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Irish Marine Experts Sounding Out Salmon, Basking Sharks, Skate, Dolphins, Whales & Seals

20th April 2021
A Whale breaching in Irish waters. Listening stations from Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point, to the island of Islay in Scotland will record transmissions from a variety of mobile marine species tagged by the project's scientists. The data collected using acoustic telemetry will be used to support the conservation of vulnerable species such as salmon, basking sharks, skate, dolphins, whales and seals.
A Whale breaching in Irish waters. Listening stations from Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point, to the island of Islay in Scotland will record transmissions from a variety of mobile marine species tagged by the project's scientists. The data collected using acoustic telemetry will be used to support the conservation of vulnerable species such as salmon, basking sharks, skate, dolphins, whales and seals. Credit: Joanne O Brien

The Loughs Agency has announced the deployment of Europe's largest fish counter as part of the SeaMonitor project.

Listening stations from Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point, to the island of Islay in Scotland will record transmissions from a variety of mobile marine species tagged by the project's scientists. The data collected using acoustic telemetry will be used to support the conservation of vulnerable species such as salmon, basking sharks, skate, dolphins, whales and seals.

A Basking Shark in Irish waters Photo: Nigel MotyerA Basking Shark in Irish waters Photo: Nigel Motyer

The unique marine research project is underway to study the seas around Ireland and Western Scotland with the deployment of 'Europe's largest fish counter'.

The location of the arrayThe location of the SeaMonitor project array

The SeaMonitor project - which is supported by eight leading marine research institutions located in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, the US and Canada - will use innovative marine species tracking technology to better understand and protect vulnerable marine life in our oceans.

Listening stations from Malin Head - Ireland's most northerly point - to the island of Islay in Scotland will record transmissions from a variety of mobile marine species tagged by the project's scientists.
The data collected using acoustic telemetry will be used to support the conservation of vulnerable species such as salmon, basking sharks, skate, dolphins, whales and seals.

Receiver DeploymentReceiver Deployment on the SeaMonitor project 

Sharon McMahon, Loughs Agency CEO, said the deployment of the fish countermarked a major achievement for the SeaMonitor project. She added: "Loughs Agency is proud to be leading the way alongside expert colleagues to deliver such amazing marine research infrastructure that will ultimately help protect some of our most important species."

The Seamonitor Deployment TeamThe Seamonitor Deployment Team

Funding for the €4.6m project has been provided by the EU's INTERREG VA Programme (Environment Theme), which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding comes from the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland.

Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body, welcomed the announcement. She said: "I'm delighted to see such a significant achievement for the SeaMonitor project, made possible through the EU's INTERREG VA Programme and the efforts of all its partners in Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland working together collectively."

"This is a much-needed step forward for the conservation of a number of vulnerable species within our shared oceans. It only serves to highlight the benefits that are created through strong, mutually beneficial cross-border partnerships in the management of marine protected areas and species. Well done to all involved for advancing our understanding of our seas," she added.

Dr. Fred Whoriskey, Executive Director of the Ocean Tracking Network explained: "This project is important in so many ways. It will unite and empower scientists from Europe and abroad to tackle pressing management issues, provide global networking for scientists to efficiently use resources, and engage the public in project outcomes. We are pleased to provide technical support and counsel, as well as tracking infrastructure to SeaMonitor which is contributing to the conservation of Europe's valued marine animals."

Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystems and Advisory Services at the Marine Institute added: "We are delighted to collaborate with partners on the SeaMonitor project and provide technical support and ship-time on the Marine Institute's research vessel, the RV Celtic Voyager. Tracking the migration of species and identifying environmental signals influencing their movement is essential to effectively protect and manage our marine ecosystems.

Published in Marine Science
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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best 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. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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