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Latest Environment Stories
Lophelia pertusa colonising a World War I cargo vessel wreck at 160m, as seen from the ROV Étáin
Shipwrecks off the Irish coast are acting as artificial reefs for corals usually found much deeper in the Atlantic. That’s according to NUI Galway ocean scientist Anthony Grehan, who told the Irish Examiner about his recent surprising find at the…
A Cuvier’s beaked whale surfacing in the Mediterranean, another region where they are considered vulnerable due to sonar activity
#MarineWildlife - Spanish researchers have identified a link between a ban on the use of sonar in waters around the Canary Islands 15 years ago and a reduction in whale strandings in the same region. The Independent reports on the…
Minister of State Andrew Doyle launching the new locally led Blue Flag recovery scheme in Duncannon
#CoastalNotes - A new locally led scheme for the recovery and long-term retention of Duncannon Beach’s Blue Flag status has been launched in Co Wexford. The Duncannon Blue Flag Farming and Communities Scheme is a European Innovation Project (EIP) funded…
Liadh Ní Riada MEP and Councillor Paul Hayes meeting with fishermen in Castletownbere for the launch of The Charter for Fishers, Coastal Communities and the Island
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on all political parties to unite behind a series of broad principles designed to protect our fishing industry, coastal communities and islands. The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries…
Investigation Into Human Remains Found By Fishing Vessel Off Cork Coast
Gardaí in Cork have launched an investigation after human remains were recovered by the crew of a fishing vessel 180 nautical miles off Castletownbere in Co Cork at the weekend. TheJournal.ie reports that the vessel docked in Castletownbere on Sunday…
The state of the art facilities at Lir include four wave tanks that can replicate real ocean conditions and enable testing of various marine innovations
Ireland’s ocean energy test facility, Lir, was officially opened today in Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cork TD Simon Coveney. Located in the €20 million UCC Environmental Research Institute (ERI) Beaufort building, Lir – the…
Landing craft James with vehicle ramp lowered onto Killiney Beach, Co. Dublin and where heavy machinery transfers rock armour to Shanganagh Cliff (as seen behind) and the backdrop of the Little Sugarloaf, Co. Wicklow.
#coastal - Works to protect cliffs along Killiney Bay, in south Co. Dublin, from coastal erosion, have stepped up in recent weeks as sea born rock armour from neighbouring Co. Wicklow is been delivered onto the beach, writes Jehan Ashmore.…
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Michael Creed TD (centre) along with Dr. Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute CEO and representatives of 12 Irish companies in the marine sector that will receive investment funding totalling €2.4 million over 3 years.  The twelve grants of up to €200,000 each are being provided to companies and company-led consortia with universities to  support novel research and the development of new technologies in key growth areas such as marine engineering, renewable energy and the blue bio-economy
Twelve marine SMEs are to benefit from funding provided for the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy (2017-2021). The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Michael Creed TD has announced that the Marine Institute is to provide twelve marine businesses…
Awards For Marine-Related Projects Among 2019 BT Young Scientists
Marine science-related projects were among those awarded at the 2019 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in Dublin yesterday (Friday 11 January). Rachel Cotter and Jack Mullen, pupils of Coláiste Muire in Crosshaven, Co Cork, placed second in the intermediate…
Public Lecture On Marine Litter Tonight In Galway
‘Marine litter: are there solutions to this global environmental challenge?’ is the title of a free public lecture at 7pm tonight (Thursday 10 January) in the main concourse of GMIT’s main Galway campus. Prof Richard Thompson from the School of…
The Betelgeuse caught fire and exploded in Bantry Bay on 8 January 1979
#Coastal - People in their hundreds have attended a memorial service in Bantry, west Cork, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Whiddy Oil disaster in which 50 people died. As RTE reports, the French-owned oil tanker the Betelgeuse caught…
John Killeen Reappointed as Chairperson of The Marine Institute
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D., has re-appointed Dr. John Killeen as Chairperson of the Marine Institute for a five-year term with effect from January 8th 2019. Dr Killeen was originally appointed for a five…
One of the new signs in place at Whitestrand at Miltown Malbay in West Clare
Permanent signage now in place at Spanish Point and Whitestrand Miltown Malbay beaches in west Clare hopes to rid the beaches of the scourge of plastic litter. The signs (not made of plastic) ask beachgoers to take away three pieces…
A Cuvier’s beaked whale surfacing in the Mediterranean in July 2016. The deep-ocean species is rarely spotted in the wild but record numbers were stranded on beaches between north-west Ireland and western Scotland last year
#MarineWildlife - New research as ruled out viral outbreak as a cause of mass strandings of deep-ocean beaked whales and others in Scottish and Irish waters last year. As Scotland’s The Herald reports, tissue samples collected from tests on 26…
The whale carcass seen floating belly-up around 53 nautical miles off the Wexford coast by the LÉ Samuel Beckett on Friday 28 December
#MarineWildlife - Naval Service personnel on patrol with the LÉ Samuel Beckett encountered the carcass of a large whale some 50 nautical miles south-east of Ballycotton Lighthouse in the days after Christmas. The “mystery whale” is neither a sighting (which…
The snake found by a member of Youghal Coast Guard last Thursday 3 January
A reptile feared to be a venomous turtle-headed sea snake was found on a beach on the East Cork coast on Thursday 3 January, as the Irish Examiner reports. However, minds were put at ease when the dead snake spotted…

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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