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Two marinas and two harbours in the Mid and East Antrim Council area will be dredged over the coming winter and following Spring. They are Carnlough Harbour and Glenarm Marina on the Antrim Coast Road and Carrickfergus Marina and Harbour on the north shore of Belfast Lough.

Carnlough Harbour will be closed from Monday 1st November until Friday 19th November 2021 and Carrickfergus Harbour from Thursday 24th March 2022 until Tuesday 17th May 2022.

Carnlough HarbourCarnlough Harbour

Glenarm Marina dates are from Friday 19th November until Thursday 16th December 2021 and Carrickfergus Marina will be dredged from Thursday 16th December 2021 until Thursday 24th March 2022. The marinas and harbours were due to be dredged as some areas are now below the minimum depths as per hydrographic surveys.

Glenarm Marina Glenarm Marina Photo: Tourism NI

The Council has warned that these dates are subject to movement based on contractual changes and effects of weather. A further notice to mariners will be issued if the programme changes.

The largest number of boats affected will be those berthed in Carrickfergus which has a capacity of 300. It was dredged in 2015. Glenarm has recently had extra berths added to make the total 50. Carnlough lies 16 miles south of Fair Head and is used mainly by pleasure boats and small fishing vessels.

Carrickfergus HarbourCarrickfergus Harbour Photo: Rossographer

The contractors are the 192-year-old Charles Brand Ltd company based in Sydenham, Belfast and Foyle and Marine Engineering JV with HQ in Claudy, Co. Londonderry.
Karena Catterson, Maritime Development Officer at Carrickfergus Marina stated that Berth Holders were given various options for the period of dredging:

  1. They can lift their boat out and receive a full refund for their berthing during the dredging period and Council will pay 50% of their lift in and out costs.
  2. They can relocate to another marina of their choice for which Council will pay full costs. In cases where berthing fees are cheaper, the difference in costs will be refunded.
  3. They can remain in the marina and receive a 30% discount on their fees, and where it can be facilitated access will be granted for emergencies.
  4. Liveaboards will remain in the marina as normal.
    Some boat owners have arranged to move to Bangor Marina where Kevin Baird, Harbour Master and Marina Manager, is making plans; “We are in the planning/berth allocation stage, and we know that some of those who have booked in with us will be arriving early. Hopefully, all goes to plan, and the weather stays calm to allow barges to dump at the designated spoil site”.
Published in Irish Marinas

All 10 marinas awarded a Blue Flag in 2020 have been awarded a Blue Flag for the coming season.

Of the 26 counties, four have two Blue Flags and two counties have one.

The International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2021 were announced by the Education Unit of An Taisce yesterday.

As Afloat reported, the number of Blue Flags awarded this season set a new record for the Republic of Ireland for beaches and marinas.

 Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina on the Owenabue river in Crosshaven in Cork Harbour has retained its Blue Flag for 2021Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina on the Owenabue river in Crosshaven in Cork Harbour has retained its Blue Flag for 2021 Photo: Bob Bateman

The retention of Blue Flag status at both Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club means that Cork has a total of 12 Blue Flag beaches and marinas a record annual haul for the rebel county.

Quigley's Marina, Killinure Point on the River Shannon in County West Meath has retained the Blue Flag awarded in 2020. Quigleys' Marina has been awarded every year since 2003.

The 10 marinas (from a coastal network of approximately 60 marinas and pontoons) that have achieved this accolade must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.

The Ten 2021 Irish Blue Flag Marinas are: 

WEXFORD

  • Kilmore Quay Marina
  • New Ross: Three Sisters Marina

CORK

  • Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • Kinsale Yacht Club

KERRY

  • Portmagee seasonal Visitors pontoon
  • Fenti Marina

CLARE

  • Kilrush Marina

WESTMEATH

  • Quigley's Marina  

DONEGAL

  • Rathmullan Marina
  • Greencastle Marina
Published in Irish Marinas
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Expanding its appeal as a staycation destination for boaters, guests and watersports enthusiasts, MDL Holidays introduces floating marine lodges to Mercury Yacht Harbour and Holiday Park’s growing list of attractions.

Fully equipped with a capacity of up to four guests, the first of the three beautifully crafted new self-contained marine lodges will be available at the end of April, just in time for the May Bank Holiday weekend.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer visitors to our Mercury Yacht Harbour and Holiday Park a really unique overnight experience,” says marina manager, Simon Cothill.

“Ideal for families or groups of friends, our stunning new floating lodges offer all the home comforts of a traditional short stay lodge or self-catering apartment, but with the thrill of waking up on the beautiful River Hamble, hearing the sounds of the water and the wildlife along the riverside.

The marine lodges can be booked from £150 per night with a minimum of a two-night bookingThe marine lodges can be booked from £150 per night with a minimum of a two-night booking

“The lodges are situated on the quiet northwest corner of the marina and are moored in the same way as vessels, using the cleats on the pontoons. It is truly a cabin berth experience for family and friends wanting to get out on the water together, or boaters who don’t have enough berths to accommodate everyone overnight.”

Overlooking Badnam Creek, the spectacular views of both the creek and the River Hamble can be enjoyed from the lodges’ open-air seated decking area created around the entrance to the marine lodge.

“With so many activities now available at the marina and holiday park, the new on water lodges means that anyone visiting for a sailing course, a paddleboarding adventure with the team at Wesup or dining at our onsite restaurant the Gaff Rigger can extend their stay, enjoying more time in the surrounding area and all that there is available,” continues Simon.

“We’re only a 20-minute walk from picturesque Hamble Village and its independent shops and variety of restaurants, and our riverside location lends itself to amazing walks and cycle rides. And with the marine lodges being fully insulated and having an air-conditioning and heating unit, they’re an ideal short stay staycation option all year round.”

Crafted by Trojan Timber Products, working in partnership with Intermarine, the new marine lodges are a bespoke design, created specifically for MDL to blend seamlessly into the marina and its tranquil surroundings.

The marine lodges can be booked via Hoseasons.co.uk and prices start from £150 per night with a minimum of a two-night booking.

Published in Irish Marinas
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The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has made its first-ever bid to stage ICOMIA's World Marina Conference in Dublin in 2023. 

The marine leisure trade body, that also represents Irish Marina Operators, is up against stiff competition from rival bids in Villamoura in Portugal and also Tampa, Florida. 

Up to 400 delegates would be involved in the high-level conference that includes site visits to key Irish marina facilities.

If successful, the IMF wants to use the conference as both a showcase for the potential of the fledgeling Irish Marine industry to an international audience but also use the three-day event as a means of lobbying local government to support the domestic initiatives around the coast.

The Irish marine sector has developed from small-scale boat building and boat rentals to award-winning marinas, international pontoon manufacturers and a major hub for cruising boats and superyachts.

IMF Chairman Paal Janson is leading the Irish bidIMF Chairman Paal Janson is leading the Irish bid to bring the World Marina Conference to Dublin in 2023

The Irish bid, led by IMF Chairman Paal Janson, who is also General Manager of Ireland's biggest marina at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, has been supported by relevant Government Departments and other state agencies including Failte Ireland who assisted in the preparation of Ireland's presentation.

The Irish bidders are hoping that as many delegates will never have been to Ireland before there will be a 'Dublin city bounce' as the capital is a much sought after conference location.

Published in IMF

Cove Saling Club’s brand new marina pontoons have been put to immediate use in Cork Harbour with yachts and motorboats occupying the new berths since the opening up of sailing activity on 8th June.

Coronavirus restrictions delayed the original expected completion date in April, but the berthing pontoons are fully assembled and connected to the gangway that was installed earlier this year.

Cobh Marina pontoonsNew Cove Marina

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Cork Harbour club has also been working on upgrades to its dinghy park facilities including a new meeting room, office and kitchen at Whitepoint in Cobh.

Cove Sailing Club dinghy parking faciltiesCove Sailing Club dinghy parking facilities Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in Cork Harbour
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On 15th June the Northern Ireland Executive announced further relaxations to the Coronavirus Regulations and subsequently Bangor Marina updated its information yesterday on Northern Ireland Marinas and Harbours. These developments make some changes to the information here.

From 26th June, caravan parks, campsites and self-contained tourist accommodation will be able to reopen. With this in mind, the Marina believes that from 26th June, leisure boat owners should be able to overnight onboard their vessels. The same goes for Carrickfergus and Glenarm Marinas.

The position with Belfast, Ballycastle and Portrush remains the same - open to resident berth holders only, no visiting boats and no overnighting. Rathlin and the Copeland Islands remain closed. In Strangford Lough, Portaferry status is the same - open to resident and visiting boat owners, no overnighting until further notice. Further round the Down coast Ardglass is only open to resident berth holders only and no overnighting.

Isle of Man Marinas

Across the Irish Sea the Isle of Man borders are closed so there is no access to Peel, Ramsay, Port St Mary, Castletown, Port Erin, Douglas, Laxey, and Derby Haven. Vessels may transit through IOM waters and lie at anchor but you are not permitted to go ashore – you may be put into forced quarantine. On 20th March a 26-year-old arriving on the island by ferry was arrested for failing to self-isolate against Coronavirus. He faces a fine of up to £10,000 and a possible three-month jail sentence.

Scottish Marinas

In an update from Scotland, Portpatrick Harbour remains closed. The marinas at Troon, Largs, Rhu, Kip, Ardfern are open to residents only, no visitors at present, no overnighting. Harbour Master Kevin Baird adds “ We have been told that Scottish marinas and leisure harbours are expected to open 15th July (approx.) but this could change as they progress along the road to recovery”.

Welsh Marinas

And in Wales Aberystwyth, Conwy, Pwllheli, Milford, Neyland, Penarth, Cardiff and Swansea are open to residents only who live within a 5-mile radius of the marina site, no visitors at present, no overnighting. It is understood the Welsh Government plans to offer further guidance on the lifting of COVID19 restrictions.

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The situation around the opening of marinas and harbours in Northern Ireland in COVID-19 appears fluid but the latest news is good for those wanting to relax, sail and visit.

Bangor Harbour Master Kevin Baird says that Bangor, Carrickfergus, and Glenarm marinas and harbours are open to visitors but for short stay only – no overnighting.

Also open to all are the Ards and North Down harbours but the Copeland Islands off Donaghadee are completely closed. Marinas and harbours in the Newry and Mourne Council areas are open on the same basis – short stay only.

Belfast Harbour Marina has confirmed that it is open for residents only.

Going north all the Causeway Coast and Glens Marinas and Harbours are now open but only to residents, with the exception of Rathlin Island. It will remain closed for in the short term to all vessels, including visitors. John Morton, Ballycastle Harbour Master, has clarified, “We are not open for any visiting vessels at this time, only resident ones. This will be reviewed over the coming weeks”.

In Strangford Lough, Portaferry Marina has been open for residents and visitors since 25th May but there is no news on Strangford town pontoon or on Foyle Marina in Derry.

The current Foyle Port website posts a Notice to Mariners stating that Foyle Port Marina is closed to visiting vessels and crafts. A further notice will be issued when the marina has re-opened to all.

On the subject of crews, Kevin Baird says, “ Our understanding is that groups of up to six people who do not share a household can meet up outdoors and onboard boats while maintaining social distancing, i.e. two metres”.

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As well as Bangor Marina opening, also nearly back to normal is Carrickfergus across Belfast Lough, Glenarm on the Antrim Coast Road and the inland marina at Portglenone on the River Bann. 

In a Notice to Mariners Harbour Master Billy Withers from Carrickfergus said that Mid and East Antrim Harbours and Marinas are moving to the restoration of services and facilities. He goes on to reiterate that as elsewhere, health and safety of everyone involved are paramount and social distancing must be maintained.

The Notice states “We have spoken with Harbour Masters and Marina Managers from around Great Britain and Northern Ireland, considered the advice of the British Marine Federation, The UK Harbour Masters Association, RYA NI, and the Coastguard as well as consulting with health and safety staff”.

Boat owners will now be able to go to sea. This includes launching and recovery from the Council’s Harbours, Marinas, and slipways. The advice is that this is for a limited time and during daylight hours (3-4 hours maximum is recommended). Belfast Coastguard should be notified on leaving and returning to the harbour/marina/slipway. At this stage boats from outside the Mid & East Antrim harbours/marinas will not be able to access the facilities. Overnighting on board is not permitted at this stage unless it is the owner’s permanent residence.

The details on access to the Marina are clear:- Priority should be given to berth holders coming up the main access ramps ie exiting. At this stage the Marinas will be open between 8am and 8pm every day. However, the number going to any one boat should be limited. The Marina reserves the right to limit the number of people on the pontoons if social distancing is not being observed or not possible. Access is currently by the buzzer on the gate. It is hoped that fob access will be restored by next week at the latest to all those who have returned contracts. The West Gate, adjacent to the Windrose, remains closed.

The marina reception will remain closed in the meantime, but please telephone, radio, email the office for any enquiries as staff are available during normal office hours.

Toilets, Wash Hand Basins & Showers

The toilets, urinals, wash hand basins and showers have been opened in the berth holder facilities, however please do not use the individual units that have been cordoned off to create more space between users.

On the Pontoons

When passing on the pontoons, practice safe navigation, port to port and pass well clear, using the pontoon fingers to get that extra clearance distance.
Contractors Working On Site

If a berth holder requires a contractor to conduct work on a boat, then it is down to him/her to ensure that they and the contractor observe social distancing and that the contractor has adequate PPE.

Authorised contractors are required to contact the marina office in advance.

RYA Guidance which is widely publicised and should be adhered to.

Other Considerations to Minimise the Risk of Transfer of virus.

Berth holders must take responsibility for their own safety and this now includes using PPE where appropriate. To minimise the risk of any transfer and berth holders are urged to maintain high levels of hygiene on their boats and especially when using taps, hoses, rails, gates etc. on the pontoons and entrances.

The situation will continue to be regularly monitored in line with government guidelines, and advice and communications that we are receiving from the British Marine Federation, the UK Harbour Masters Association and RYA NI.

Published in Irish Marinas
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Boat owners will get the chance to perform safety and maintenance checks after a two-month absence from their craft from Monday, May 18th as marinas across the country open to berth holders. 

The easing of restrictions plus the lifting of the Coastguard advisory requesting the public not to take part in any water-based activity on or in the sea means that limited boating subject to social distancing guidelines will be possible.

While marinas have, in general, remained open, manned and fully functioning throughout the lockdown period, guidelines meant berth holders could not access their boats.

As part of the Government Return to Work programme, the marinas will open but with limitations as the responsibility on organisations for contact tracing during the 'Return to Work' period is onerous.

There are approximately 4,190 coastal marina berths across Ireland in 60 marinas or more, supporting 1,530 full-time jobs in coastal communities around our coast, according to Tourism Development International.

Access is largely limited to berth holders only and boat owners living over 5 km from marinas or boat owners ‘cocooning’ should not travel.

Irish Marina operators have put a lot of hard work in behind the scenes to ensure they are ready for 'Phase 1', according to Irish Marine Federation (IMF) Chairman Paal Janson.

Paal Janson 1433 Irish Marine Federation (IMF) Chairman Paal Janson is General Manager of Dun Laoghaire Marina Photo: Afloat

The IMF has worked with world marina body ICOMIA to issue Irish marinas with guidelines.

"With the good weather forecast for next week, boat owners will need to be conscious for their own responsibilities within the government guidelines, 5km limit for travel, the possible increased demand on emergency services and social distancing", Janson told Afloat.

Janson, who is the General Manager of the country's biggest marina at Dun Laoghaire, also says: 'The pandemic has not finished, we are just at the beginning of the very first phase of restrictions being eased and we all need to act in a responsible and safe way and promote the very best aspects of boating life".

Howth Yacht Club Marina

Howth Yacht Club marina in north Dublin will open on Monday but the clubhouse will remain closed. Commodore Ian Byrne has issued a reminder that HYC Members should arrive with gloves and masks and adhere strictly to the two-metre physical distancing and hand washing etiquette. 

Howth Harbour and Marina in north County DublinHowth Harbour and Marina in north County Dublin

Overnight stays on the HYC marina will not be permitted and members must be off the premises by 9 pm.

Dun Laoghaire Marina

As Afloat previously reported, Dun Laoghaire Marina, closed to berth holders since March 27, will also reopen to its 500 plus owners.

Dun Laoghaire Marina is asking that family-units only visit boats initially 'as boats do not readily allow physical distancing to be maintained'.

Marina pontoon 4382A marina pontoon at Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Afloat

The Marina will keep toilets, changing rooms & laundry shut to avoid cross-contamination for the moment, subject to review. 'We want to ensure that all our berth holders, guests and staff can use the marina in a safe and responsible manner and that their health not be put at undue risk at any time', a notice to berth holders says.

Dun Laoghaire Marina's fuel berth will reopen on May 18th and the marina asks that payments are made by card.

General Manager Paal Janson has told berth holders, 'We would reiterate that boating is a safe and responsible outdoor activity and there is now a clear pathway to getting back to normality. We would like you now to get full enjoyment from your boat and make 2020 a summer to remember, instead of a year to forget'.

Greystones Harbour Marina

Greystones Harbour Marina will continue to be open to berth holders. Berth holders and their families are expected to strictly adhere to the government guidelines relating to Social Distancing and Hygiene and observe Irish Sailing’s guidelines in terms of going back on the water, according to Marina operator,  James Kirwan of BJ Marine.

Greystones Harbour MarinaGreystones Harbour Marina in County Wicklow

"For those that can’t travel to their boat, the marina team remain on-site daily and are contactable by phone and email to assist in any way possible, says Kirwan.

"Our community has pulled together brilliantly in staying apart and we look forward to seeing our berth holders more regularly, both on the pontoons and on the water, Kirwan told Afloat.

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina

In Cork Harbour, Royal Cork Yacht Club marina to members for boat access only. The club bar-restaurant and changing facilities will remain closed. 

Club dinghy activities will not be undertaken for now, according to Marina Manager Mark Ring. 'We feel it is best to start off slowly as we don't want to knock back activity as the weeks' progress', Ring told Afloat. 

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina in Cork HarbourRoyal Cork Yacht Club Marina in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

RCYC is preparing for opening with several COVID-19 measures being put in place this weekend. A policy document will be circulated to members and staff also this weekend.

Crosshaven Boatyard Marina

Likewise at neighbouring Crosshaven Boatyard Marina where General Manager Matt Foley expects to launch upwards of 30 boats next week as the marina reopens to berth holders in Cork Harbour.

Kinsale Yacht Club Marina

In West Cork, Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Mike Walsh confirmed the club marina is open to members living within 5km of the facility from Monday, with 'sailing for household units' from that date too. With the country in lockdown, renovations were recently completed on the KYC marina. Last extended in 2003, sections of new marina replaced pontoons dating back to the original build in 1978.

Kinsale Yacht Club MarinaKinsale Yacht Club Marina Photo: Bob Bateman

The much cherished and frequently used accessibility pontoon has also been replaced and will continue to allow Kinsale’s Sailability programme to develop.

Port of Galway Marina

As Afloat reported earlierPort of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan has said the port’s public slipway and its marina will be open to those living within five kilometres.

Galway Marina 0024Boats in Galway Marina and Docks Photo: Afloat

Bangor Marina

In Northern Ireland, Bangor Marina may still be closed but Harbour Master Kevin Baird has given berth holders a very clear and concise set of guidance notes detailing what to expect when it reopens and indeed something to look forward to after the weeks of shutdown. As Afloat reported previously, Baird says “ We have been considering how we may enable berth holders to use the Marina facilities whilst adhering to the Health Protection Regulations and the new government guidelines.

Bangor MarinafBangor Marina

Published in Irish Marinas
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With the current COVID-19 pandemic forcing Northern Ireland into lockdown, the RYA has received a considerable number of enquiries from members who are not able to gain access to their boats now that most marinas have closed.

The governing body is acutely aware that members currently have valid concerns about the inability to undertake checks in respect of security and essential maintenance. In response, the RYA is writing to key Government Ministers seeking definitive guidance that will give a clear and practical way forward to give owners immediate access to their boats whilst respecting current measures to control COVID-19.

Over recent weeks the RYA has been in discussions with the Government officials making the case for limited and controlled access to boats locked down in marinas. The RYA believes that visiting marinas and spending time working on a boat that is moored or ashore can be readily achieved within the parameters of the existing core Government advice regarding hygiene and social distancing. With representations to date not delivering a solution to what is evidently a critical issue for affected members, the RYA is taking the case to Ministers and calling for the support of Members of Parliament.

Boat owners need access to their property to undertake essential maintenance, for example, checks for water ingress, maintenance of engines and electrical installations that cannot be undertaken by marina staff. Many boat owners are also obligated by their insurers to visit their vessel regularly to avoid cover being refused in respect of maintenance related claims. The RYA’s advice to members is that you should check this aspect of your insurance policy with your insurers no matter what the policy states. A lockdown insurance update has also been published on the RYA website.

Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive, says: “We acknowledge and appreciate that marina operators are working as hard as possible under difficult circumstances, and are doing their best to take care of boats during the lockdown. However, marina staff obviously cannot undertake the sort of essential maintenance that responsible owners would do. The significant number of approaches that the RYA has received from members demonstrates that this is a critical issue for boat owners. We believe there are measures that could be permitted immediately within the existing Government guidance to allow access for essential maintenance.

All are predicated on the overarching need to keep people socially distant from those outside their immediate household, to shield the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions and prevent unnecessary travel”.

Concerned members should contact [email protected] and use the RYA Coronavirus hub, which outlines current advice and information for recreational boaters.”

With all sports starting to consider recovery, the RYA is developing a ‘Return to Boating’ strategy aimed at getting the message over that there is a very strong case for boating to be one of the first activities that could be resumed safely within any necessary parameters for social distancing, once we start to see a relaxation of the current restrictions.

Bangor Marina tells Afloat that the staff are very busy acting upon requests to check berth holders’ boats.

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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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