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Latest Environment Stories
Fears for Pilot Whale Pod Headed for Ireland
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…
Pilot Whales Avoid Mass Stranding in Scotland
Rescuers reports that a pod of around 60 pilot whales at risk of beaching in shallow waters off Scotland's Western Isles appear to be out of danger. According to The Guardian, the whale pod alarmed conservationists by swmming into Loch…
St Brendan Voyagers Refused Access to Skellig
The crew of sailors, artists, musicians and historians on board Ar Seachrán - who are retracing the famous voyage of St Brendan - were refused permission to land on Skellig Michael, it has emerged. The Kerryman reports that though some…
Basking Sharks Top Recent Marine Sightings
Basking sharks have dominated recent sightings of large marine wildlife, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). http://www.afloat.ie/port-news/marine-wildlife/ The largest shark species in Irish waters accounted for a whopping 43% of sightings submitted to the IWDG's ISCOPE database…
Rush Hosts Annual Blessing of the Boats
The annual Blessing of the Boats took place recently at Rush Sailing Club, the North County Leader reports. Local priest Fr Kieran Coughlan conducted the ceremony, which took place away from the boats this year due to particularly blustery conditions…
Coastwatch Warns Over Draining of Cork Wetlands
Ballyvergan marsh is under threat after the discovery of an illegal pipe being used to drain the wetlands area, claims Coastwatch. The Irish Times reports that the environmental group has called for immediate action over the draining of the marsh…
'Underwater Kite' a Clean Energy Solution
An 'underwater kite' developed by a Swedish company could be a simple answer to harnessing the power of the sea, The Local reports. The Deep Green device looks like a toy kite with a turbine attached. But when tethered to…
Seaweed Experience in West Cork
Seaweed picking is just one example of many 'green' tourist breaks now available in Ireland, according to The Irish Times. Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa in West Cork offers a two-night 'seaweed experience' for those looking for a more responsible,…
Video of Basking Shark Tagging
Cork-based boat charter firm Whale of a Time has posted video on its YouTube channel of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) tagging a basking shark from its boat Mischief: Apart from whales, basking sharks are the largest…
North Bull Island Springs to Life
Pale bellied Brent Geese, Oystercatchers and pure yellow sand. Island life on one of Dublin's islands is described in detail in the Irish Indepdendent newspaper this weekend and its hard to believe that marine wildlife adventures such as this can…
Basking Sharks Pay Early Visit to Ireland's Waters
The recent warm weather has attracted scores of basking sharks to feed in Irish waters weeks ahead of schedule, Metro reports. http://www.metro.co.uk/news/861530-basking-sharks-lured-to-uk-waters-early-by-warm-weather Video posted on YouTube by mackerel fishermen in Donegal Bay shows one of the sharks - the second…
Police Seek Help from Northern Ireland's Coastal Communities
People who live and work along the Northern Ireland coastline are being invited to help protect their community from crime as part of a national initiative supported by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Project Kraken is a UK-wide campaign…
US Schools Send Mini Sailboats Across The Pond
Mini sailboats could soon be spotted in Irish waters if a US school project goes according to plan. The Bangor Daily News in Maine reports on the Educational Passages programme, through which middle school students will equip miniature sailboats with…
Celtic Mist Offered as Gift to IWDG
The yacht sailed by late former Taoiseach Charles Haughey has been offered as gift to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) as a research vessel. The Irish Times reports that 52ft Celtic Mist had been on sale in the…
Licences Sought for WestWave Energy Project
ESB International is seeking foreshore liecences to develop a new wave energy project on the west coast. The Irish Times reports that the scheme is part of a strategy to generate 150MW of electricy from the sea by 2020, in…
New Oil & Gas Safety Framework to 'Learn Lessons of Gulf'
Ireland's new safety framework for oil and gas extraction and production will be informed by lessons learned after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, The Irish Times reports. A report published last week by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER)…

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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