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Marine Environment, Science, wildlife, weather & Ocean energy
Green Rebel Marine founder Pearse FlynnGreen Rebel Marine founder Pearse Flynn
Green Rebel Marine in Cork Harbour has acquired a majority stake in Limerick-based marine data firm IDS-Monitoring. The deal involves an investment of close to €7 million and will result in the creation of 30 jobs over the next two…
Residents and staff of Áras Rónáin Community Nursing Unit on the largest Aran island of Inis Mór opted to rise to the occasion and mark a “difficult year”, having received their Covid-19 vaccinations
Senior citizens living offshore on the Aran islands have marked St Patrick’s Day with a Jerusalema dance challenge video. Residents and staff of Áras Rónáin Community Nursing Unit on the largest Aran island of Inis Mór opted to rise to…
Irish Whale & Dolphin Group to Provide Marine Mammal Observer on Upcoming Fisheries Surveys
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) won the tender to provide a marine mammal observer on three fisheries acoustic surveys with the Marine Institute this year. These include a survey for blue whiting this month, the Western European Shelf…
The exhausted Arctic walrus sighted at Valentia Island on Sunday 14 March
Some lucky passers-by were treated to the extraordinary sight of an Arctic walrus on rocks at Valentia Island in Co Kerry yesterday, Sunday 14 March. Video of the marine wildlife — which resembles a large seal but for its obvious…
WIORA racing at the Aran Islands first ever staging of the championships in 2017
The 2023 West of Ireland Offshore Racing (WIORA) Championships will be sailed at Kilronan Harbour on Inismor, following a vote at the WIORA AGM last week. Galway Bay Sailing Club with Cuman Seoltoireacht Kilronan as well as Foynes Yacht Club…
The blue crab found on Dollymount Strand on 15 February
Beach walkers have been urged to keep a lookout for invasive blue crab after a recent sighting in Dublin Bay. As the Irish Examiner reports, the National Biodiversity Day Centre says a specimen was found on Dollymount Strand on 15…
File image of the Dursey Island cable car
RTÉ News reports on West Cork farmers’ dismay at the decision to reduce the operating hours of the cable car link to Dursey Island where they graze their livestock. The winter schedule, which sees the service shut down at 4.30pm…
VIRTUAL VOYAGER: An 'online' view taken from RV Celtic Voyager's wheelhouse with below marine biology students ashore! taking in the 'live-streaming' from tutors while in Dublin Bay.
RV Celtic Voyager of the Marine Institute, Ireland's national agency for marine research, development and innovation, has been working in south Dublin Bay this week, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 31.4m ship to be replaced next year by a Spanish newbuild, to…
Lambs’ Remains Found Dumped in Important River for Freshwater Mussels
Kerry County Council has launched an investigation after the remains of a number of dead lambs were found dumped in the River Blackwater, as RTÉ News reports. Around eight lamb carcasses were found in the river close to the R568…
The ORPC RivGen® Power System floating on the Kvichak River in Igiugig, Alaska ahead of installation in August 2019. A second turbine system for this generator is now also being built by EireComposites in Galway, supported by SEAI.
An Irish renewable energy consortium that has built the world’s strongest tidal blade has teamed up with an Alaskan community to provide 100 per cent of its electricity needs from its local river. As Times.ie reports today, technologists based at…
A common dolphin carcass classed as ‘very fresh’ recorded at Castlegregory, Co Kerry on 6 February
Whale and dolphin strandings in Ireland for the first two months of 2021 have reached their highest peak yet with 93 records, as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports. The bulk of these marine wildlife findings were common dolphins,…
Humpback whales at the Deep Hole off West Cork in June 2020
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says it welcomes the new public consultation on expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Areas. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Government is aiming to have 30% of Ireland’s maritime area designated as Marine Protected…
Mussel culture
The latest research has shown that the impacts of climate change are already evident in Irish marine waters, with the patterns of harmful algal blooms changing in recent decades. The research, undertaken by the Marine Institute, also indicates that the…
The Old Head of Kinsale Napoleonic Tower and Memorial Garden in the foreground
The community group at the renowned South Coast landmark, the Old Head of Kinsale, plans to build a major, new Lusitania Museum to replace the present small museum at the site, where they have also constructed a memorial garden. The…
Fungie as seen in 2019 in Dingle Bay
A video circulating online of a dolphin frolicking in Galway Bay is “extremely unlikely” to be the missing bottlenose Fungie, as the Irish Examiner reports. The footage sparked hopes that Dingle’s famous long-term marine wildlife resident had reappeared nearly five…
Having wintered in Ireland the pale-bellied Brent Geese leave Ireland and head north again in March and April
The light-bellied brent goose that made a welcome return to Dublin Bay in October is already planning the return journey to breeding grounds in Canada after spending the winter in Ireland. Over the last few months, you may have spotted the…

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.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”

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