asp

Published in Ports & Shipping

Galway Atlantaquaria who, with the Marine Institute, Forfas Discover Primary Science and others are partners in the Explorers marine education and outreach programme, have achieved their second prestigious award - Best Education Project : Public and General Visitor 2010 - from the Britain and Ireland Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) for their marine education and outreach activities.

The award, was presented at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Devon by Adrian Sanders MP and was given for the "Galway Marine Month of Madness" event, organised by the Atlantaquaria with help from the other Explorers partners during the month of May this year.

Speaking for the Atlantaquaria, Marketing Executive Colette Lavin said that the award was a tribute not only to the Atlantaquaria but to all those involved in the month-long celebration. "A lot of people put a lot of heart and hard work into the individual events that made up the Month of Marine Madness," she said. "And while this second BIAZA award is the most tangible benefit of all this, I really believe that the biggest reward for all our efforts is the raised awareness of the value of our oceans and seas, not only to Galway, but to the rest of the country."

The calendar of events was launched by Galway's Deputy Mayor Mr. Peter Keane at Salthill beach and events arranged during the Month of Marine Madness ranged from seashore safaris, diving lessons, scientific lectures, nature walks and angling demonstrations, to a series of free seminars at the Atlantaquaria on such subjects as Baleen Whales, Slimy

Seaweed, the value of outdoor education, and Pirates! The First Entrepreneurs. A highlight of the calendar was the 'Largest Beach Clean Up in Ireland' which took place on Sunday 18th of May. Over 2,000 members of the public took part in the various events which included a tour of the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer by 280 pupils from local primary schools.

Speaking for the Explorers Programme, Dr. John Joyce of the Marine Institute said that the effort put in by Colette and her team had raised awareness of the sea to a whole new level in Galway during the month of May. "While Explorers is targeted primarily at raising awareness of the sea in schools, Colette and the Galway Atlantaquaria have shown us how we can raise that awareness to a whole new level by reaching out into the wider community. Last year, the Volvo Ocean Race vividly demonstrated the value of the sea to Galway in terms of tourism revenue. Clearly, the way is open to build on that awareness
and to use our creativity in finding new ways that Galway can profit - financially, educationally and environmentally – from marine related events."

Galway Atlantaquaria, the Marine Institute and the other partners in the Explorers programme celebrated the launch of National Science Week on Sunday 7th November with a Sunday Funday entitled "Our Plaice in Space" to celebrate the connections between outer and inner space.

Later in the month, on November 21st, the Explorers Programme will be present at the Galway Science and Technology Festival in NUI Galway.

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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