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Prawn Fishing Threat To Irish Sea Diversity Say Scientists

28th August 2015
Prawn Fishing Threat To Irish Sea Diversity Say Scientists

#MarineWildlife - The future of the Irish Sea's diverse habitat is under threat from "unsustainable" prawn fishing, scientists have warned.

But as Independent.ie reports, fishing groups say Dublin Bay prawns are being caught with sensitivity to vulnerable fish species that may be caught in their nets.

Cod, whiting and sole stocks in the Irish Sea have fallen due to prawn nets, according to the North West Wildlife Trusts, whose marine conservation officer Dr Emily Baxter pinned the blame on the UK Government for backtracking on its marine protection plans.

Dr Baxter said that "vulnerable habitats are already damaged from activities such as bottom trawling and they are at high risk of further damage and deterioration.

"The nephrops stocks are being fished beyond sustainable levels and other stocks are in a severe state of depletion."

However, Dick James from the Northern Ireland Fish Producers' Organisation, said the fishermen "don't accept that the Irish Sea is being overfished."

Meanwhile, learning more about the status of undersea life in the Celtic Sea is the mission of two robots that recently set off from Pembrokeshire to capture images from the ocean floor, as BBC News reports.

Over the next few weeks the robots, controlled by scientists in Southampton and Portsmouth, will gather data in the Celtic Deep - the same area where Ben Fogle and crew are on the hunt for great while sharks.

Published in Marine Wildlife
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland 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. 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 the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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