Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: Climate Change

Earlier today (Monday 14 November), Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform visited the Marine Institute’s headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway.

The minister met with the Marine Institute’s chief executive Dr Paul Connolly as well as Michael Gillooly, director of oceans, climate and information services (OCIS); Dr Glenn Nolan, manager of ocean climate services; Alan Berry, manager of offshore renewable energy and infrastructure services; and Dr Tomasz Dabrowski, team leader in ocean climate services.

Several Office of Public Works (OPW) officials were also part of the visit today, including Robert Mooney (head of planning and climate adaptation), Mark Adamson and Vincent Hussey (flood risk assessment and management).

Minister O’Donovan visited to gain an understanding of the role of the Marine Institute in climate adaptation and particularly how data is collected and used in climate modelling and monitoring, to deal with the impacts of climate change on our coastline.

As part of the visit, the Institute team gave an overview of how the climate modelling and monitoring that it manages is integrated with other parts of the national and international approach to informing the overall climate strategy.

Dr Connolly said: “We are delighted to welcome Minister O’Donovan and colleagues from the Office of Public Works to the Marine Institute to see our facilities and exchange ideas with colleagues from the OPW which contribute to addressing impacts of climate change on our coastline.”

Gillooly added: “Forecasting ocean and climate change is one of the institute’s strategic focus areas. The Marine Institute has a range of observational infrastructures around the Irish marine area continually gathering data on the marine environment.

“Over the years, we have built up significant time-series information and this data is central to developing digital services including operational modelling which inform climate mitigation and adaptation measures in areas such as sea level rise and flooding.”

The Marine Institute’s Oceans, Climate and Information Services Group provides support for national and international marine monitoring, marine mapping, research and development as well as information technology infrastructure and digital service development.

Published in Marine Science

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin are among a team of marine scientists that have used tiger sharks to discover the world’s largest seagrass ecosystem.

According to The Irish Times, the team attached cameras to the sharks who inhabit the enormous network of seagrass meadows in the Bahamas and help maintain its health by controlling numbers of grazing marine wildlife like turtles and manatees.

The video footage provided a never-before-seen look into an ecosystem that’s crucially important for carbon sequestration, among other things, while also helping the scientists to map the area which amounts to as much as 92,000 square kilometres.

The Bahamas have been known for an abundance of seagrass meadows but the full extent was not determined until now | Credit: Beneath the WavesThe Bahamas have been known for an abundance of seagrass meadows but the full extent was not determined until now | Credit: Beneath the Waves

“This is an exciting and important discovery for a range of reasons,” said Nicholas Payne, assistant professor in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences and co-author of the research published in the journal Nature Communications.

“Here in Ireland, we have a huge coastal area that likely supports significant seagrass ecosystems,” he added.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

On a special climate-focused edition of RTÉ’s Prime Time this past week, the news programme put the plight of Ireland’s wild salmon stocks in the spotlight.

Reporter Oonagh Smyth visited the Dawros River in Connemara where salmon runs have allegedly shrunk from as many as 3,000 two decades ago to less than 900 today.

These figures lead to an even worse picture nation-wide, with data showing that only 150,000 wild salmon returned to their spawning grounds in 2019 — a decline of almost 80% on the more than 685,000 salmon recorded in 2000.

Various reasons are behind this alarming fall, with climate change chief among them — forcing salmon to migrate further to find colder waters, and interrupting the food webs that sustain the fish at sea and in our rivers.

But local factors have also been blamed, including the licensing of open-cage salmon aquaculture against which conservation groups and some arms of the State are united in their opposition due to the risks of sea lice infestations.

RTÉ News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) presented this week its ESPO Annual ESPO Environmental Report 2022 - EcoPortInsights.

The ESPO Environmental Report is part of EcoPorts, the environmental flagship initiative of ESPO and this 7th edition of the report is based on data from 92 European ports from 20 European countries, who filled in the EcoPorts Self-Diagnosis Method (SDM) To visit: www.ecoports.com.

The SDM is a free checklist of good practices that provides the database for the report.

The ESPO Environmental Report 2022 contains a number of positive trends amongst key indicators. For the first time since the start of monitoring, climate change has become the top environmental priority of ports. This underscores the value of the Environmental Report reporting on environmental performance of the sector. It provides ESPO and European policymakers with insights on the environmental issues that European ports are facing.

The other Top 10 priorities remain almost the same as for the past years, with air quality and energy efficiency joining climate change in the top three of port priorities.
In 2022, the report finds that ports continue to improve their environmental management, addressing their top priorities to a greater degree than in the past.

A growing share of ports are also getting certified with PERS, the only port-specific environmental standard on the market developed by ports, for ports.

Some key indicators such as environmental training programmes for port employees and monitoring of air quality saw slight downturns compared to last year, and will be followed up by ESPO ahead of next year’s report.

The ESPO Environmental Report strengthens the long-standing efforts of European ports to monitor and address high priority environmental issues, whilst communicating port efforts to key stakeholders.

“Since 2020, the world is going through never before seen crises and Europe’s ports are facing challenges they never had to face before. These challenges come on top of long-term efforts to move towards a more sustainable future in the maritime sector, with ports seeking to do their part in the decarbonisation of Europe. It is reassuring to see that the challenging period we are going through is not holding back ports to continue to engage towards their environmental goals and strategy. I hope this report is also a stimulus for ports to continue on this path,” says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General.

“As the EcoPorts Network celebrates its 25-year anniversary, the 2022 Annual ESPO Environmental Report shows that European ports continue the good work with environmental monitoring and management. The 2022 Report highlights strengths to build on, and issues to address in the years to come. The work continues to make sure that the EcoPorts Network provides ports with essential tools to further engage in greening from the bottom up,” says Valter Selén, EcoPorts Coordinator.

Published in Ports & Shipping

New binding targets for greenhouse gas reductions in shipping are among a range of measures agreed today (Friday 3 June) by EU transport ministers today to reduce emissions in the transport sector in the coming decade.

The new measures, which are to apply to all EU member states, have been negotiated over the last 12 months and agreed under the EU’s “Fit for 55” package: the flagship suite of legislation announced last July to ensure the bloc meets its 2030 climate targets. The EU is aiming for a minimum 55% reduction in GHG emissions compared to 1990 levels.

With this agreement, the stage is set for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final text of these important pieces of legislation.

Welcoming the agreement reached, Ireland’s Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan stressed the importance of the progress made: “This agreement is the result of almost a year of intensive discussions. It is imperative that the EU puts ambitious targets in place if we are to meet our collective goals for the climate.

“Action is urgently needed, not only for road transport but also to realise genuine emission reductions in aviation and shipping. Today’s agreement shows that the EU can be the global leader on climate change.”

Minister Ryan said that while Ireland had pushed for even greater ambition in certain aspects of the maritime and aviation fuel files, the council-agreed texts represent a strong step forward in transitioning towards more sustainable fuels in both sectors.

Published in Ports & Shipping

East Cork, Waterford, Galway and the Shannon Estuary will be the first to bear the brunt of an “alarming and startling” rise in sea levels, a TD has warned.

As the Irish Examiner reports, David Stanton (Cork East) expressed his fears of a “truly frightening” outcome for many coastal communities in the continued absence of a national coastal risk strategy.

“There is no point waiting until the seawater is up to our knees and then saying we should have planned for this 20 years ago,” he said.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

The 2022 EIFAAC Symposium will be hosted by Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications at Randles Hotel in Killarney on 20-21 June.

The rubric for the 31st symposium of the European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission — the first since Dresden, Germany in September 2019 — is ‘Advances in Technology, Stock Assessment and Citizen Science in an Era of Climate Change’.

Four themes have been identified for the symposium relating to inland fish stock assessment, developments in freshwater fish monitoring technologies, assessing the impacts of climate change on freshwater fish and their habitats and the role of citizen science. The fifth theme will focus on the pros and cons of traditional vs recirculation aquaculture systems.

Abstract submission is open for presenters until this Friday 18 February. Notification of acceptance letters all be sent on 25 March and presenting authors will have until 28 March to register. The deadline for submission of manuscripts/presentations is 13 June, one week before the symposium.

For those wishing to attend, early-bird registration is now open at €120 (students €80) until 1 April. Payment made after this date will incur an extra administration charge of €20.

For more details on attending the conference, see the IFI website HERE.

Published in Aquaculture

In Co Wexford, a seven-year-old boy has joined the grassroots effort to conserve vulnerable seagrass beds around Ireland’s coastline.

According to RTÉ News, Shem Berry has lent a helping hand to volunteers who have been clearing an invasive seaweed, Sargassum muticum, which smothers a seagrass meadow at Kilmore Quay.

Seagrass meadows are considered key ‘blue carbon’ habitats, acting as a natural carbon-capture store while also filtering sediments, keeping shorelines stable and providing a safe home for inshore marine wildlife.

“I think it’s important to look after the environment, not only on land, but on the sea,” said Shem.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, environmental NGO Coastwatch has called for seagrass habitats to be specified for protection under the State’s new marine planning legislation.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

Space agencies in Europe and the US have signed a partnership to monitor rising sea levels and temperatures, melting ice, thawing permafrost and other impacts of climate breakdown.

NASA in the US and the European Space Agency (ESA) formalised the partnership this week with a “statement of intent”.

The agreement signed by ESA director-general Josef Aschbacher and NASA administrator Bill Nelson aims to “pave the way to leading a global response to climate change”, the organisations state.

“Climate change is an all-hands-on-deck, global challenge that requires action – now,” Nelson said.

“NASA and ESA are leading the way in space, building an unprecedented strategic partnership in Earth science,” he said.

“ This agreement will set the standard for future international collaboration, providing the information that is so essential for tackling the challenges posed by climate change and helping to answer and address the most pressing questions in Earth science for the benefit of the US, Europe, and the world,” he added.

This is not the first time ESA and NASA have joined forces – both bodies worked together on field campaigns in the Arctic to validate respective missions.

The two agencies also work together and with other partners on the recently launched Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission, a new project to extend the long-term record of sea-level rise.

In May, NASA announced its Earth System Observatory, which will design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes.

This week’s joint statement of intent “complements activities underway for the Earth System Observatory”, they state.

Both ESA and NASA are currently defining a new gravity mission to shed new light on essential processes of the Earth system, such as the water cycle.

This will ‘weigh’ water in its various locations, such as underground and in the oceans, to understand water mass distribution and transport, they explain.

Josef Aschbacher said that “without doubt, space is the best vantage point to measure and monitor climate change, but joining forces is also key to tackling this global issue”.

“Timing is also important, particularly as we look to the COP26 climate conference later this year, where we have the chance to further make space an integral part of the solution when it comes to climate-change mitigation,” he said.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

This month the Marine Institute will launch a funding call for a major programme of marine science research in the area of ‘blue carbon’.

The absorption and storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans and coastal regions has been identified as one of the ways in which marine ecosystems can reduce the impacts of climate change.

Funding of up to €1.6m has been earmarked for the call to support a large-scale research project to run from 2021 to 2026.

Launched in June 2020, Ireland’s Programme for Government recognised the “the enormous blue carbon potential that the ocean has to offer in tackling climate change”.

Collaborative research initiative

The Government tasked the Marine Institute — the State agency responsible for marine research and innovation — with a collaborative research initiative, aimed at investigating the climate-change mitigation potential of blue carbon and working towards creating an inventory that will assist the EU in meeting Ireland’s climate-change objectives.

In order to prepare the ground for such a large-scale research programme, the Marine Institute commissioned a synthesis report to review existing knowledge on blue carbon habitats and their role as carbon sinks in Ireland. This report was published in May 2021.

“Blue carbon refers to carbon which is stored, or sequestered, in the ocean and in vegetated habitats around coastal regions,” explains the report’s lead author Dr Grace Cott, assistant professor at the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science.

“In terms of blue carbon which we can actively manage, what we are really referring to is the vegetation in coastal regions, and that means three main habitats: firstly, mangrove forests — which we don’t have in Ireland and are mostly found in tropical regions — secondly, salt-marsh habitats and finally, seagrass meadows.”

From photosynthesis to sediment trapping

Carbon sequestration — the long-term capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere – can take place through a range of natural processes, from photosynthesis to sediment trapping, where carbon-based sediments from the tide are physically trapped by vegetation.

The Marine Institute report points out that Ireland’s tidally influenced coastal wetlands comprise approximately 160 square kilometres of salt-marsh and seagrass beds. Globally, although these habitats represent a much smaller area than terrestrial forests, their total contribution to long-term carbon storage is comparable to carbon sinks in tropical forests.

According to Dr Cott, salt marshes in Ireland are up to 10 times more efficient than agricultural grasslands at storing carbon on a per area basis. This is mainly due to the lack of microbial decomposition in these wet regions, which inland causes the release of carbon from the soil as carbon dioxide.

Supporting blue carbon into the future

The loss and destruction of vegetated coastal ecosystems threatens their ability to function as long-term carbon sinks, and mismanagement can lead to the release of stored carbon back into the atmosphere, says Dr Cott.

“But there is hope in the management of these resources,” she explains. “Even though researchers need to conduct further research into the matter, we are already becoming aware of certain strategies which can help preserve our blue carbon habitats around the Irish coast.”

These include allowing salt mash habitats to migrate inland, and improving water quality to optimise carbon capture in seagrass beds.

“Looking ahead, I believe that Ireland will need an appropriate management framework, led by Government, to enhance protection of these habitats in relation to carbon sequestration,” Dr Cott adds.

Published in Marine Science
Page 1 of 6

Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020