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Displaying items by tag: 2nd New Brittany Route

Hot on the heals of Stena Line's new Dublin-Cherbourg route announced today, Brittany Ferries has also acted quickly to support the freight sector and meet the needs of an industry battling Brexit by confirming a new weekly Rosslare-Cherbourg service.

As Afloat reported back in July, this new Ireland-France service which was due to commence in March, will begin service on Monday, 18 January 2021. This new service will initially be served by the Cap Finistère.

Afloat adds Stena Line increased freight space with the brand new Stena Embla but on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route with the ferry completing a first round trip today. This follows Irish Ferries which only last week deployed W.B.Yeats onto the Dublin-Cherbourg route but much earlier so to alleviate pressing freight concerns over capacity.

As Brittany Ferries highlight, Irish and French hauliers have traditionally relied on the UK-land bridge when transporting goods to and from mainland Europe. However, since the beginning of the year, more companies have sought an alternative to the additional administration, new formalities, greater costs and potential delays that come from carrying goods though the UK.

Therefore, the French operator confirms today that Cap Finistère will cover the twice weekly sailing connecting Rosslare and Bilbao, taking over from Connemara until 10 February. As a consequence of this ship’s flexibility, Brittany Ferries will also add a weekly rotation connecting Rosslare with Cherbourg to the schedule, opening this Ireland-France route two months earlier than originally planned.

“Brittany Ferries prides itself on decisive action, based on the flexibility of its fleet and we can meet the needs of the marketplace quickly,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO. “Cap Finistère is our fastest Ro-Ro vessel and she is therefore well suited to opening this new Brexit by-pass, making an additional sailing each week connecting France and Ireland.”

Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort said “all at Rosslare Europort welcome Brittany Ferries’ swift response to the needs of Irish industry in commencing this year’s Rosslare to Cherbourg services two months earlier than planned. We have worked closely with Brittany Ferries in ensuring that arrangements for the service were quickly put in place, further cementing Rosslare Europort’s position as Ireland’s Gateway to Europe.”

Published in Brittany Ferries

Sharks in Irish waters

Irish waters are home to 71 species of shark, skates and rays, 58 of which have been studied in detail and listed on the Ireland Red List of Cartilaginous fish. Irish sharks range from small Sleeper sharks, Dogfish and Catsharks, to larger species like Frilled, Mackerel and Cow sharks, all the way to the second largest shark in the world, the Basking shark. 

Irish waters provide a refuge for an array of shark species. Tralee Bay, Co. Kerry provides a habitat for several rare and endangered sharks and their relatives, including the migratory tope shark, angel shark and undulate ray. This area is also the last European refuge for the extremely rare white skate. Through a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) project, Marine Institute scientists have been working with fishermen to assess the distribution, diversity, and monthly relative abundance of skates and rays in Tralee, Brandon and Dingle Bays.

“These areas off the southwest coast of Ireland are important internationally as they hold some of the last remaining refuges for angel shark and white skate,” said Dr Maurice Clarke of the Marine Institute. “This EMFF project has provided data confirming the critically endangered status of some species and provides up-to-date information for the development of fishery measures to eliminate by-catch.” 

Irish waters are also home to the Black Mouthed Catshark, Galeus melastomus, one of Ireland’s smallest shark species which can be found in the deep sea along the continental shelf. In 2018, Irish scientists discovered a very rare shark-nursery 200 nautical miles off the west coast by the Marine Institute’s ROV Holland 1 on a shelf sloping to 750 metres deep. 

There are two ways that sharks are born, either as live young or from egg casings. In the ‘case’ of Black Mouthed Catsharks, the nursery discovered in 2018, was notable by the abundance of egg casings or ‘mermaid’s purses’. Many sharks, rays and skate lay eggs, the cases of which often wash ashore. If you find an egg casing along the seashore, take a photo for Purse Search Ireland, a citizen science project focusing on monitoring the shark, ray and skate species around Ireland.

Another species also found by Irish scientists using the ROV Holland 1 in 2018 was a very rare type of dogfish, the Sail Fin Rough Shark, Oxynotus paradoxus. These sharks are named after their long fins which resemble the trailing sails of a boat, and live in the deep sea in waters up to 750m deep. Like all sharks, skates and rays, they have no bones. Their skeleton is composed of cartilage, much like what our noses and ears are made from! This material is much more flexible and lighter than bone which is perfect for these animals living without the weight of gravity.

Throughout history sharks have been portrayed as the monsters of the sea, a concept that science is continuously debunking. Basking sharks were named in 1765 as Cetorhinus maximus, roughly translated to the ‘big-nosed sea monster’. Basking sharks are filter feeders, often swimming with their mouths agape, they filter plankton from the water.

They are very slow moving and like to bask in the sun in shallow water and are often seen in Irish waters around Spring and early Summer. To help understand the migration of these animals to be better able to understand and conserve these species, the Irish Basking Shark Group have tagged and mapped their travels.

Remarkably, many sharks like the Angel Shark, Squatina squatina have the ability to sense electricity. They do this via small pores in their skin called the ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ which are able to detect the tiny electrical impulses of a fish breathing, moving or even its heartbeat from distances of over a kilometre! Angel sharks, often referred to as Monkfish have a distinctively angelic shape, with flattened, large fins appearing like the wings of an angel. They live on the seafloor in the coastal waters of Ireland and much like a cat are nocturnal, primarily active at night.

The intricate complexity of shark adaptations is particularly noticeable in the texture of their skin. Composed of miniscule, perfectly shaped overlapping scales, the skin of shark provides them with protection. Often shark scales have been compared to teeth due to their hard enamel structure. They are strong, but also due to their intricate shape, these scales reduce drag and allow water to glide past them so that the shark can swim more effortlessly and silently. This natural flawless design has been used as inspiration for new neoprene fabric designs to help swimmers glide through the water. Although all sharks have this feature, the Leafscale Gulper Shark, Centrophorus squamosus, found in Ireland are specifically named due to the ornate leaf-shape of their scales.