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Displaying items by tag: William Spotswood Green

A marine scientist who pioneered a salt fish industry which gave valuable coastal employment after the Great Famine has been remembered with a plaque in Co Kerry.

William Spotswood Green “saved lives” from Mizen to Malin Head, according to Dr Kevin Flannery, rare fish expert, who traced his grave, and organised the memorial.

“Few men have made so great a contribution to the welfare of Irish fishermen,” according to a lecture on the late marine scientist at the Royal Dublin Society in 1967.

The sea and seashore held a fascination for Green from an early age, having been born in Youghal, Co Cork, in 1847. He was educated at Midleton College and studied science and logic at Trinity College Dublin, but turned to theology and was posted as a curate to Kenmare, Co Kerry, in the 1870s.

William Spotswood Green “saved lives” from Mizen to Malin Head, according to Dr Kevin Flannery (above), rare fish expert, who traced his grave, and organised the memorialWilliam Spotswood Green “saved lives” from Mizen to Malin Head, according to Dr Kevin Flannery, (above), who traced his grave and organised the memorial

The poverty resulting from the Great Famine influenced his decision to become involved in Congested District Board efforts to revive the fishing industry. He retired from his church duties when he was appointed chief inspector of fisheries with the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction.

Apart from working on fishing gear and pier development, he spearheaded an export market in salted mackerel. This trade thrived, benefiting fishers and their families and providing coastal employment for salters and cooper making barrels for the fish.

He led Royal Irish Academy survey cruises and was involved in the design of the research vessel, Helga II, which was commissioned for fishery patrols but was equipped with a laboratory for marine research and was used in the survey of Clare Island, Co Mayo, in 1909.

He was also a climber and is better remembered in New Zealand for an attempt on Mount Cook in 1881-2. Weather turned against the expedition close to the summit, but they were hailed for identifying a route. Three New Zealanders recorded the first summit of Mount Cook in 1894.

Spotswood Green died at home in Caherdaniel in 1919. Dr Flannery traced his grave to a Church of Ireland graveyard in Sneem, where a plaque was unveiled last week to the “fishery scientist, mountaineer, explorer, man of God”. A talk was also given on his legacy at the Sneem Summer Festival.

Published in Marine Science

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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