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Displaying items by tag: shellfish

#MarineWildlife - The Guardian reports that fishing is expected to be banned near Rockall after the recent discovery of a rare ocean floor gas vent and new species of shellfish.

The 'cold seep' methane vent found by Scotland-based marine scientists last year is only the third of its kind to be found in this region of the Atlantic Ocean - and apparently has a 'chemosynthetic' relationship with two species of deep-water clam, and the polychaete worms they contain, that are new to science.

Also found was a frilled shark, described as a 'living fossil' for existing as a species for at least 90 million years. Such sharks are seldom seen north of the tropics.

In the wake of these findings, the International Convention on the Exploration of the Seas has recommended a ban on fishing activity at the site and its surrounds.

Rockall - which adventurer Nick Hancock is attempting to occupy for a world record attempt - is a tiny rocky islet north-east of Donegal, almost halfway between Ireland and Iceland in the North Atlantic. It has long been the subject of territorial dispute, with Ireland, the UK, Iceland and Denmark all staking a claim.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The 10th Shellfish Safety Workshop at the Marine Institute was attended by 140 participants including shellfish producers, processors, scientists and industry regulators to hear the latest advances in shellfish safety, including the discovery of an organism that causes harmful AZP toxins in shellfish as well as the use of satellite imagery and models to provide early warnings to fish farmers on harmful algal blooms and shellfish toxicity.

The workshop hosted by the Marine Institute, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority provided an opportunity to exchange information on the latest progress and research into the cause and control of shellfish toxicity and microbiological contamination of various shellfish products harvested and farmed around our coast.

Mr Richie Flynn of the Irish Shellfish Association said the huge effort and advances that have been made in understanding the nature of these issues are fundamental to the development of the industry. He went on to say "these successful biotoxin and microbiological monitoring programmes that we spent many years developing are now carried out very efficiently, and with the full support of the industry, but we must continue to invest in the most advanced analytical technologies and take advantage of advances in new smart communications in order to provide the best available advice to industry."

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute said "Ireland has among the highest standards in shellfish safety worldwide because of the strict monitoring and control programmes in place here. Our scientists have led the way in the move to chemical testing for biotoxins and the development of molecular testing methods for shellfish viruses in recent years and this is now the standard across Europe."

Among the research presented at the workshop was the discovery of the organism that causes Azaspiracid, a group of naturally occurring marine toxins that can contaminate mussels. The shellfish industry was affected by this particularly in 2005 and 2012 with significant closures of shellfish production areas. The ASTOX project, which is nearing completion, was presented by Jane Kilcoyne, Conor Duffy and Rafael Salas, who gave updated information on the toxicology of the Azaspiracid group of toxins, the discovery of the causative organism responsible for Azaspiracid shellfish poisoning and how this toxin behaves in the human digestive system and studies on how it affects various tissues.

A new EU project using advanced satellite imagery, mathematical modelling and real time monitoring to provide short term predictions was demonstrated by Caroline Cusack, showing how this multidisciplinary approach may provide useful information on biotoxin outbreaks for shellfish producers.

Trends in shellfish toxins and toxic phytoplankton over the last four years were presented by Dave Clarke and Tara Chamberlain who both identified the extended occurrence of Azaspiracid in shellfish and red tides of the fish killing micro-algae "Karenia mikimotoi" of 2012 as being some of the worst we have seen.

Other research presented included a talk on shellfish hatchery technology by Iarfhlaith Connellan from Cartron Point Shellfish hatchery on Galway Bay on the production of triploid oysters to meet the demands of the Irish industry for oyster seed. Teresa Morrissey, Marine Institute presented the findings of a study to assess the presence and impact of oyster disease which caused oyster mortalities in several areas in recent years.

Bill Dore, John Flannery and Paulina Rajko-Nenow from the Marine Institute discussed the monitoring and detection of high levels of Norovirus contamination which is likely to be legislated for in shellfish in the future.

Dr. Georgina McDermott and Karen Creed from the EPA described measures introduced to reduce pressures and risks on the quality of shellfish, such as designated shellfish growing areas and pollution reduction programmes, and presented results showing certain areas are already improving in terms of eutrophication.

Conference organiser, Joe Silke from the Marine Institute, welcomed the strong attendance at the workshop. "Interest in these monitoring programmes and research activities from members of the industry is vital to ensure that the scientists and regulators are aware of relevant current and emerging issues". He said that the efforts made in controlling outbreaks, and research into understanding and forecasting them can only be successful in a clean and unpolluted environment, and recognised the huge efforts being made by the EPA in reducing and monitoring pollution. He thanked the other agencies including SFPA, FSAI and BIM in working together with the Marine Institute and the Irish Shellfish Association as a superb example of inter agency cooperation to deliver a set of programmes that are effective and efficient in reducing any risks associated with placing shellfish on the market.

 

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#MarineScience - The 10th Shellfish Safety Science workshop will take place at the Marine Institute in Galway on Thursday 18 April 2013.

This one-day event is an opportunity for anyone working in the area of shellfish safety, including regulators, scientists as well as industry, to meet and exchange information on the latest advances in the field.

Irish regulatory agencies will provide updates on recent shellfish biotoxin, toxin-producing algae, harmful algal blooms and shellfish microbiology.

There will be presentations from research projects that are nearing completion on the toxicology and causative organism responsible for Azaspiracid shellfish poisoning which caused extensive economic hardship in 2012 and 2013.

A new EU project using advanced satellite imagery, mathematical modelling and real-time monitoring to provide short-term predictions will be demonstrated, showing how this multidisciplinary approach may provide useful information on biotoxin outbreaks for shellfish producers.  

On the microbiological side, presentations on shellfish contamination from Norovirus and how the Shellfish Waters Directive aims to monitor and improve environmental conditions for shellfish cultivation will be given.   

Further information on these and other aspects of the workshop are available on the Marine Institute website at www.marine.ie. Attendance is free but registration is required by emailing [email protected]

Published in Marine Science

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Work on exterminating sea squirts at a marina in north Wales has begun.

The £250,000 (€301,000) project by the Countryside Council for Wales involves attaching giant bags to the subsurface structures around the marina in Holyhead, which is hoped will stop the clean flow of water to the sea squirts, causing them to suffocate and die.

Marine biologist Rohan Holt, who is managing the project, said: “If we successfully eradicate the sea squirt, we will work hard to make sure that it does not recolonise.

"This will mean careful monitoring in Holyhead marina and other marinas and popular mooring areas throughout Wales to check that it hasn’t reappeared."

The sea creature threatens shellfish by spreading like a blanket across the seabed and other surfaces.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, colonies of the invasive Japanese sea squirt are posing a throat to mussel and scallop bed in the Menai Strait between Anglesey and the mainland.

Boats from Ireland have been blamed for carrying the invasive pest into Holyhead.

The Daily Post has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Irish Water Safety is today warning the public of the increased risk to people becoming stranded whilst walking or picking shellfish on our beaches over the weekend.

The moon will be at its closest to earth since 1993 on Saturday March 19th.
This "Lunar Perigee", or 'Super Moon' as some astrologers refer to it as, is the opposite of the "Lunar Apogee", when the Moon is furthest from Earth. Generally, the Moon looks about 12-14% larger at its perigee compared to its apogee.

This has the effect of causing very high and low tides, or increasing the range of the tide. This will expose large areas of beach and rocks which we normally don't see. Many people enjoy walking on our beaches and exploring these new areas of beach and in particular people enjoy picking shellfish to eat which become exposed during these very low tides.

The risk to the public will be of becoming stranded as the tide advances back in which can leave people in a position where they are cut off from the shore. Members of the public are cautioned to be aware of this risk and carry your mobile phone. Should you get in to trouble then call 112 or 999 and ask for Marine Rescue, giving your exact location and in particular if you are near to any conspicuous landmarks nearby to assist the Rescue Services in locating your whereabouts.

All seafarers, surfers, swimmers and divers should be aware of the increased tidal streams that will be running around our coast over the weekend; people could find themselves in peril as a result of these strong and fast tidal conditions which have not been experienced for some time now.

Published in Marine Warning
Page 3 of 3

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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