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The Commissioners of Irish Lights has announced a major conference ‘Navigating to 2050 – A safe and sustainable maritime future’.

The two-day conference will be held in Dublin Castle on 15-16 November 2022 and a virtual attendance will also be available.

Safely navigating to a decarbonised maritime sector by 2050 requires extensive knowledge building, investment and holistic approaches. More importantly, it requires immediate action. These issues stretch across the entire marine sector incorporating shipping, ports, energy, fuel supply and storage, environmentally-friendly and safe navigation, operations and effective regulation.

At a time of major challenge, but also very significant opportunity, this conference will bring together a diverse range of key national and international leaders to debate a safe and sustainable route to 2050. The conference will identify the gaps, synergies, levers and opportunities that will enable progress on this critical journey.

To register your interest and view key speakers visit this link.

Full conference registration and further programme details will be available from Irish Lights in August.

Published in Lighthouses

This week the Loughs Agency welcomed Europe’s top marine scientists to the Northwest for the European Tracking Network’s (ETN) annual meeting, with delegates from across the continent attending the three-day event in Derry.

The conference, which is funded by the EU’s COST Action programme, took place in the City Hotel Derry from Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 April, with attendees taking part in a range of informative workshops and activities.

The Loughs Agency is a member of ETN, an initiative devoted to furthering knowledge and management of aquatic species around Europe.

The network has six strategically placed large marine fish counters — known as ‘arrays’ — situated across the continent’s waters, with various member organisations involved in the long-term project.

During the conference delegates discussed a range of issues, including the current status of the project, new funding opportunities, key species for research and new projects in the pipeline.

Those in attendance have also embarked on site visits to Lough Foyle and rivers in the Foyle catchment. Over the course of these visits, they were able to observe the agency’s fish counters as well as estuary arrays which are deployed as part of SeaMonitor, the Loughs Agency-led project which has been described as “Europe’s largest fish counter”.

Graham Warke, the Mayor of Derry and Strabane was in attendance at the City Hotel Derry on Wednesday 6 April to meet delegates, and the party also had the opportunity to sample some of the region’s finest food and drink at the Walled City Brewery.

Sharon McMahon, acting chief executive of the Loughs Agency said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome so many esteemed scientists, academics and environmentalists from across Europe to the Foyle catchment area in Ireland’s scenic Northwest.

“The agency is proud of the incredible work carried out by our science function on a daily basis, and as lead partner on the SeaMonitor project, we are fortunate to be right at the cutting edge of fish tracking technology.

“Through continuous collaboration with our European colleagues, this ETN annual meeting will enable us to increase our knowledge of aquatic species, which in turn will help us preserve marine life throughout Europe.”

ETN coordination Dr Jan Reubens explained that the network’s mission “is to track aquatic animals across Europe to better understand, protect and manage them. This meeting is an important milestone to boost our objectives by creating network opportunities, strengthening collaborations, sharing knowledge and advancing the science.”

Published in Marine Science

The 2022 EIFAAC Symposium will be hosted by Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications at Randles Hotel in Killarney on 20-21 June.

The rubric for the 31st symposium of the European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission — the first since Dresden, Germany in September 2019 — is ‘Advances in Technology, Stock Assessment and Citizen Science in an Era of Climate Change’.

Four themes have been identified for the symposium relating to inland fish stock assessment, developments in freshwater fish monitoring technologies, assessing the impacts of climate change on freshwater fish and their habitats and the role of citizen science. The fifth theme will focus on the pros and cons of traditional vs recirculation aquaculture systems.

Abstract submission is open for presenters until this Friday 18 February. Notification of acceptance letters all be sent on 25 March and presenting authors will have until 28 March to register. The deadline for submission of manuscripts/presentations is 13 June, one week before the symposium.

For those wishing to attend, early-bird registration is now open at €120 (students €80) until 1 April. Payment made after this date will incur an extra administration charge of €20.

For more details on attending the conference, see the IFI website HERE.

Published in Aquaculture

ICRA has published the agenda and registration details for its 2021 Conference and AGM taking place over Zoom on Saturday 6 March.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, RTÉ and Met Éireann’s Evelyn Cusack will head an exciting and interesting line-up of guest speakers and presentations.

ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell will kick off proceedings at 10.30 am with the welcome and Commodore’s update.

This will be followed at 10.40 am by Evelyn Cusack’s half-hour presentation on forecasting the weather. And at 11.10 am, esteemed yacht designer Mark Mills will give a brief talk on his line of work.

After a short 10-minute break, the conference resumes at 11.40 with an events update from Harry Hermon of Irish Sailing, and briefings on the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race by Adam Winkelmann, Sovereigns Cup by Anthony O’Neil, Dun Laoghaire Regatta by Con Murphy, ICRA Nationals by Ric Morris and ISORA from Peter Ryan.

Updates from the organisers of key Irish regattas, including VDLR above, will be given at March's ICRA online ConferenceUpdates from the organisers of key Irish regattas, including VDLR above, will be given at March's ICRA online Conference Photo: Afloat

At 12.05 pm, Dave Cullen will host an events and racing Q&A session, followed at 12.20 pm by the formal opening of the AGM by Richard Colwell.

ICRA Treasurer John Leech will give a financial update, which will be followed by an update on activities and objectives.

Under 25 programme update

Brian Raftery will brief on the U25 programme, Denis Byrne will talk the Central Results database, Ric Morris will present on updates and enhancements to rules, and Richard Colwell will give an update on plans for the 2022 Nationals.

From 12.50 pm will be the notification of existing members stepping down from the ICRA executive committee, and the election of new members, followed by the formal closing at 1 pm.

Click HERE for registration details, and find more related documents on the ICRA website.

Published in ICRA
Tagged under

A conference seminar: 'Seafarer Wellness: Are the signals being read? is to be held on Thursday, 26 March (0900-17.00) at the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI), Ringaskiddy, Cork Harbour.

Organisers of the conference is the Ireland Branch Of The Nautical Institute (website) and the Irish Institute of Master Mariners (IIMM) in association with the Department of Maritime Studies at NMCI.

For a list of the seminar speakers list click this link

The conference will be an opportunity to meet colleagues, exchange views and inform Maritime Policy.

To register attendence and book tickets at €20 (incl refreshments and light lunch) click here and for a map of venue location.

For further information contact Deirdre at [email protected] 

Published in Ports & Shipping

The global climate crisis and how it relates to biodiversity and ocean protection is a big topic for discussion at a two-day conference in Trinity College Dublin which starts tomorrow (Monday 2 September).

The ‘Bigger and Better’ Marine Protected Area Conference is co-hosted by Coastwatch Ireland and the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT), who highlight that Ireland has protected only a fraction of its waters as pledged by 2020.

It will bring together Government officials with international speakers and experts to explore the reasons for Ireland’s “poor performance” when it comes to protecting our seas.

“Ireland is a laggard in providing the protections required to restore our ocean’s health,” said IWT campaign officer Pádraic Fogarty.

“MPAs [Marine Protected Areas] are now widely applied across the world as a tool in protecting biodiversity and ocean ecosystems.

“As an island nation we really should be at the forefront of this effort – not at the back of the class.”

Tickets for the conference are available from Eventbrite.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Loughs Agency is teaming up with the Foyle Association of Salmon and Trout Anglers (FASTA) to host an evening salmon conference in Omagh, Co Tyrone next month.

Our Foyle Salmon – The Upstream Battle at the Mellon Country Inn from 7pm on Wednesday 25 September will hear from speakers on a range of issues including the status of salmon in the River Foyle, current research, threats and steps that can be taken to sustain and protect the species.

This is a fully ticketed event; tickets are free and available through Eventbrite with a maximum of two tickets per transaction.

When registering for tickets you can also submit a question to the panel for the Q&A session at the conference.

Published in Angling

#MarineScience - Following on from the successful conferences in Keele (2014) and Stirling (2016), the Marine Institute in Galway will host the third meeting of the European Association Of Fish Pathologists (EAFP) on 11-12 September 2018.

‘Connecting academia with industry for improved aquatic animal health’ is the theme of next year’s meeting, which will focus on the latest scientific advances and how this can be applied to the crustacean, molluscan and finfish aquaculture industries to improve the health of such marine wildlife.

The meeting will open with a keynote lecture followed by specific sessions on topics relevant to the UK and Ireland. Early stage researchers (post-graduate students, PhDs) will also get the opportunity to present their work in a dedicated session.

Registration for this event will open in early 2018. More announcements will follow on the EAFP website. For queries contact Dr Neil Ruane at [email protected].

Published in Marine Science

#Shellfish - Galway will host the 11th International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety (ICMSS 2017) this summer from Sunday 14 to Thursday 18 May.

ICMSS 2017 will be hosted by the Marine Institute in association with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Irish Shellfish Association, National University of Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway.

This 11th conference in the biannual forum series, subtitled ‘Protecting consumers, assuring supply, growing confidence’, offers an important multidisciplinary interface between regulatory, scientific and industrial representatives of the international molluscan food safety community. Unusual, emerging and novel shellfish risk factors will be discussed, offering new information and solutions.

ICMSS 2017 will include keynote presentations from acclaimed international experts in the area. A series of workshops will be held in conjunction with the event on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May which will be of particular interest to shellfish safety professionals and students, including microbiologists, toxin chemists, toxicologists, marine scientists, regulators, policy makers, food safety specialists, environmental health officials, engineers, environmental managers, academics and undergraduate and postgraduate students.

More information can be found on the ICMSS 2017 website. The programme is available to as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#BlueGrowth - Galway's Marine Institute will host the third Irish national event of the support team for the Atlantic Action Plan on Thursday 24 November.

Under the theme of ‘Linking the Atlantic Strategy and Current Funding Opportunities’, this event is aimed at anyone with an interest in developing projects related to the marine and maritime sectors in line with the Atlantic Action Plan. The official event website has more details.

Also on 24 November, Galway’s Glenlo Abbey Hotel is the venue for the seventh Marine Economics and Policy Research Symposium, hosted by the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) of NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute.

This free event will provide participants with an update on a wide range of policy topics related to the marine sector in Ireland, with a particular focus this year on the valuation of marine ecosystem services benefits to society.

Speakers will include Prof Nick Hanley of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS); Dr Ronan Lyons of Trinity College Dublin; and Dr Kathrine Skoland of International Research Institute of Stavanger, Norway.

More information on the day will be circulated in the coming weeks, and early registration is available HERE.

Published in Marine Science
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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