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Latest Environment Stories
IWDG Confirms 175 Sightings in June
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has validated 175 sighting records for June 2011. The most commonly recorded species were bottlenose dolphins, accounting for 28 per cent  of all sightings, followed by harbour porpoise (25%), minke whales (13.6%), common…
Student On the Seas for Whale and Dolphin Survey
Marine Wildlife
A mature student from the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology is taking part in the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's Ship Surveys Programme. Irish Weather Online reports that Enda McKeogh is on board the Marine Institute's research vessel Celtic Explorer…
A Day in the Life of a West Cork Whale Watcher
Coastal Notes
Today's Irish Times recounts a day in the life of whale watch operator Nic Slocum. Originally from the UK, Slocum traded tiring commutes to London for the peaceful life of sailing in west Cork 10 years ago, and shortly after…
Waterford: Where Tallships and Science Meet
Marine Science
Amongst the festival tallships lining Waterford quays, the RV Keary, a marine research survey vessel that mapped the estuary in advance of the tall ships arrival, will too be open to the public, writes Jehan Ashmore. Work to map the…
Prices Drop On Private Islands
Island News
It's never been easier to own your own private island, with some going for less than €200,000, according to The Irish Times. http://www.afloat.ie/resources/island-news/ Cork-based estate agent Dominic Daly currently has islands on his books in west Cork, Donegal and the…
Scientists Tracking Seabirds by GPS
Marine Wildlife
A new EU-funded project is tracking the movements of seabirds along the Atlantic coastlines of Ireland, the UK, France, Spain and Portugal. The Future of the Atlantic Marine Environment (FAME) project aims to pinpoint areas that are important for Europe's…
Schoolkids Urge Stormont to Save NI's Coastline
Coastal Notes
Hundreds of schoolchildren protested at Stormont last week to call for new laws to protect Northern Ireland's coastal waters, the Belfast Telegraph reports. The group handed a petition with 4,000 signatures to Environment Minister Alex Attwood urging the introduction of…
Seal Sanctuary Pulls Out of Courtown
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) is leaving Courtown after being unable to reach agreement on the lease for its premises. Founder and co-director Brendan Price told The Irish Times last Monday that the group had been "locked out" of its…
More Whales Spotted in Irish Waters
Marine Wildlife
Killer whales and a humpback whale have been spotted off the coast of Northern Ireland in recent weeks, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Irish Weather Online quotes the IWDG's Pádraig Whooley, who said three killer whales…
Watch Out for Dolphins in Dublin Bay!
Marine Wildlife
Racers in Dalkey and Killiney Bay have been enjoying the sight of three bottlenose dolphins who have taken up residence in the area. The trio has attracted much attention in recent weeks due to their playful antics, but the…
Ireland's Bathing Spots Among Cleanest in Europe
Coastal Notes
Ireland has ranked fifth in a new Europe-wide report on bathing water quality - but some beaches in Northern Ireland are falling short of strict EU standards. MEP Jim Higgins welcomed the results of the annual Bathing Water Report for…
Ferry Operator Assists in Marine-Life Conservation Role
Marine Science
Fastnet Line which runs the Cork-Swansea port route on the Celtic Sea, is assisting the charity MarineLife to monitor cetaceans, writes Jehan Ashmore. The work of MarineLife is to survey the population trends and track the movements of dolphins, whales,…
GardaI Investigate U-boat Looting in Cork
Coastal Notes
Cork gardaí are investigating the looting of items from a First World War U-boat recently discovered off Roches Point. The Irish Times reports that the submarine also appears to have been damaged by the illegal salvagers. A spokesperson for the…
New Mammal Detection Sonar System for Sea Turbines
Power From the Sea
The latest product from sonar technology company Tritech is a mammal detection system for use around underwater turbines. According to the manufacturers, the Gemini SeaTec system uses a multi-beam sonar and image detection software to provide real-time monitoring and warning…
Panic at the Forty Foot: Jellyfish Increase a 'Bad Sign' for Ireland's Waters
Marine Wildlife
Michael Viney writes in The Irish Times on growing concerns over lion's mane jellyfish and other harmful species in Irish waters. The lion's mane is among the largest jellies found in Ireland and comes with a powerful sting, enough to…
Fears for Pilot Whale Pod Headed for Ireland
Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is on alert a pod of pilot whales that narrowly avoided a mass stranding in Scotland heads south towards Ireland. http://www.afloat.ie/port-news/marine-wildlife/item/15720-pilot-whales-avoid-mass-stranding-in-scotland/ The situation has prompted fears of a repeat of last year's tragic…

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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