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Displaying items by tag: biodiversity

There’s still time to make submissions in the public consultation on two Pathway Action Plans for the control of invasive species on Ireland’s waterways.

According to the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s Invasives.ie programme, the purpose of Pathway Action Plans (PAPs) is to raise public awareness as well as to set out actions to prevent unintentional introductions by minimising the contamination of goods, commodities, vehicles and equipment by invasive species, and ensuring appropriate checks at EU borders.

Currently two PAPs related to Ireland’s coastal areas and waterways are under development, one for angling and the other for recreational boating and watercraft.

Both plans aim to survey stakeholders on awareness of biosecurity measures, and engage on what actions can be employed to enhance protections against the spread of invasive species here.

In particular, the PAP for angling emphasises the promotion of ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ principles to control the cross-contamination of water sources.

And the PAP for recreational boating calls for boatyards and marinas to invest in the appropriate facilities to contain the runoff from wash-down procedures, especially when removing anti-foul.

Both draft plans can be downloaded from the Invasives.ie website. Comments on the PAPs must be submitted before Tuesday 1 February through the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s dedicated consultation email address at [email protected]

Published in Irish Marinas

Enthusiasts of surfing, sea kayaking and coasteering are being asked to contribute to a project collecting data about Northern Ireland’s marine wildlife.

As the Coleraine Chronicle reports, National Museums NI’s Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) hopes that the North Coast’s surfing community in particular will join the effort to help full the gaps in marine science experts’ knowledge of NI’s coastal ecosystem.

“We are interested in just about every marine species,” says CEDaR marine biodiversity officer Justin Judge, “from the more charismatic animals like minke whales and dolphins, down to seaweed and inter-tidal invertebrates”

The Coleraine Chronicle has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has welcomed the allocation of €185,000 for a project around Lough Sheelin by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) Farm and Community Biodiversity Initiative.

The State agency responsible for the protection, management, development and improvement of Ireland’s inland fisheries applied for funding to enhance biodiversity on seven rivers in the Lough Sheelin catchment area in counties Cavan and Meath.

Working in partnership with farmers and landowners along the rivers, IFI will begin works later this year that will help protect river banks from erosion by livestock, reduce water pollution and enhance biodiversity by pruning vegetation and trees in selected areas to allow more natural light to enter the river channel.

Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development, explains: “When cattle enter a river to drink, they can damage the banks of the river, causing materials, such as sediment to enter the river. This can reduce the overall water quality in the river which will negatively impact the fish and their habitats.

“Thanks to funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, we can provide alternative sources of drinking water for livestock through ‘cattle drinkers,’ and we can install fencing which is set back from the river’s edge. This will mean that erosion and water quality issues in the Lough Sheelin Catchment area can be prevented and biodiversity can be enhanced.”

IFI is planning to install over 50 cattle drinkers and 5km of livestock fencing along the seven rivers at Finaway, Maghera, Drumone, Halfcarton, Pound, Mountnugent and Kildorrough.

The agency anticipates that these works will lead to the growth of vegetation on river banks, which would become a natural habitat for wildlife and could act as a buffer to prevent polluted water from the land entering the rivers.

In the longer term, IFI plans to carry out significant river habitat enhancement works as part of a five-year development plan, working closely with the Lough Sheelin Trout Preservation Association (LSTPA).

The Farm and Community Biodiversity Initiative works will be completed within the next 12 months. Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, recently announced that IFI was successful in its application for €184,698 as part of an open call.

The ‘Riparian zone enhancement – Lough Sheelin Catchment project’ is an EIP being administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland. The project is funded by the EU Recovery Instrument Funding under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2022.

Published in Angling

Offshore renewables must not be pursued at the cost of Ireland’s biodiversity, an Oireachtas committee has been told.

According to The Irish Times, members of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change heard statements from various environmental and conservation groups who explained how Ireland’s waters and coastal areas are under threat from the effects of climate change as well as pollution and invasive species.

Ellen MacMahon of the Sustainable Water Network noted the important role of wind energy in decarbonising the Irish economy.

But she added that “marine protected areas are often overlooked in the role they can play in addressing the twin climate and biodiversity emergencies”.

Her comments were echoed by Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who said offshore wind farms “cannot be considered in isolation” from their immediate environments and urged that such green energy projects are “not at further cost to Ireland’s already depleted marine habitats and species”.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Environment

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
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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
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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

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