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Displaying items by tag: conservation

#FISHING - Conservationists and the fishing industry have joined forces in a new venture to evaulate the state of the Isle of Man's scallop fishery, as the Guardian reports.

Both sides will co-manage the 35-square-mile Ramsey marine nature reserve in the Irish Sea, collecting data to show what progress the scallops have made since fishing in the area was banned in 2009.

It is hoped that the study will lead to a renewing of leases for scallop fishing, which is worth up to £12 million annually to the Isle of Man's economy - though industry leaders have doubts that the new arrangement will serve the island's fishermen.

Some 2.6% of Manx waters are protected, with more than 1% 'highly protected', which is in stark contrast to the rest of the United Kingdom after plans for a national network of conservation zones were shelved till at least next year.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#FISHING - Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney briefed the Irish Skipper Expo in Galway last weekend on a new initiative promoting the use of selective conservation fishing nets, which allow young fish to escape.

Under the initiative in the Celtic Sea, additional quotas of up to 25% will be made available by the minister to skippers of Irish fishing boats which use an escape panel in their nets, allowing young whiting and haddock to escape.

The escape panel, developed by the Irish industry, has been endorsed at EU level and is expected to be a mandatory requirement later in the year.

Minister Coveney said on Saturday: “The use of this panel will significantly reduce discards of juvenile whiting and haddock in the Celtic Sea, allowing juvenile fish to grow and mature and contribute to increased stock size and returns for fishermen in future years.

"I believe that this offers an example of a practical approach to dealing effectively with the discards problem and retention of a flexible quota allocation system that we should take forward in the context of the Common Fisheries Policy Review."

In other news, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) announced €1.5 million in grant aid for the Irish fishing industry at the expo.

A spokesperson for BIM confirmed to the Galway Independent that the funding will be available to industry through a variety of schemes including fleet safety, seafood environmental management, lobster V-notching and coastal action groups.

Over 100 companies displayed their products and services to fishermen at the Irish Skipper Expo International 2012, held at the Galway Bay Hotel on 24-25 February.

Published in Fishing

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Newly-elected Irish President Michael D Higgins has agreed to be the sole patron of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

President Higgins has a long history of supporting environmental causes. In his inaugural speech he referred to Ireland’s strong cultural, scientific and technological ethos.

IWDG chairman Kevin MacCormick welcomed the President’s decision as a strong endorsement of the group’s work in protecting Ireland's marine wildlife.

He stated: “The IWDG will continue to maintain a sense of pride in our extraordinary national marine heritage and our need for stewardship of the natural environment through research, education and conservation policies.”

The IWDG is Ireland’s only conservation group dedicated to protecting whales and dolphins in Irish waters. It celebrated its 21st anniversary in December 2011.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The UK's Wildlife Trusts have launched a new website in an effort to redress the idea that the Irish Sea is "a dirty, lifeless" place.

As BBC News reports, the trusts' Cheryl Nicholson put down the Irish Sea's poor image, saying "nothing could be further from the truth".

"Our sea is home to so many amazing species and habitats," she added, "but sadly, after centuries of neglect, it is not in a good state. We must act now to protect the Irish Sea from the depths through to the coastal shallows."

The new website is part of a campaign by wildlife trusts throughout northwest England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to establish 15 Marine Conservation Zones recommended for the area.

The zones, if officially designated, would provide "a haven for wildlife to recover and thrive", said Nicholson.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, plans to establish such zones in the Irish Sea have been shelved till 2013 at the earliest after pressure from fishermen, boaters and other groups.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#TALL SHIPS - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has secured three-quarters of the funding it required to refit its research vessel Celtic Mist.

According to The Irish Times, the Clare Local Development Company has approved the allocation of a €48,000 grant towards the refurbishment of the ketch.

The work will be carried out by Cathal Blunnie and several sub-contractors, and involves stripping down the main cabin and removing the bath and shower to increase space for crew berths.

While the ship's clock will be retained, the ship’s wheel in the main cabin will be removed and presented to the Haughey family as a gesture of appreciation.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 52-foot yacht - which was gifted by the Haughey family to the IWDG to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work - entered dry dock last November in preparation for the refit work, after relocating to its new berth at Kilrush, Co Clare in July.

This followed its last jaunt at sea in its former guise, completing a leg of the Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock in Scotland.

The cost of refurbishing the yacht for research and training purposes is expected to top €60,000, with an annual running cost of some €20,000, for which the IWDG is seeking ongoing financial assistance.

The group aims to get the Celtic Mist back at sea before the summer.

Published in Tall Ships

#ANGLING - Inland Fisheries Ireland's Salmon Conservation Scheme has been extended into 2012, with funding increased to a total of €200,000.

The pilot scheme will facilitate the rehabilitation of salmon stocks, giving priority to rivers below their conservation limit which have the greatest prospect of recovery.

Applications are now being invited for salmon conservation projects, to a maximum value of €10,000 per project. Applicants must outline the benefits of the project, the ability to plan and complete the project, and value for money. Any statutory approvals necessary, such as planning permission, must be in place.

Examples of schemes that can be funded include: fish passage improvement; spawning enhancement, instream structures such as weirs and deflectors; river bank protection; tree pruning and planting; and removal of invasive species.

Minister for Communiations, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, commented: "This scheme has been proven to enhance habitat, knowledge and ultimately the wonderful angling and commercial fisheries we enjoy in Ireland adding benefit to local economies."

Application forms are available from the Inland Fisheries Ireland website HERE.

The closing date for applications is 31 March 2012.

Published in Angling
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 14 Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea are among the network of planned marine wildlife sanctuaries around the UK that has been postponed.
The Liverpool Echo reports that the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shelved plans to create the conservation areas by the end of 2012 after pressure from "groups that use the coastline frequently including fishermen, yachting enthusiasts and seaside villagers".
There will now be a six-month delay while and impact assessment on the network of well over 100 proposed sites is presented to the British government.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, conservation groups have raised concerns that fewer than a quarter of the proposed sites around the UK will receive official protection.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 14 Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea are among the network of planned marine wildlife sanctuaries around the UK that has been postponed.

The Liverpool Echo reports that the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shelved plans to create the conservation areas by the end of 2012 after pressure from "groups that use the coastline frequently including fishermen, yachting enthusiasts and seaside villagers".

There will now be a six-month delay while and impact assessment on the network of well over 100 proposed sites is presented to the British government.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, conservation groups have raised concerns that fewer than a quarter of the proposed sites around the UK will receive official protection.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Conservationists in the UK have voiced their concern that Westminster will enact fewer than a quarter of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones in British waters.
The Press Association reports that some 127 such zones - including parts of the Irish Sea - have been earmarked by regional conservation groups as areas requiring special environmental protection.
All 127 proposals were reviewed by an independent panel of scientists and government committees before they were to go on public consultation.
But it is now feared that a mere 23 of the total will get the go-ahead, due to a perceived lack of evidence to support the case for the rest.
"To only designate 23 marine conservation zones is equivalent to switching off the life support for our seas," commented Joan Edwards of the Wildlife Trusts.
The Press Association has more on the story HERE.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Conservationists in the UK have voiced their concern that Westminster will enact fewer than a quarter of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones in British waters.

The Press Association reports that some 127 such zones - including parts of the Irish Sea - have been earmarked by regional conservation groups as areas requiring special environmental protection.

All 127 proposals were reviewed by an independent panel of scientists and government committees before they were to go on public consultation. 

But it is now feared that a mere 23 of the total will get the go-ahead, due to a perceived lack of evidence to support the case for the rest.

"To only designate 23 marine conservation zones is equivalent to switching off the life support for our seas," commented Joan Edwards of the Wildlife Trusts.

The Press Association has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#TALL SHIPS - RTÉ News reports that the Celtic Mist is finally in dry dock for refurbishment to begin its new life as a maritime research vessel.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 52-foot yacht - which was gifted by the Haughey family to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work - relocated to its new berth at Kilrush, Co Clare in July.
This followed its last jaunt at sea earlier this year, completing a leg of the Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock.
The cost of refurbishing the yacht for research and training purposes is expected to top €60,000, with an annual running cost of some €20,000, for which the IWDG is seeking ongoing financial assistance.
The group aims to get the Celtic Mist back at sea before next summer.

#TALL SHIPS - RTÉ News reports that the Celtic Mist is finally in dry dock for refurbishment to begin its new life as a maritime research vessel.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 52-foot yacht - which was gifted by the Haughey family to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work - relocated to its new berth at Kilrush, Co Clare in July.

This followed its last jaunt at sea earlier this year, completing a leg of the Tall Ships Races from Waterford to Greenock.

The cost of refurbishing the yacht for research and training purposes is expected to top €60,000, with an annual running cost of some €20,000, for which the IWDG is seeking ongoing financial assistance.

The group aims to get the Celtic Mist back at sea before next summer.

Published in Tall Ships
Seasonality, climate change and the environment were the hot topics discussed at the inaugural meeting of the National Inland Fisheries Forum in Athlone last Thursday.
Inland Fisheries Ireland chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne hosted the forum, whose 60 voluntary members - drawn from various stakeholder groups - are is set to meet twice annually.
The day saw TV personality and keen angler Derek Davis installed as chairman of the forum, following his appointment by the Minister for Natural Resources.
Davis noted that the forum "can influence policies for the protection, management, development and conservation of this valuable resource now and for the generations to come."
In his own address to the forum, Dr Ciaran Byrne highlighted the members' collective experience in fisheries management on Ireland's inland waterways.
“A number of you have served as members of the central and regional fisheries boards, some for over 20 years," he said. "As members of the forum you have the opportunity to discuss and advise on the future of inland fisheries in Ireland. IFI looks forward to receiving your considered views on the various issues.”
In a message to the meeting, Minister Pat Rabbitte stated his belief "that the forum will provide a meaningful channel of communication between the stakeholders and management of the inland fisheries resource".

Seasonality, climate change and the environment were the hot topics discussed at the inaugural meeting of the National Inland Fisheries Forum in Athlone last Thursday.

Inland Fisheries Ireland chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne hosted the forum, whose 60 voluntary members - drawn from various stakeholder groups - are is set to meet twice annually.

The day saw TV personality and keen angler Derek Davis installed as chairman of the forum, following his appointment by the Minister for Natural Resources. 

Davis noted that the forum "can influence policies for the protection, management, development and conservation of this valuable resource now and for the generations to come."

In his own address to the forum, Dr Ciaran Byrne highlighted the members' collective experience in fisheries management on Ireland's inland waterways.

“A number of you have served as members of the central and regional fisheries boards, some for over 20 years," he said. "As members of the forum you have the opportunity to discuss and advise on the future of inland fisheries in Ireland. IFI looks forward to receiving your considered views on the various issues.”

In a message to the meeting, Minister Pat Rabbitte stated his belief "that the forum will provide a meaningful channel of communication between the stakeholders and management of the inland fisheries resource".

Published in Angling
Page 5 of 6

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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