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Displaying items by tag: biodiversity

A coalition of environmental groups says there are “key marine policy gaps” in the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

“Tangible and binding” actions must be taken to ensure the proposed biodiversity strategy ensures “the long-term health” of oceans, the group of environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) state. 

The group has recommended ten “actions” which it has forwarded to EU “decision-makers”, as in the European Commission, EU member state ministers and members of the European Parliament. 

The joint paper entitled Back to the Source - Saving Europe’s Biodiversity Starts in the Ocean, has been published by groups including BirdLife Europe, BLOOM, ClientEarth, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and the Greenpeace European Unit. 

Groups also involved include the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Mediterranean Association to Save Sea Turtles IFAW, Oceana in Europe, Our Fish, Sciaena, Seas At Risk, The Nature Conservancy, and WDC - Whale and Dolphin Conservation, 

The paper calls for existing enabling legislation to be implemented, noting the EU Birds and Habitats Directives require that marine protected areas (MPAs) be created and managed.

Under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, EU member states have a duty to ensure their seas are in “good environmental status” by 2020, it points out, while the Common Fisheries Policy is meant to follow an “ecosystem-based approach”,

The Deep-Sea Fisheries Regulation provides extra protection for vulnerable deep-sea marine ecosystems, while the Aarhus Convention provides for EU citizens to participate in environmental decisions that affect them.

Enforcement action to ensure these pieces of legislation are implemented in all member states “needs to be dramatically ramped up”, it says.

The paper also recommends developing an EU action plan to protect marine ecosystems and fisheries resources by including “precautionary buffers for climate change when setting fishing limits” 

It calls for a “clear and transparent set of environmental and social criteria for allocation of fishing quotas”, along with a “drastic improvement in the control of fishing activities, including a transition to mandatory remote electronic monitoring systems (REM) for all fleets”.

It calls for a focus on “robust long-term monitoring of sensitive species” and “application of measures to prevent and mitigate bycatch of sensitive species”.

It also calls for an end to what it describes as “destructive” practises including bottom trawling in all EU MPAs.

The group recommends ending other destructive practices such as hydrocarbon exploration in MPAs, and ensuring “at least 30% of EU oceans fully or highly protected, as recommended by science in the next decade;

It also recommends making a plan to restore EU marine biodiversity, by setting a restoration target of at least 15% of EU seas, and focusing on “those ecosystems with the most potential to capture and store carbon”

It calls for an end to “harmful subsidies” in the fishing sector, and says it has estimated that in 2018, the EU “handed out over two billion dollars in capacity-enhancing subsidies”.

Many of these subsidies go to “suppliers and vessel owners” while the income of fishing crews does not increase, it points out.

It says there should be a “coherence between EU commitments and its subsidies policies for the fishing sector”, such as the new European and Maritime Fisheries Fund and revised State Aid Guidelines 

It also calls for more “urgent and stringent measures” on noise pollution, stating that sudden noise sources include explosions, seismic airguns, pile driving and military exercises using sonar have a negative impact on marine life.

Sustainable fisheries partnership agreements for EU vessels fishing in distant waters should also be reviewed, it says so they “do not contribute to overfishing” and “do not negatively impact the economic activities of local coastal communities and artisanal fleets” 

It calls for work to “achieve a moratorium on deep-sea mining, including at the International Seabed Authority”, and the cessation of funding for the development of deep-sea mining technology.

The publication is available here

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

The Irish Wildlife Trust has welcomed this week’s Budget announcements of new funding to address biodiversity issues.

These include a move to more than double the allocation to the previously “defunded and neglected” National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) from €13 million to €29 million.

“It is vital that this extra money is spent on actual conservation measures and not diverted to tourism infrastructure in national parks and nature reserves, which we have seen before,” the trust said.

According to the trust’s campaigns officer Pádraic Fogarty, there has been “a focus on biodiversity in this year’s Budget which we have never seen before”.

He added: “This can only help in bringing an end to the relentless downwards trajectory which we have witnessed in biodiversity in Ireland.

“We expect this will be the start of a longer-term recovery that includes the vital review of the NPWS, a new forestry programme, the ending of overfishing and the creation of marine protected areas as well as an agri-food strategy that is fit to deal with the climate and biodiversity crises.

“All of these have been promised by the new Government and are all essential in delivering the system-wide changes needed.”

Published in Budget

A new review of the state of the seas off Northern Ireland and the UK reveals a ‘mixed picture’ in terms of biodiversity, as BBC News reports.

While the UK Government’s marine strategy assessment had good things to say about reduced contaminants in seawater and seafood caught around UK shores, marine litter remains a problem, as does the impact of climate change.

It also noted that seabird populations are particularly at risk, and that more studies were needed to evaluate the health of the likes of whales and dolphins.

“Fifty per cent of biodiversity in Northern Ireland is actually below the sea,” said scientific officer Helen Hanratty who helped put the report together.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Biodiversity - The Irish Wildlife Trust and Dublin Port Company today (Thursday 25 October) launched the Together for Biodiversity Awards with the Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan.

The awards are being run by the Irish Wildlife Trust, as part of the National Biodiversity Conference next February, and supported by Dublin Port Company.

This is the first Irish awards programme of its kind dedicated solely to recognising and funding biodiversity champions in our society.

The Irish Wildlife Trust is now calling on community groups, schools, farmers and individuals to enter the Together for Biodiversity Awards, have their work recognised and be in with the chance to win funding for future biodiversity projects.

The Together for Biodiversity Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work carried out by communities across Ireland to protect our natural environment.

Individuals and communities all over Ireland are doing their bit to help save biodiversity through local projects.

Have you or your community been involved in a project to help protect local wildlife or habitats this year? Perhaps you planted a school wildlife garden, made your village more pollinator0friendly or helped protect a local wetland.

If so, all you have to do to enter is tell all about the work you carried out and how it helped your local biodiversity.

There are categories for community groups, farmers, schools and individual biodiversity champions. Finalists from each category will be invited to the National Biodiversity Conference to highlight their work. Winners will be announced at the conference with a prize of €2,000 for each category winner.

Minister Madigan said: “The Together for Biodiversity Awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the wealth of work being done at local level to protect wildlife and create and restore habitats across Ireland.”

Kieran Flood, co-ordinator with the Irish Wildlife Trust, added: “It is only with the help of local biodiversity champions that will we have a chance of halting biodiversity loss in Ireland, so we are delighted to be celebrating their efforts through the Together for Biodiversity Awards.”

Eamonn O’Reilly of the Dublin Port Company said it is delighted to sponsor the Together for Biodiversity Awards.

“The port is not only a hive of activity for ships, containers and cranes, but also home to an array of birds, marine life, flora and fauna that form part of the Dublin Bay biosphere.

“We are committed to working with a range of organisations and conservationists to better understand and protect our natural environment, and we know that there are countless groups and individuals with the same ambition.

“The awards will shine a light on those doing brilliant work to protect biodiversity right around the country and help support future projects too,” O’Reilly said.

The Together for Biodiversity Awards are part of the National Biodiversity Conference, which takes place at Dublin Castle on 20-21 February 2019 and is being organised by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Irish Forum on Natural Capital.

For more details on how to enter the awards visit iwt.ie/biodiversity-awards

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Biodiversity - Whale watches at Cloghna Head and Loop Head cap off a packed lineup of events for National Biodiversity Week, which began this past weekend.

The nine-day initiative aims to connect people with the natural world and communicate the importance of playing our part in protecting Ireland’s biodiversity — from bat boxes to beekeeping and much more.

Among its own series of events for the week, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) will be hosting whale watches at Cloghna Head in Co Cork on Saturday 26 May, and Loop Head in Co Clare on Sunday 27 May.

Other marine wildlife related events include a celebration of Lough Foyle’s biodiversity lunchtime today (Tuesday 22 May) at Moville Town Library.

Also happening today is an event hosted by the Dublin Civic Trust on the River Liffey as an important wildlife habitat in the heart of the capital.

See the full list of events on the National Biodiversity Week website HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Whether you’re cruising around the coast or staying put on dry land, there’s much to see and explore during National Biodiversity Week, which kicked off yesterday (Friday 19 May) and continues till next weekend.

Among the 50 free events nationwide are two whale watches hosted by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), today (Saturday 20 May) at Cloghna Head in Co Cork and next Sunday (28 May) at Loop Head in Co Clare.

The IWDG is also holding talks on Ireland’s cetaceans — no doubt with reports from the latest Celtic Mist cruise — in Fenit, Co Kerry (on Sunday 21 May) and Kilrush, Co Clare (Saturday 27 May), the latter of which will discuss the unique population of Shannon dolphins.

Next Saturday also sees Galway Bay seashore walks at Grattan Shore in Salthill, in association with Galway Atlantaquaria, to explore the area’s marine wildlife.

Coast Monkey lists its top picks from the week’s activities, including a nature walk on Inch Beach tomorrow (Sunday 21 May), rock pool exploration at Hook Head Lighthouse (Sunday 28 May) and a biodiversity walk at the Wicklow Murrough (Friday 26 May) led by marine biologist Karin Dubsky.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#Biodiversity - Climate change is putting increasing pressure on natural habitats for Irish wildlife, particularly where biodiversity is affected by human action.

That's the conclusion of the first National Biodiversity Indicators report, which sought to measure changes affecting marine wildlife and inland species alike in terms of temperature, rainfall and other factors, as The Irish Times reports.

Dr Tomás Murray, an ecologist with the National Biodiversity Data Centre who co-ordinated the report with Deirdre Lynn of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, shared his alarm that only five per cent of Ireland's known species have been assessed for their conservation status.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Biodiversity - Coastwatch volunteers taking part in events for National Biodiversity Week have discovered a massive honeycomb reef as much as a kilometre long in the Waterford Estuary.

Members of the public began checking the shore between Hook Head in Co Wexford and Annestown in Co Waterford on Monday 18 May, an area that has previously shown signs of honeycomb reefs.

But volunteers were astounded to make this latest massive discovery, and Coastwatch members are working to ascertain if it might be the biggest reef of its kind in the world, a record currently held by Saint-Malo in Brittany.

Karen Dubsky of Coastwatch Europe said "first results look very encouraging. We are looking for more surveyors to give an hour and search their shore."

Events continue till Monday 1 June for Ireland's National Biodiversity Week 2015, with today (Friday 22 May) being International Day for Biological Diversity.

Upcoming flagship events include a marine wildlife-watching trip to Lambay Island next Wednesday 27 May, but the event calendar lists a whole host of activities both around the coast and inland throughout the country.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland is inviting submissions from all interested parties, groups and individuals before commencing the development of a Heritage & Biodiversity Plan for the waterways under its care.

The cross-border agency for Ireland's inland waterways is particularly seeking input into the issues and/or projects that should be addressed.

Beginning tomorrow Monday 20 October and running till 12 January 2015, interested stakeholders can complete an online survey (or submit by email or post) to gauge waterways users' vision for the natural and cultural heritage of our rivers, lakes and canals.

Future consultations will seek input on Waterways Ireland's proposed Disability Action Plan, new Lough Erne bye-laws, and Environmental and Heritage Policy going forward. For more see the Waterways Ireland website HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#MarineWildlife - The Northern Ireland Environment Minister says the new Marine Bill put before Stormont marks a "turning point" for the North.

As 4NI reports, this week saw the fourth stage of the Marine Bill in the NI Assembly as well as the launch of a consultation strategy for Marine Protection Areas (MPAs).

Should it be enacted in legislation, the Marine Bill - strongly supported by the RSPB among others - would give the Assembly powers to select and manage Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to safeguard the North's marine biodiversity.

Minister Alex Attwood commented: "Northern Ireland’s seas are home to some of the world's most spectacular wildlife and habitats, and have the potential to power our nation through wind and wave and create thousands of new jobs.

"We have reached a turning point and must modernise in order to meet increasing and competing demands on our seas."

The Marine Bill also provides for the creation of a National Maritime Plan which covers all aspects of the marine environment from wildlife to investment in tidal and offshore wind power.

4NI has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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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