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Marine Environment, Science, wildlife, weather & Ocean energy
Wind energy turbine as seen from below
Mac Lir Offshore Wind Limited (MLOWL) is undertaking a geophysical reconnaissance survey within an area of survey off the coast of counties Wicklow and Wexford for a proposed offshore wind energy project. The survey was expected to commence Sunday 12…
Aerial view of Clare Island Lighthouse and grounds
Clare Island’s lighthouse is a “distinctive nautical landmark” on Ireland’s West Coast and it could be yours — for €4.8 million. Highlighting its scenic views to the land of Oscar-nominated film The Banshees of Inisherin, Christie’s International Real Estate touts…
The 48ft 1968-built classic Carina (Rives Potts NYYC) on her way to a class win in the 2011 Fastnet Race. She was designed by Jim McCurdy, whose family have connections to Rathlin Island at the other end of Ireland
You could over-analyse the many attractions of a round Ireland cruise. Apart from being a romantic yet manageable act of homage to our island home, it appeals equally to the adventurous - in that you are always outward bound –…
Fishing organisations say they need to be afforded equality and respect to represent the views of their sector
The country’s major fishing organisations have called on the Oireachtas Committee dealing with the development of Marine Protected Areas to listen to them as it has to environmental organisations. The country’s major fishing representative organisations have claimed that the Committee’s…
Waterford City & County Council logo
Waterford’s local authority has removed a long-abandoned trawler that had become a magnet for fly-tipping and vermin at a scenic pier, as the Irish Examiner reports. The fishing vessel was once part of a fleet of ‘50-footers’ promoted by Bord…
Ireland’s journey towards maximising our offshore wind energy capacity is being accelerated
The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, has welcomed Cabinet approval for plans to accelerate the delivery of 5GW of offshore wind by 2030.  The Policy Statement on the Framework for Phase Two Offshore Wind will…
Ensuring a sustainable future for our ocean is one of the great missions of the next decade
After more than a decade of negotiations, the countries of the United Nations have agreed the first-ever treaty to protect the world's oceans that lie outside national boundaries. The UN High Seas Treaty places 30% of the world's oceans into…
Angelsharks are now a critically endangered species in Irish waters
Fiddle-fish, Banjofish and Devilfish are all names given to a species of shark native to Ireland which is now as endangered as the Giant panda or Bengal tiger. The Angelshark once lived in abundance on sandy and muddy seabed areas…
A new United Nations agreement on global ocean conservation has been welcomed
A new UN agreement on global ocean conservation has been welcomed as a “landmark” deal by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin. Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State for Heritage and…
The Marine Institute’s research vessel Celtic Explorer
MERC Environmental Consultants Ltd and the Marine Institute are undertaking site investigation survey works at the Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site in Co Mayo. The surveys are expected to be completed over a three-day period during the nearest available weather…
UN Headquarters in New York
After more than 20 years, United Nations members have agreed on a new framework to protect marine life in international waters, as The Journal reports. The historic treaty was reached late on Saturday night (4 March) at the UN Headquarters…
Caroline Bocquel is the new Chief Executive Officer of Bord Iascaigh Mhara
BIM’s new chief executive Caroline Bocquel has warned the offshore renewable energy (ORE) sector that it must improve its communication with the Irish fishing industry. She has also told offshore wind developers that there should be “minimal impact” on the…
Baltimore all-weather lifeboat provided a medical evacuation from Cape Clear Island
Baltimore RNLI lifeboat was called out to provide a medical evacuation earlier this morning from Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork. The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 8.30 am, following a request from the…
Reaching more than 2.5 metres in length, the Flapper Skate (Dipturus intermedius) is one of the largest skate species in the world. Due to overexploitation in fisheries and habitat degradation, the Fapper Skate has been in decline for decades
Protection and management of the endangered skate is the focus of a conference in Galway this week involving international specialists. The Flapper Skate and Blue Skate are at risk and have been prohibited from commercial fishing for almost 15 years,…
Attending the SeaMonitor-STRAITS Conference at Derry’s Guildhall, from left: Ross McGill, principal project officer of SeaMonitor Project, Loughs Agency; Dr Joanne O’Brien, Atlantic Technological University; Dr Niall Ó Maoiléidigh, Marine Institute; Dr Fred Whoriskey, Ocean Tracking Network; Dr Colin Adams, University of Glasgow; Sharon McMahon, CEO of the Loughs Agency; Dr Oliver Ó Cadhla, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage Ireland; Andrew King, Special EU Programmes Body; Colin Armstrong, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs; and Dr Jonathan Houghton, Queens University Belfast
The Loughs Agency welcomed an international delegation of almost 100 marine scientists, academics and political representatives to Derry for the much-anticipated SeaMonitor-STRAITS Conference, which took place at the city’s Guildhall on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 February. The two-day event,…
A river in an Irish forest
Freshwater lakes, rivers and their aquatic communities are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to water abstractions and the impact of climate change. That is according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) who issued a call this week to encourage future development planning…

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

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!


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 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.”