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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Protection for harbour porpoise off the north coast of Northern Ireland has been assured by the creation of two new areas of marine protection, as BBC News reports.

The new Special Areas of Conservation off Co Antrim encompass the sea and seabed surrounding the Maidens in the North Channel off Larne - protecting reefs and grey seals - and spots adjacent to the Giant's Causeway and Portrush Skerries in the north of the county.

Both areas are also considered of great importance to harbour porpoises, and according to Environment Minister Alex Attwood, the designation "comfirms that their numbers are significant throughout the year".

He added: "I hope this encourages people to visit the area to get a glimpse of these beautiful animals."

Campaigners are hoping for further coastal protections to be guaranteed by the Marine Bill, which will be debated at Stormont ths Autumn.

As reported earlier this year on Afloat.ie, the Northern Ireland Marine Task Force brought togethter politicians, environmentalists, fishermen and wind farm developers to ensure the new bill will deliver for all sea users.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARITIME FESTIVALS - National Marine Week has kicked off in Northern Ireland, with events taking place along the coastline till Sunday 12 August.

According to BBC News, events organised by the Ulster Wildlife Trust for the festival fortnight include a ramble on the shore of Carlingford Lough, rummaging in rock pools in Portrush, Co Antrim and Annalong, Co Down, and a coastal walk along Belfast Lough as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

There will also be a survey of the coastline's plants and wildlife considered the best indicators of climate change as part of the UK-wide Shore Thing Project.

"National Marine Week is the perfect opportunity for people to get out and explore the seaside and experience for themselves the diversity of wildlife that our seas and shores have to offer," said the Ulster Wildlife Trust's Kerri Whiteside.

"As well as being lots of fun, we hope our events will help everyone to understand the importance of protecting our vital marine habitats for the future, and inspire people to join us on our journey towards living seas, where wildlife thrives from the depths of the oceans, to the coastal shallows."

Published in Maritime Festivals

#SURFING - Blind surfers from throughout Northern Ireland took to the waves recently to raise money for Guide Dogs NI, as UTV News reports.

The surfers converged on Benone beach in Limavady last weekend for their first-ever sponsored surf, using specially adapted boards - and donning wetsuits against the cold of the Atlantic in this wintry summer.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the same stretch of sand hosted Northern Ireland's first ever disabled surfing festival last month.

Like that event, this fundraiser was also supported by the Long Line Surf School, which is specialising in courses for people with various disabilities.

"To get a wetsuit on, jump on a surfboard and trust a surf instructor to be in complete control is something that I would find hugely intimidating myself," said the school's Dan Lavery.

"But we created a relaxed atmosphere for the lesson, just had a laugh and just surfed some waves. It was so rewarding to be able to provide this experience and to be able to meet these amazing people."

UTV News has more on the story, including a photo gallery, HERE.

Published in Surfing

#COASTAL NOTES - The Belfast Telegraph this week is running a special series investigating the environmental destruction of Northern Ireland's coastal and inland waters.

As the Telegraph's Linda Stewart writes: "Northern Ireland’s once rich seas are in danger of turning into dead zones devoid of marine life."

The 'Save Our Seas' series aims to "uncover the shocking evidence of how our treasured marine and aquatic environments have been decimated by years of neglect and failure to curb over-exploitation."

Already it's been reported that Stormont faces a whopping €9.6 million fine from the EU over its failure to protect horse mussel reefs in Strangford Lough.

But according to the Telegraph, that is just one of a number of "disturbing" happenings beneath the waves, with diver Barbara Irvine reporting shocking amounts of human waste littering the sea bed.

Meanwhile, anglers are quitting the shoreline as once plentiful supplies of fish have simply vanished.

“I no longer shore fish as there is no point, there’s nothing there," says Gary Gregg of the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers.

“We’ve been blessed with a very good mixed fishery due to the confluence of the oceans coming together with cold and warm water, but we've taken too much.”

The series continues in the Belfast Telegraph all this week.

Published in Coastal Notes

#ANGLING - Anglers in Northern Ireland have been warned to watch out for overhead electricity lines when they go fishing, as the Larne Times reports.

The safety call comes from Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), which has launched its new 'FishSafe' campaign to remind the angling community of the dangers of fishing close to power lines.

“Electricity can jump gaps and even bringing a fishing rod close to overhead lines can be very dangerous," said NIE safety engineer Hal Steele, who noted that anglers are killed or injured every year through accidental contact with electricty lines.

The new campaign recommends fishing at a safe distance of at least 30 metres from electricty equipment to avoid accidents on the river.

Steele added that even non-metallic lightweight modern rods made from carbon fibre can conduct electricty, reminding that no angler is immune from the dangers of power lines.

The Larne Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#GIANT'S CAUSEWAY - The new Giant's Causeway visitors centre has opened to the public in Co Antrim in what's expected to be a big boost to tourism in the area.

Located close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the £18.5 million (€23 million) facility was designed to complement the coastal region's dramatic vistas, with a grass roof that allows it to blend in with the surrounding landscape, and columns that echo the causeway's thousands of naturally formed hexagonal basalt pillars.

As The Irish Times reports, the centre illustrates the story of the stones and the legend of Finn McCool and his Scottish rival who are said to have created the causeway during a mythical battle.

Already and award-winner for innovative design and sustainable features, the National Trust centre - located nine miles from Portrush - looks to welcome up to 780,000 visitors a year.

The Daily Telegraph has images of the new visitors centre and more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#KAYAKING - Firefighters from Northern Ireland are currently undertaking the challenge of a lifetime to raise funds for a local children's charity, as UTV Live News reports.

Starting yesterday, the eight-strong team from Belfast and Lisburn embarked on the Celtic Crossing Challenge, which involves climbing Ben Nevis in Scotland followed by a 100-mile cycle to the Mull of Kintyre, kayaking across the North Channel to Northern Ireland, another cycle from Cushendun to Newcastle via Belfast, and a final ascent up Slieve Donard.

The firefighters of the Specialist Rescue Team have put in months of training in preparation for the event, which will conclude on Tuesday, which involved many hours kayaking at sea and on local rivers and loughs.

Max Joyce of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) told UTV: "We'll be hitting Cushendun - hopefully Cushendun and not Iceland - at about 1pm on Monday and we would love people to come along and cycle with us into Belfast."

The challenge hopes to raise £20,000 for CLIC Sargent, a charity supporting young children with cancer. It has special significance for Joyce, who was diagnosed with cancer himself in 1997.

"It's worth every minute if we can in some small way help children who are suffering from this hideous disease," he said.

UTV Live News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking

#IRISH MARINAS - Two marinas were among the 11 resorts on the Northern Ireland coast awarded Blue Flag status this year.

It marks a record year for Northern Ireland's water quality standards as the EU's benchmarks grow increasingly strict, and represents a 100% increase over three years.

Ballyronan on Lough Neagh retains its Blue Flag status, while and Ballycastle Marina achieved the accolade for the first time, as the News Letter reports.

Other stretches retaining their status are Downhill, Benone, Portstewart, Tyrella, Whiterock and Portrush's East and West Strands.

Newcomers to the Blue Flag list are Cranfield West, Murlough and Crawfordsburn Country Park in Co Down, and Castlerock in Co Derry.

Meanwhile, seven beaches across Northern Ireland attained Seaside Awards for their high standards.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “Today’s increase in Blue Flag and Seaside Awards is great news for Northern Ireland’s beach users and seaside towns as they know they can expect the best when they see a Blue Flag or a Seaside Award symbol."

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Marinas

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is urging its supporters in Northern Ireland to vote 'yes' for the creation of a Marine Bill for the North.

It follows a meeting last month of the Northern Ireland Marine Task Force (NIMTF) which brough together interests from across the spectrm to discuss the bill and ensure it will "deliver for all sea users", as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The RSPB commented: "NIMTF are campaigning to have pilot projects for Marine Protected Areas and marine spatial planning put in place in parallel with the development of the Northern Ireland Marine Bill as Northern Ireland is currently three years behind the UK mainland.

"There is much work to do to inform the development of the Marine Bill in Northern Ireland and these pilots are needed for this process."

The RSPB noted that Scotland currently has four marine spatial planning pilots to inform the Scottish Marine Bill process, as well as four regional projects to set up a network of Marine Conservation Zones in England and Wales.

For more details on the Northern Ireland Marine Bill campaign visit the NIMTF webiste HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed a new humpback whale sighting, this time in Northern Ireland.

According to the IWDG, this is the third consecutive year that a humpback whale has been spotted in Northern Irish waters, with this sighting being only the fourth ever validated record for the species in the North.

IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley described it as "an important development [that] highlights a trend towards increased sightings of this large baleen whale species in Irish waters."

He also remarked on the "unusual" location of the sighting in the fast-running waters of the Strangford Narrows at the Ards Peninsula.

The discovery comes just a week after confirmed sighting of two humpback whales at the opposite end of the island of Ireland, off Galley Head in West Cork, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 15 of 27

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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