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Displaying items by tag: National Parks and Wildlife Service

#GALWAY BAY - Galway Bay FM reports that the National Parks and Wildlife Service is to work with the Marine Institute towards completing a management plan for Galway Bay.

It comes two weeks after a group of oyster fishermen met Minister for Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte at Leinster House to voice their concerns over a cap on oyster dredging licences.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, local fishermen in the inner Galway Bay-Clarinbridge area are concerned that their livelihoods are at risk after the European Union ruled that there is over-intensification of fishing at the oyster bed.

Only 13 dredging licences have been issued this year, and EU Directives prevent their further issue until a fisheries management plan is introduced.

Galway West Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames says steps are being made to get the management plan on track.

Published in Galway Harbour
Seven dead seals washed up in Donegal are believed to have died of natural causes - but concerns over a pattern of seal deaths nationwide remain.
As the Donegal Democrat reports, the seven grey seals - which are a protected species - were found beached along with a dead dolphin in the Rosberg area.
A ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service confirmed that none of the marine animals had been shot.
But Pauline Beades of the Irish Seal Sanctuary said the find was just one in a series of reports of "strange" seal deaths around the country.
“You don’t find three, four, five animals dead on a beach," she said. "I would be very concerned that this is not a normal occurrence.”
It is not yet known if a post-mortem will be carried out in the dead seals, but members of the public are encouraged to report any similar finds as the thocine distemper virus has been responsible for seal deaths in the past.
Beades said that grey seals are now having their young, and asked the public to keep an eye out for seal pups and report anything that looks suspicious in the area.
The Donegal Democrat has more on the story HERE.

Seven dead seals washed up in Donegal are believed to have died of natural causes - but concerns over a pattern of seal deaths nationwide remain.

As the Donegal Democrat reports, the seven grey seals - which are a protected species - were found beached along with a dead dolphin in the Rosberg area. 

A ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service confirmed that none of the marine animals had been shot.

But Pauline Beades of the Irish Seal Sanctuary said the find was just one in a series of reports of "strange" seal deaths around the country.

“You don’t find three, four, five animals dead on a beach," she said. "I would be very concerned that this is not a normal occurrence.”

It is not yet known if a post-mortem will be carried out in the dead seals, but members of the public are encouraged to report any similar finds as the thocine distemper virus has been responsible for seal deaths in the past.

Beades said that grey seals are now having their young, and asked the public to keep an eye out for seal pups and report anything that looks suspicious in the area.

The Donegal Democrat has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Atlantic salmon have joined four other native fish on a 'red list' of endangered species compiled by the Ireland's fisheries and wildlife agencies.
As the Irish Independent reports, one third of the State's 15 native fish species are considered endangered or vulnerable.
One of the worst hit is the European eel, which was found to be critically endangered.
In a report published yesterday, a number of threats were highlighted such as water pollution, invasive species, overfishing, poor river management and climate change.
According to The Irish Times, the Red List was compiled by scientists from organisations across the island including Inland Fisheries Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
The news comes just a few days after Dublin celebrated the return of wild Atlantic salmon to the River Tolka after more than a century.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Atlantic salmon have joined four other native fish on a 'red list' of endangered species compiled by the Ireland's fisheries and wildlife agencies.

As the Irish Independent reports, one third of the State's 15 native fish species are considered endangered or vulnerable.

One of the worst hit is the European eel, which was found to be critically endangered.

In a report published yesterday, a number of threats were highlighted such as water pollution, invasive species, overfishing, poor river management and climate change.

According to The Irish Times, the Red List was compiled by scientists from organisations across the island including Inland Fisheries Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

The news comes just a few days after Dublin celebrated the return of wild Atlantic salmon to the River Tolka after more than a century.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling
Ireland's Wildlife's Calvin Jones recently joined the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group on the trail of fin whales off the West Cork coast.
Following reports of sightings just off the coastline, IWDG researchers set off with group members and a ranger from the National Parks and Wildlife Service on chartered vessel the Holly Joe to confirm for themselves.
"It took a while for us to spot the characteristic blow, gracefully arching back and almost ludicrously small dorsal fin of our first fin whale," says Jones, who also notes that the calm conditions made spotting their telltale blows more difficult due to the lack of spray.
Jones continues: "This day the water was so clear that at one point, looking down from the roof of the Holly Joe, I could clearly see the whole whale – from the tip of its head to the impressive tail flukes. It was bigger than the boat by some margin: an awe inspiring sight.
Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.

Ireland's Wildlife's Calvin Jones recently joined the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group on the trail of fin whales and other marine wildlife off the West Cork coast.

Following reports of sightings just off the coastline, IWDG researchers set off with group members and a ranger from the National Parks and Wildlife Service on chartered vessel the Holly Joe to confirm for themselves.

"It took a while for us to spot the characteristic blow, gracefully arching back and almost ludicrously small dorsal fin of our first fin whale," says Jones, who also notes that the calm conditions made spotting their telltale blows more difficult due to the lack of spray.

Jones continues: "This day the water was so clear that at one point, looking down from the roof of the Holly Joe, I could clearly see the whole whale – from the tip of its head to the impressive tail flukes. It was bigger than the boat by some margin: an awe inspiring sight."

Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Coastwatch has claimed that a ministerial order for the protection of sand dunes in Co Wexford is being breached, The Irish Times reports.
The order was made in January by former environment minister John Gormley to protect the Tinnaberna dunes from damage due to the storage of cattle over a number of years.
But the environmental group says that "dung, contaminated sediment and massive weed cultures remain" on site, and highlighted concern over its close proximity to a stream which flows into the sea near bathing water.
However, the National Parks and Wildlife service said its ecologist is "happy" with progress made on clearing the dunes.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Coastwatch has claimed that a ministerial order for the protection of sand dunes in Co Wexford is being breached, The Irish Times reports.

The order was made in January by former environment minister John Gormley to protect the Tinnaberna dunes from damage due to the storage of cattle over a number of years.

But the environmental group says that "dung, contaminated sediment and massive weed cultures remain" on site, and highlighted concern over its close proximity to a stream which flows into the sea near bathing water.

However, the National Parks and Wildlife service said its ecologist is "happy" with progress made on clearing the dunes.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
9th February 2011

Kerry Fishermen Want Seal Cull

Kerry fishermen are calling for a cull of the local grey seal population over claims that they eat up to 10kg of fish a day, The Irish Times reports.
Fishermen along the Kerry coast are arguing the the seals are "over-protected", are too great in number and are posing a threat to salmon conservation, as well as depleting stocks of hake and pollock.
Concerns are on the rise that seals will be culled illegally if there is no official intervention on the matter. However, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has ruled out any action.
Locals in the Blasket Islands have claimed that more than 1,200 seals inhabit the area. Research by the Seal Track programme showed only 400 seals in the Blaskets in 2003, down over 40% from 1998 numbers.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Kerry fishermen are calling for a cull of the local grey seal population over claims that they eat up to 10kg of fish a day, The Irish Times reports on marine animals.

Fishermen along the Kerry coast are arguing the the seals are "over-protected", are too great in number and are posing a threat to salmon conservation, as well as depleting stocks of hake and pollock.

Concerns are on the rise that seals will be culled illegally if there is no official intervention on the matter. However, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has ruled out any action.

Locals in the Blasket Islands have claimed that more than 1,200 seals inhabit the area. Research by the Seal Track programme showed only 400 seals in the Blaskets in 2003, down over 40% from 1998 numbers.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Waterways Ireland has confirmed that further dredging of the Grand Canal in Dublin will commence this month and continue till the end of April.
The canal will be closed to navigation from Lock C4 at Baggot Street to Lock 1 at Suir Road for the removal of sediment and rubbish between Mespil Road and Portobello Harbour, making the canal navigable for a large range of boats.
Traffic management plans have been agreed with Dublin City Council to keep disruption to a minimum, and discussions have taken place with the National Parks and Wildlife Service on measures to minimise the impact on sensitive habitats along the canal.

Waterways Ireland has confirmed that further dredging of the Grand Canal in Dublin will commence this month and continue till the end of April on the inland waterway.

The canal will be closed to navigation from Lock C4 at Baggot Street to Lock 1 at Suir Road for the removal of sediment and rubbish between Mespil Road and Portobello Harbour, making the canal navigable for a large range of boats.

Traffic management plans have been agreed with Dublin City Council to keep disruption to a minimum, and discussions have taken place with the National Parks and Wildlife Service on measures to minimise the impact on sensitive habitats along the canal.

Published in Inland Waterways

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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