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A Harbour Seal photographed at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of pinnipeds, they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Baltic and North seas. Photo: AfloatA photograph of a Harbour Seal taken at Dun Laoghaire Marina on Dublin Bay, Ireland. Also known as the common seal, this species can be found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are the most widely distributed species of pinnipeds and can be found in the coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Baltic and North Seas. Photo: Afloat

Displaying items by tag: Aquatech

An Irish aquatech company which has developed cutting-edge technology to provide a groundbreaking solution to measuring nitrate in water has been announced as the winner of the inaugural BIM Aquatech Business of the Year.

Aquamonitrix, based in Carlow, delivers a dataset to the water industry on nitrates and nitrites that are toxic to fish, but which were previously impossible to measure in real time.

The company was announced as the BIM Aquatech Business of the Year at a conference in Killarney titled “Aquatech – Ireland’s Global Opportunity”. The conference followed a two-week BIM Innovation Studio delivered by aquaculture accelerator Hatch Blue and supported by the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.

Eight aquatech companies took part.

Mark Bowkett, Director of Aquamonitrix which has been named BIM Aquatech Business of the YearMark Bowkett, Director of Aquamonitrix which has been named BIM Aquatech Business of the Year

Aquamonitrix is an aquatech spin-out from the oil and environmental analysis company TE Laboratories, which started in 1991 carrying out fuel analysis. The company moved into environmental analysis and then developed a solution to monitoring water quality two years ago. Since then, the Aquamonitrix analyser has been bought by fish farms around the world.

Aquamonitrix Director, Mark Bowkett, said the company is delighted to be named the first BIM Aquatech Business of the Year. “This means a lot of us, especially as we are new to the aquaculture sector. Our participation in the BIM Innovation Studio Programme was a gamechanger, and helped us to develop this opportunity. It has been a steep learning curve. But the Innovation Studio helped us to determine that we had a value proposition for the aquaculture industry.”

Today the company employs more than 50 people and has customers from as far afield as Norway, the Netherlands and Canada.

Meanwhile, the conference heard that Ireland’s growing expertise in the developing aquatech sector means it has the potential to become a global leader in the field, with Irish aquatech companies turning over €200m last year.

BIM CEO Caroline Bocquel said over €15m has been invested in aquatech businesses and more than 200 high-tech jobs created in the sector over the last six years.

"Ireland has the potential to be the “Silicon Valley” of the aquatech world"

“Ireland is at a very exciting stage when it comes to aquatech. There are currently 62 aquatech companies operating here, all using technology to enable sustainable seafood farming at a time when the sector is facing many challenges.”

She added: “Ireland has the potential to be a world leader in aquatech and BIM is driving the sector’s development. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Food Vision 2030 strategy is to “promote Ireland as a knowledge base for aquaculture technology and research and attract external investment into the sector.”

Congratulating Aquamonitrix on the award, she said the company is an example of the energy, innovation and talent that exists in the aquatech sector today.

BIM’s Development and Innovation Director Richard Donnelly said: “The scale of the opportunity is enormous. We believe that with proper supports Ireland has the potential to be the “Silicon Valley” of the aquatech world."

"We are starting to see some very significant investments and some brilliant ideas. For example, the use of AI to monitor and provide early warnings on the health of aquaculture fish stocks. The BIM Innovation Studio, now in its 6th year, has played a major role in supporting companies in developing technology and guiding them on attracting investors and commercial scalability.”

The other two Aquatech Business of the Year finalists were Aqualicence, a marine and offshore windfarm consultancy firm supporting on all aspects of licensing applications and Konree Innovation, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to outsmart infestation by sea lice, a parasite that affects salmon and other fish.

Published in BIM
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Ireland’s potential in “aquatech” is the theme of a Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) conference in Kerry today, when one of the keynote speakers will ask why there has been no innovation in this area here in the last two decades.

As The Irish Times reports, Australian marine biologist Neil Sims recalls a conference here on “farming the deep blue” in 2004, where he says that international participants were “blown away” by the enthusiasm and innovative spirit of their Irish counterparts.

A report commissioned by BIM and the Marine Institute for that conference had made an “overwhelming” case for developing and expanding offshore aquaculture.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had estimated two decades ago that the demand for fishery products would rise to 180 million tonnes by 2030. One of the report’s key conclusions was that finfish farming must move offshore for environmental reasons, including reduced impact on wild fisheries inshore.

Richard Donnelly, Development and Innovation Director of BIMRichard Donnelly, Development and Innovation Director of BIM

“I’d like to know what happened in Ireland since then,”Sims told The Irish Times, before travelling to Ireland, where he is one of several keynote speakers at the BIM conference in Killarney today.

Sims, a specialist in applied marine research, is based in Hawaii. His company, Ocean Era, has developed what is described as the first integrated hatchery and open ocean fish farm in North America.

“In the offshore aqua-technology space, I cannot think of one single innovation that has come out of Ireland in the last 20 years,” he says.

“It strikes me as disappointing, when the world desperately needs sustainable aquaculture, and when a number of leading environmental groups which had been having pitched battles over fish farming 20 years ago in the US now recognise that blue food is required and that a global climate crisis requires a softer planetary footprint,”Sims told the newspaper.

Ireland’s growing expertise in the developing aquatech sector means it has the potential to become a global leader in the field, with Irish aquatech companies turning over €200m last year, BIM has said..

Over €15m has been invested in aquatech businesses in the last six years, and more than 200 hi-tech jobs created in the sector, it says.

Aquatech is described as any technology or innovation driving sustainable seafood farming, and it can be applied progressively to the breeding, raising, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants.

Participants at “Aquatech – Ireland’s Global Opportunity” in the Brehon Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry include the Senior Vice President of the world’s first aquatech unicorn company, E-fishery; a US sustainable seafood expert; a global off-shore aquaculture pioneer, along with a host of Irish aquatech entrepreneurs, and representatives from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

BIM chief executive Caroline Bocquel said: “We have over 60 companies working in aquatech here, and the sector is worth about €200m. Hatch Blue, who we work closely with, is a major aquatech-focused venture capital firm based in Cork, which has already made Irish-based aquaculture investments."

"We’re starting to see some very significant investments and some brilliant ideas – for example, the use of AI to monitor and provide early warnings on the health of aquaculture fish stocks,” Bocquel said.

The conference is linked to the BIM Innovation Studio, an intensive two week no-fee programme that aims to develop the technological readiness, industry fitness and commercial scalability of emerging aquatech startups.

Funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and now in its sixth year, the initiative seeks out projects in Ireland and other European countries that aim to upscale the region’s aquaculture or alt-seafood industries.

To date, the total investment attracted is close to 50 projects and companies that have completed the Innovation Studio over the past six years – including 2023 - is €15.1M, with over 200 hi-tech jobs created, BIM says.

Several companies involved in this year’s Innovation Studio attended a delegation to Southeast Asia earlier this year with Hatch to grow their network and learn more about their potential market. The delegation has secured potential business opportunities on foot of this, BIM says.

The Innovation Studio supports the ambitious goals set out in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Food Vision 2030 Strategy, namely to ‘promote Ireland as a knowledge base for aquaculture technology and research and attract external investment into the sector’, BIM says.

Read The Irish Times report here

Published in BIM
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Along with its new performance trainers, Dubarry’s Aquatech collection also includes marine clothing for all conditions you’ll experience on the water.

The clothing collection contains many protective features ranging from UPF sun protection, wind and water resistance to highly breathable performance.

There are many practical attributes such as anti-odour, moisture wicking, quick dry and even a hidden removable eyewear cleaning cloth on most styles.

And selected styles are designed to allow for personalisation, with space for embroidery or printing of boat, team or crew names.

Levanto and Corfu are the new lightweight crew jacket designs in the Aquatech range.

Dubarry Levanto

The Levanto men’s crew jacket is a stylish and versatile, durable and practical, and offers exceptional levels of waterproofing and breathability for this style of jacket while preserving your freedom of movement and keeping you snug inside.

Key features include taped seams and adjustable cuffs to keep water out and warmth in while allowing an adjustable fit. The lightweight polyester mesh lining adds extra insulation and super-soft nylon inner sleeves make it effortless to slip on and off.

The zipped, stand-up collar is equipped with a chin guard and a cleverly concealed, rollaway hood keeps the worst of the weather at bay. There’s also a built-in cleaning cloth on a bungee cord to keep your eyewear crystal clear.

Dubarry Corfu

The Corfu women’s crew jacket is a reliably waterproof and impressively breathable. This snug new style of lightweight jacket is designed and built to provide excellent insulation from chilly headwinds without being heavy or bulky.

It’s loaded with technical features like fully taped seams, padded chin guard and adjustable cuffs, impermeable outer shell and super-soft inner lining. The zipped, stand-up collar keeps the wind chill off your neck and incorporates a neatly concealed, rollaway hood that deploys in an instant when the weather turns foul.

It’s stylish and comfortable, cosy and practical. Details include top-quality YKK zips and an optical-grade cloth on a stretchy cord in one of the pockets to wipe the salt spray off your sunglasses.

Both the Levanto and Corfu are available in two colours and various sizes (Levanto S–3XL; Corfu 32–44), priced at €169 RRP.

Dubarry Sicily

Keep out the chill on deck is easy with the Mustique and Sicily full-zip fleece jackets.

The Sicily fleece (above) is medium-weight, soft-textured and ideal for any sort of boating in a temperate climate. Not just warm and quick-drying but also wind resistant and fully breathable.

And with a full-length zip so you can slip it on easily and shrug it off in an instant — ideal for days of patchy sunshine and gusty winds, and when the breeze builds up or the temperature drops, the well-engineered zips won’t leave you fumbling with cold fingers.

In chillier weather, it’s the perfect mid-layer to wear under your all-weather foulies, providing excellent insulation without being too bulky.

Technical features include a stretchy hem and cuffs for a flexible fit, zipped hand-warmer pockets with a warm, brushed lining, a draught-excluding chin guard, and flat locked seams for comfort.

Dubarry Mustique

The Mustique fleece is for any sort of boating in a temperate climate and when you’ll need a warm, quick-drying fleece, ideally one with a full-length zip so you can slip it on in an instant when the sun disappears behind the clouds.

The mid-weight fleece retains heat effectively while remaining breathable, with a texture that feels cosy against the skin — ideal as a mid-layer garment providing excellent insulation beneath your all-weather foulies, or worn as an outer layer in more clement weather. It also comes with technical features comparable as the Sicily.

Like the crew jackets, the Mustique and Sicily are available in two colours and various sizes (Mustique S–3XL; Sicily 32–44). The Mustique is priced at €99 RRP, with the Sicily at €89 RRP.

Complete the look and browse footwear, polos, shorts and accessories from Dubarry’s new Aquatech collection in the virtual catalogue HERE.

Published in Marine Clothing
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Dubarry’s new Aquatech Collection has been specifically designed for use across a wide variety of nautical environments.

Joining the existing Easkey and Skerries trainers for men and for women are the Antibes and Palma. Both are available in multiple colours and retail at €129 RRP.

They come with all the key performance features you would expect from Dubarry’s heritage dating back to 1937.

The trademark NonSlip-NonMarking rubber outsole delivers sure-footedness on all deck surfaces, thanks to a unique system of water dispersion channels that prevent aquaplaning.

And coupled with the lightweight EVA midsole, both shoes offer exceptional underfoot comfort.

Dubarry Antibes Navy

Antibes is an ultra-light, high-performance sneaker that’s engineered to boost your natural agility and is loaded with numerous technical features.

The hardwearing sole has excellent shock-absorbing performance and the removable footbed moulds to the contours of your instep, delivering the ultimate comfort.

The super-soft upper is made from quick-drying technical fabric with antimicrobial and anti-odour properties built in. And the partly concealed lacing is precisely adjustable to ensure a perfect fit.

Dubarry Palma Kingfisher

Palma is Dubarry’s our super-light, sure-footed and sporty sneaker offering the ultimate comfort.

Extra-soft uppers and full lacing for a precise fit are combined with a uniquely designed footbed that moulds to match the shape of your foot, plus a high-performance shock absorbing EVA midsole.

Remarkable agility is assured on deck — or anywhere else — with signature NonSlip-NonMarking outsoles. The footbed is removable for easy washing and the uppers are made from quick-drying, breathable and anti-microbial technical fabrics.

Complementing these are the lightweight Fastnet boots (RRP €229) which have an athletic design with outstanding technical performance.

They are not just waterproof, with a breathable membrane; they're impressively shock-absorbent, too. The removable footbed provides extra cushioning and the D-Chassis system delivers additional support, protection and control for heels and toes while preserving your agility.

And the award-winning NonSlip-NonMarking rubber outsole has a unique water dispersion channel system to eliminate the risk of aquaplaning on wet decks.

Dubarry Dungarvan

Meanwhile, the Dungarvan deck shoe (RRP €169) combines the classic good looks of authentic, traditionally handmade leather deck shoes with the shock absorption, support and comfort of lightweight technical trainers, plus the excellent grip of Dubarry’s award-winning NonSlip-NonMarking outsoles.

The uppers are crafted from high-quality nubuck and our unique DryFast-DrySoft leathers with a water-resistant finish and a hand sewn, waterproof chain butt seam on the toecap.

Explore the full Aquatech collection — including the Crosshaven, Ultima and Shamrock boots built for the ocean — in the virtual catalogue HERE.

Published in Marine Clothing
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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.”