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Latest Environment Stories
Foreshore Lease Approved For Galway Bay Marine Energy Test Site
#GalwayBay - In a major boost for the marine energy sector, the Government has approved a 35-year foreshore lease for an upgraded test site in Galway Bay off Spiddal. Galway Bay FM reports on yesterday’s (Tuesday 19 December) announcement that…
Returning to Galway will be all the fun and action of SeaFest from 29th June to 1st July 2018
#Seafest2018 - Returning to Galway in 2018 will be Seafest, Ireland's biggest and most spectacular maritime festival. For three days SeaFest 2018 take place from from 29th June to 1st July – a weekend of fun, family friendly events not…
Several events were held in Waterford to mark the centenary of a shipping disaster in 1917, among them along the city quays as pictured above.
#WW1ceremony - The relatives of two men who died when two merchant ships were torpedoed by a German submarine in December 1917 have spoken of their pride at seeing their family members remembered at a ceremony in Waterford. As The…
Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Galway
#MarineScience - The Marine Institute awarded €108,000 in grant-aid funding to 94 recipients in 2017 under its Networking & Travel Awards. This scheme, funded under the Marine Research Programme with the support of the Government, makes awards to provide assistance…
Plastic & Nitrates Concerns For Irish Shores In Latest Coastwatch Survey
#CoastalNotes - Plastic continues to litter Ireland’s coastline, with over 8,800 drinks bottles recorded around the island’s shores in the 2017 Coastwatch survey. Preliminary results from the volunteer survey conducted in September and October show that more than four-fifths of…
Ireland has sovereign rights over one of the largest marine areas in Europe
The steps towards delivering a planning system for the seas around Ireland has been set–out by Government this week.  Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy and Minister Damien English published the 'roadmap' on Wednesday. 'Towards a Marine Spatial…
Speakers at yesterday’s information session on what Horizon 2020 and blue growth mean for Ireland’s marine and maritime sector
#Horizon2020 - This week’s information day on Horizon 2020 as a key investment driver for the marine sector highlighted the importance of ‘blue growth’ as an important opportunity for marine research in Ireland. Since 2014, 27 Irish marine participating organisations…
The Government has given approval for a large-scale kelp harvesting project in Bantry Bay despite strong opposition from local residents. The above image is a scene across Bantry Bay to Caha Mountains from Goat's Pass.
#BantryBay - A final approval from the Government has been given for a contentious large-scale kelp harvesting project in Bantry Bay despite strong opposition from local residents. As the Green News.ie writes the license granted to Tralee-based biotechnology company BioAtlantis covers…
Doughmore beach seen beyond the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg
#Doonbeg - Irish surfers have reiterated their concerns over proposed coastal defence works at US President Donald Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg. TheJournal.ie reports that submissions from surfing groups are among dozens from environmental groups and some local residents to…
Training For Achill Islanders In Seal Rescue Protocol
#MarineWildlife - Islanders’ attempts to rescue a seal pup stranded on Achill in Co Mayo recently were sadly not successful. But the incident has galvanised a local group set up amid growing concerns over marine wildlife strandings, who will train…
Dee Caffari speaking at the Cape Town Ocean Summit on Thursday 7 December
#MarineScience - Millions of tiny particles of plastic have been detected in European waters in groundbreaking scientific research conducted as part of the Volvo Ocean Race. Using data collected by Turn the Tide on Plastic, which features Ireland’s own Annalise…
The billboard calls on passing starships from the New Republic to pay a visit to Ireland's shores
#StarWars - Tourism Ireland’s latest ad campaign for the Wild Atlantic Way has gone literally stratospheric, as RTÉ News reports. Skellig Michael is front and centre in what Irish tourism chiefs are calling their ‘first space tourism campaign’, which saw…
Gale Warning For Irish Coastal Waters Ahead Of Storm Caroline’s Passage
#Weather - Met Éireann has issued a Status Yellow gale warning on all Irish coastal waters and on the Irish Sea in effect from 5am this morning (Wednesday 6 December). Gusts of up to 110km/h are expected along all coastal…
Exploris in Portaferry is currently caring for a number of seal pups like this one
#MarineWildlife - Two common seals were released off the North Coast last week after being nursed back to health at the Exploris aquarium in Portaferry. According to The Irish News, the seals named Hans and Albert had been with the…
Are Sea Area Forecasts Necessary?
In this digital age, with so many available resources providing sea area weather forecasts, is there still a need for national radio to broadcast these forecasts? I heard an RTE Radio Presenter asking a Met Eireann meteorologist on-air whether there…
Kish Bank Oil Prospect: Green Party representatives Una Power and Sinead Mercier protesting in the Forty Foot, Sandycove on south Dublin Bay. Dalkey is another coastal suburb where Dublin Bay meets Killiney Bay.
#DublinBayOil - The Dublin Bay suburb of Sandycove writes Dublin Gazette could be affected by offshore oil drilling that would damage local “delicate habitats”, according to local Green Party reps. Una Power, Green Party Representative for Killiney-Shankill is calling on…

For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is Afloat.ie.

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!

Weather

As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and Afloat.ie will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

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