Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: marine wildlife

An Irish short film featuring communities who make a living from the sea is set to reach global audiences tonight (Tuesday, February 7th). Fair Seas: The Kingdom of Kerry has been selected for inclusion at the Festival of Ocean Films 2023 in Vancouver, Canada.

The festival returns after a two-year pause and celebrates people’s connection to the ocean. It aims to inspire conversation and conservation by featuring beautiful films from Canada and across the world.

The Festival of Ocean Films 2023 got underway at the Vancity Theatre, Vancouver last night and continues tonight.

Fair Seas: The Kingdom of Kerry is a 12-minute film exploring how changes to how local coasts and waters are protected would affect the people and communities nearby. It includes extensive footage of the southwest coast which was named Ireland’s first ‘Hope Spot’ by Mission Blue. The ‘Greater Skellig Coast’ now joins the Galápagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and parts of Antarctica as special places scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean.

Film producer Jack O’DonovanFilm producer Jack O’Donovan

The film was produced by Jack O’Donovan of Trá of Fair Seas - a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental non-governmental organisations and networks working to build a movement of ocean stewardship across Ireland. The documentary was directed by Tasha Phillips of Swimming Head Productions with cinematography by Lawrence Eagling of Swimming Head Productions. The film was partly funded by the Irish Marine Institute.

The film hears diverse voices from across coastal communities, including a fisherman, an angler, an ecotourism operator, a biologist and a diver, who share their inextricable connection to the sea. It officially premiered in Kerry in October 2022.

Jack O'Donovan Trá, Communications Officer at Fair Seas: “It is such a privilege to travel around Ireland's coast meeting with communities that rely almost entirely on healthy seas. The aim of Fair Seas is to build a movement of ocean stewardship across Ireland and to ensure the Irish government meet their targets of protecting 30% of Irish waters with a network of well-managed Marine Protected Areas by 2030. What better way to tie these two aims together than to explore the lives of those communities whose everyday rituals ebb and flow with the tides and who will become the stewards of protected areas on their shores? Fair Seas: The Kingdom of Kerry is a film that shows passion, ambition, tradition and new hope among the people of Ireland to build a better, more sustainable future for generations to come. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to coordinate such a powerful statement of ocean optimism and am now delighted to see it appearing on the international stage.”

Fair Seas: The Kingdom of Kerry is one of several short films highlighting the ongoing and critically important conversation around sustainable fishing that will be shown this evening (February 7th). The screening will be followed by an expert panel discussion featuring Fair Seas Policy Officer Dr Donal Griffin.

Dr Griffin said, "This global recognition of Ireland and the importance of conserving our ocean is even more critical now as we finalise our own national Marine Protected Area legislation. At Fair Seas, we have been campaigning for the Government to designate a minimum of 30% of Irish waters as Marine Protected Areas by 2030 and it is fantastic to see progress beginning to be made. However, we have one chance to do this right and we owe it to the next generation to do this well."

The screening of Fair Seas - The Kingdom of Kerry begins at 6pm on February 7th at the VIFF Centre in downtown Vancouver. Global audiences can also tune in online. The panel will begin around 7pm, after the series of short films.

Published in Maritime TV

A large stretch of ocean off the south west coast of Ireland has been added to a list of ‘Hope Spots’ by a global marine conservation movement. Mission Blue is led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle and now has a network of 148 Hope Spots across the globe. It aims to inspire public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of Marine Protected Areas.

Hope Spots are special places that are scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean. Existing spots include the Galápagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, the Northwest Passage and parts of Antarctica. Some locations are already formally protected, while others still need defined protection.

The Greater Skellig Coast stretches from Kenmare Bay in Co Kerry to Loop Head in Co Clare and covers an area of roughly 7,000km2 of Irish coastal waters. It is home to critically endangered sharks, globally important seabird colonies, and animals threatened with extinction which rely on these areas for breeding and feeding.

The area has been championed by Fair Seas, a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental non-governmental organisations and networks, with the support of Sea Synergy, a marine awareness and activity centre based in Kerry. Fair Seas has been campaigning for the Government to designate a minimum of 30% of Irish waters as Marine Protected Areas (MPA) by 2030. The Greater Skellig Coast is one of 16 ‘Areas of Interest’ identified for possible MPA designation by the organisation.

Mission Blue was founded by American oceanographer, explorer and author Dr Sylvia Earle. She has been National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence since 1998 and was named the first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue says, “This Hope Spot is being announced at a crucial time for Ireland because in 2023, new national Marine Protected Area (MPA) legislation will be introduced for the first time. 81% of Irish people believe that we need to protect, conserve and restore the ocean. This legislation will help achieve this very desirable protection.”

Aoife O’ Mahony, Campaign Manager for Fair Seas said, “It is incredible to see a small part of Ireland’s seas being recognised as critically important to global ocean health by Mission Blue, and joining the likes of the Galapágos Islands and other world-famous marine locations. The waters off the coast of Kerry and Clare are rich with fascinating creatures and marine life but there has been an alarming decline in the numbers of iconic species like angel sharks in recent years. We want to halt that decline and give species every chance to thrive. The Hope Spot will help us to raise awareness and bring the public closer to the ocean as we work to safeguard the water and the marine life within. This global recognition is even more critical now as we finalise our own national MPA legislation in Ireland. We have one chance to do this right and we owe it to the next generation to do this well.”

Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin added, “I welcome the news that a large area of ocean off the south west coast of Ireland has been added to a list of ‘Hope Spots’ by the global marine conservation movement, Mission Blue, which is led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle. Our small island of Ireland is not only draped in a wealth of natural beauty but it is also surrounded by an ocean filled with an assortment of marine life and a coastline, which houses numerous colonies of birds and wildlife. This all contributes to the richness and attractiveness of Ireland as a destination for tourists and all of which needs to be preserved and protected. Announcements like this are also timely as we are currently developing a new national tourism policy. This new policy will seek to support sustainable economic development in communities throughout the country, whilst protecting our environment and natural resources.”

Aoife O’Mahony from Fair Seas and Lucy Hunt have been named as champions of the Greater Skellig Coast Hope Spot by Mission Blue.

Lucy Hunt said, “I founded Sea Synergy in 2014 to help raise awareness of the importance of the ocean and encourage others to fall in love with the ocean and to help protect it. We have so much to be proud of when it comes to our coast and the Wild Atlantic way, from the wildlife to the views. It’s important we do everything we can to preserve and where needed restore it. We’re lucky that we can see dolphins, seals and huge bird colonies from the shore as well as experience a whole other amazing world beneath the surface from kelp forests to jewelled sea walls. The Hope Spot designation confirms what we already knew in Co Kerry and Co Clare, that the ocean is critically important. It’s my wish that this designation will help inspire people to take a closer look at what the ocean offers and that we will see more Hope Spots and action to live in harmony with Ireland's ocean.”

Published in Marine Planning

Ireland has been referred to the European Court of Justice for failing to transpose the Water Framework directive into national law correctly.

The directive provides a framework for protecting inland and coastal waters and groundwater by preventing pollution and protecting water-dependent ecosystems and water resources.

Member states are obliged to establish river basin management plans, as an important element of the EU’s “zero pollution ambition” under its “Green Deal”.

The European Commission says EU member states were required to transpose the Water Framework Directive into national law by December 22nd, 2003.

“Ireland initially adopted legislation, but the Commission found it to be insufficient,” it says. A formal notice to Ireland was sent in October 2007, and a reasoned opinion in November 2011.

“Despite some progress and the adoption of new legislation in June 2022, the Irish authorities have not yet fully addressed the grievances, over 20 years after the entry into force of this directive,” the Commission says in a statement.

“Ireland's transposing law still needs to provide for appropriate controls in the following areas: water abstraction, impoundment and activities causing hydro-morphological changes such as dams, weirs and other interferences in natural water flow,” it says.

“The Commission considers that efforts by the Irish authorities have to date been unsatisfactory and insufficient and is therefore referring Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union,” it says.

Ireland presented a new Water Environment Bill on September 28th, 2022, which is now with the Dáil for debate and adoption.

The Commission says that in spite of this legislative move, it “is not clear how long it will take for full compliance to be achieved”.

Published in Marine Wildlife

What do the Loch Ness monster, the El Nino effect and dead water at sea have in common?

All may be associated with internal waves, a phenomenon of wave motion in which Dr David Henry of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Cork (UCC) has expertise.

As Dr Henry explains in an interview with Wavelengths for Afloat, internal water waves, which are responsible for the “dead water” phenomenon observed by sailors at sea, play a fundamental role in any meaningful description of large-scale dynamics of the ocean.

He says that an improved understanding of their behaviour is “essential to developing our understanding of ocean circulation and ocean-atmosphere dynamics, which are in turn fundamental processes underlying climate dynamics”.

Dr David Henry of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University College CorkDr David Henry of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Cork

Internal waves have some particularly interesting, and quite unforeseen, impacts in both the real and “fictional” worlds, he says.

For instance, dolphins have been observed swimming ahead of a moving ship by “surfing” the internal waves that it generates, and it has also been suggested that internal wave-related activity might be one explanation for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland.

Henry recalls how internal waves may have influenced Australian submarine exposure to Turkish forces during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 during the first world war.

Internal waves have been observed up to 50 metres high in the Celtic Sea, and in the Rockall Trough, the Malin Sea and Shelf, lying immediately north of Ireland, and to the east of the Rockall Trough, he says.

Internal waves have ”a major impact in biological considerations since they carry nutrients onto the continental shelf - 50% of shelf sea nutrients are estimated to arrive across the shelf-break boundary”, he adds.

They are also of interest to geological oceanographers because these waves produce sediment transport on ocean shelves, while breaking internal waves on sloping surfaces creates erosion.

The steady crash of waves pounding the shore draws vacationers to beaches across the world when temperatures climb. Driven by the wind and tides, these familiar waves ride across the top of the ocean. But deeper waves also move through ocean waters, visible only from their influence on ocean currents. These waves are internal waves, and they run through lowest layers of ocean water, never swelling the surface. Credit: Google Earth - March 6, 2007KMLThe steady crash of waves pounding the shore draws vacationers to beaches across the world when temperatures climb. Driven by the wind and tides, these familiar waves ride across the top of the ocean. But deeper waves also move through ocean waters, visible only from their influence on ocean currents. These waves are internal waves, and they run through lowest layers of ocean water, never swelling the surface. Credit: Google Earth - March 6, 2007KML

And they are of relevance to coastal engineers because of the tidal and residual currents that they generate, which can cause scour on near shore as well as offshore structures.

“In spite of their clear importance, several important theoretical gaps remain in our understanding of the ocean dynamics induced by internal water waves, and wave-current interactions,” Dr Henry says.

To advance this knowledge, Science Foundation Ireland has awarded €916,000 for a research project led by Dr Henry, in collaboration with Professor Rossen Ivanov, School of Mathematics and Statistics, TU Dublin.

Dr Henry spoke about this to Wavelengths below

Published in Wavelength Podcast

“Tiny” amounts of crude oil on the sea surface can damage seabird feathers, according to a University College Cork (UCC) study.

Oil less than one percent of the thickness of a hair can cause harm, researchers from UCC’s Marine Ecology Group state.

The team collected feathers from Manx shearwaters, a seabird species thought to be at-risk from oil pollution, and examined them to see how quickly water would pass through after exposure to increasing concentrations of oil.

Feathers were also assessed under high-powered microscopes to examine structural changes after contamination, they state.

Oil-damaged Manx shearwater feathers under a digital high-powered microscope. The microstructure within the feather clumps together after exposure to oil, letting water pass through more easily.Above and below: Oil-damaged Manx shearwater feathers under a digital high-powered microscope. The microstructure within the feather clumps together after exposure to oil, letting water pass through more easily. Photo: Dr Richard Unitt, School of Biological Earth and Environmental Science, UCC

The research found that really thin oil sheens, between 0.1 and 3 micrometres in thickness, were “enough to have a significant effect on feather structure and impacted waterproofing”.

Other studies have shown that seabirds exposed to oil are more likely to become waterlogged, cold, and less buoyant.

Environmental disasters such as the Exxon Valdez and Sea Empress spills have released unrefined oil, or crude oil, into the sea in huge volumes.

Crude oil is also routinely released into the environment in moderate volumes due to extraction and transport activity, the researchers note.

“Chronic small-scale oil pollution is commonly overlooked in the marine environment, though it has been shown to have serious implications for the fitness and survival of seabirds,” Emma Murphy, lead author of the study, says.

“This study examined one species, but the results can be extended to other species that rely on waterproofing to stay healthy when at sea for long periods,” she says.

The research is published in the journal Open Science.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

A short film featuring the views of local communities who make a living from the sea is set to be launched in Kerry this week. Fair Seas, a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental non-governmental organisations and networks, created the 12-minute feature to explore how changes to how marine areas are protected would affect the people living nearby.

The film hears voices in coastal communities, including fishers, eco-tourism operators and biologists. Exploring local stories, hopes and fears, it delves into how Marine Protected Areas might offer new means to conserve the incredible marine life that has supported these communities for centuries.

Fair Seas is calling on the Government to designate a minimum of 30% of Irish waters as a network of effective and well-managed Marine Protected Areas by 2030. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are areas of our seas and coasts legally protected from activities that damage the habitats, wildlife and natural processes. Currently, just 2% of Irish waters are protected.

The group published a report in June identifying 16 ‘Areas of Interest’ for MPA designation in Irish waters, including one area stretching along the Kerry coastline from Kenmare Bay as far as Loop Head in Clare.

Tralee and Dingle Bays are breeding areas for several threatened shark, ray and skate species. This is an important area for whales, dolphins and porpoises with islands and archipelagos that skirt the peninsulas of Kerry, some of Ireland’s most prominent seabird breeding sites.

Aoife O’ Mahony, Campaign Manager for Fair Seas said, “Kerry has a fascinating marine environment where large numbers of dolphins, humpback whales and minke whales can be seen. It’s also home to significant colonies of puffins and gannets. It is in everyone's interest that these areas are conserved and protected. We’ve started the conversations around Marine Protected Areas as significant progress is needed if Ireland is to reach the 30% targets set down by Europe by 2030. The people who rely on our oceans are central to this, so we spoke to fishers, anglers, divers, eco-tourism operators and locals to get their views and opinions.”

Fair Seas filming - Aoife O Mahony - Fairseas, Neave Foxall, Annika Hitmiangsong, Oisin Foxall, Lucy Hunt- Sea Synergy, Sophie Harley, Dylan Carey, Mackenzie Bodyfelt, Maya FoxallFair Seas filming - Aoife O Mahony - Fairseas, Neave Foxall, Annika Hitmiangsong, Oisin Foxall, Lucy Hunt- Sea Synergy, Sophie Harley, Dylan Carey, Mackenzie Bodyfelt, Maya Foxall

Lucy Hunt, Founder of Sea Synergy is featured in the film, (and features in this podcast on Afloat here) she added, “Seeing integrated coastal zone management and marine protected areas that includes all stakeholders, including the ocean and all the life it supports, is vital to maintain sustainable and resilient coastal communities. Kerry has amazing marine ecosystems; it’s not just home to marine mammals and wildlife but has habitats that can contribute to mitigating climate change, some of which are yet to be explored or mapped. More research is important, but we know enough to start the protection process. Stakeholder engagement, resource provision and policy action is the next step.”

The film will be officially launched at 7.00 pm on Friday, October 7th as part of the Iveragh Learning Landscapes weekend at Tech Amergin, Waterville. Tickets for the weekend of walks, talks and workshops are €5 and are available online 

Fair Seas marine policy officer Dr Donal Griffin will be taking part in the Climate Conversations panel on Saturday afternoon alongside marine biologist and TV host Danni Washington, Lucy Hunt Founder of Sea Synergy and Vincent Hyland of Wild Derrynane.

This film was part funded by the Networking and Marine Research Communications Awards, funded by the Marine Institute under the Marine Research Programme with the support of the Irish Government.

It was produced by Swimming Head Productions, an award-winning team specialising in quick-fire documentaries with a focus on heritage, science and the natural world.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

Coastwatch has appealed for volunteers to join its annual autumn shore survey, which runs from mid-September to mid-October.

“This is now one of the longest standing citizen science projects in Ireland,” Coastwatch founder Karin Dubsky says.

” It’s a basic eco-audit of the shore carried out around low tide between Sept 15th and Oct 15th,” she says.

“You can go out as a group, divide tasks between you and cover long dune stretches in one sweep, having fun at the same time; or you go in pairs or alone to a favourite quiet spot,” Dubsky explains.

The Dublin Bay shoreline will be part of the Coastwatch survey Photo: Karin DubsyThe Dublin Bay shoreline will be part of the Coastwatch survey Photo: Karin Dubsy

“Either way, you are carefully observing, testing any streams you might cross and then report back on the state of that shore,” she says.

The annual citizen science audit started in 1987, with The Irish Times publishing a pull-out survey page.

It is now largely online with an accessible GIS map to choose sites to survey once between Sept 15th and Oct 15th, Dubsky says.

Volunteers book their site on an interactive map and download materials, or ask Coastwatch for these, Dubsky says.

They can “zig-zag” their chosen 500m of shore around low tide to record and report their findings from erosion to stream water quality, using test kits, and record key animals and plants along with waste and litter, she explains.

Micro litter can also be recorded, using a Coastwatch developed app, Dubsky says.

The first results will be presented in early December at Trinity College Dublin.

The Bull island lagoon, Dublin Bay with wet wipes close to an outflow pipe Photo: Gereon GuenterThe Bull island lagoon, Dublin Bay with wet wipes close to an outflow pipe Photo: Gereon Guenter

Dubsky says training is provided for new volunteers, and regional coordinators are planning joint survey events to cover some areas really well.

‘This year, we focus on the quality of small streams, seagrass and on litter which would be better addressed by prevention and law than by clean-ups,” Michael Walsh of the Coastwatch team says.

“Small coastal streams may not look impressive but can host fish like seatrout and eel,” John Cullen, one of the Coastwatch team scientists, explains.

“In a training session last week, we checked a tiny stream flowing through Tintern Abbey walled gardens, Co Wexford”, Dubsky says.

“It was full of life and young sea trout are regularly observed here. We would love to mark such streams with big smiley faces on our maps and help restore other streams which we find in a dead or sad state,” she says.

‘With bird flu hitting many seabird colonies, we are now also asking for photographs and to report dead birds to DAFM using the Avian Flu reporting app or hotline so they can pick up and test for flu,” she says.

This will be the third year of recording COVID-related litter, and the first full year since government restrictions on a range of single-use plastics (SUP) has been implemented.

A three-year snapshot of Covid-related litter and SUP plastic will be published in December, she said.

All materials are on the Coastwatch website www.coastwatch.org or available from coordinators.

Published in Coastal Notes

The West Coast of Ireland is the first place in the world where the annual reproductive behaviour of basking sharks has been seen.

“It is astonishing that this wonder of the natural world has remained hidden for so long,” according to Professor David Sims, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton and lead author of a study carried out by biologists from the Marine Biological Association and the Irish Basking Shark Group.

It has revealed “the global importance of the West Coast of Ireland for the endangered species.”

Circling formations have been documented on a few occasions over the past 40 years in the North-West Atlantic off Canada and the USA. But although basking sharks are often seen filter-feeding plankton in the UK and Irish coastal waters during the summer, the circling formations were rarely seen. Until now, scientists could not explain the behaviour.

Using underwater cameras and aerial drones off County Clare from 2016 to 2021, scientists got video footage of 19 circling groups. Each comprised between 6 and 23 sharks swimming slowly at the surface, with others deeper down.

“This research has shown the importance of Irish waters,” says Dr Simon Berrow of the Atlantic Technological University, Galway and the Irish Basking Shark Group, who co-led the research: “How usually solitary basking sharks find a mate in the ocean’s expanse has been an enduring mystery. Our discovery of these basking shark grounds in our coastal waters makes it more urgent that this species gains protection in Irish waters from potential threats, such as collisions with marine traffic and the impact of offshore renewables.”

Legislation to protect basking sharks in Irish waters was drafted this year, although they are protected in many parts of the world. It remains to be signed into law.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

Young people with an interest in biodiversity loss in marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments have been invited to apply to join Ireland’s first national children and young people’s assembly dedicated to the issue.

The new Children and Young People’s Assembly aims to inform the national Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss which is sitting this year.

A total of 35 children and young people will be selected randomly across Ireland as assembly members, with applications to join closing on September 18th.

However, all young people aged up to 17 years are invited to submit their views and ideas on biodiversity loss on sea and land throughout the month of September on a new website cyp-biodiversity.ie

The Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss comprises 99 randomly-selected adult members of the public, who are aged 18 and over, and an independent chairperson.

It has been tasked by the Oireachtas with examining how the State can improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss.

It believes children and young people also have the right to have their say, as biodiversity loss poses a significant threat to children’s right to a healthy, safe environment.

The Children and Young People’s Assembly is being designed by an intergenerational group, comprising a young advisory team and an independent research consortium.

The young advisory team involves nine children and young people from across Ireland, aged between eight and 16 years.

The research consortium includes experts in children’s participation, deliberative democracy, and biodiversity from Dublin City University *(DCU), University College Cork (UCC), and “terre des homes”, an international organisation with a focus on children’s environmental rights.

Elsie (8), a young advisor from Co Tipperary has said she believes it is “important that children and young people like us can have our say because we don’t usually get to be involved in things that adults do and we have lots of interesting things to say.”

Amhairghin (15), a young advisor from Co Donegal and Co Down said that “diversity is the key to this process”.

“If we don’t have ideas coming from every aspect of life, we’ll be stuck with a rigid, one sided argument. It’s also really important that young people deliver these arguments as we are the future. It’s time that we saw the action that is needed,” she has said.

Dr Diarmuid Torney, research consortium lead and an associate professor at DCU’s School of Law and Government, said that Ireland has “developed a strong reputation over the past decade in the inclusion of the voices of the adult population in policymaking through citizens’ assemblies”.

“Through this project, we aim to build on this reputation by creating a robust process to include the voices of children and young people in decision-making on the critical topic of biodiversity loss,”he said.

Katie Reid, research consortium member and children’s environmental rights and participation officer with “terre des homes”, said she has supported children’s participation in Scotland’s Climate Assembly, which was the first citizens’ assembly to involve under 16-year-olds directly.

“I experienced how deliberative democratic processes can be enriched by taking an intergenerational approach that includes our youngest citizens’ views and ideas,” Reid said.

Dr Clodagh Harris, research consortium member and senior lecturer in UCC’s Department of Government and Politics, quoted a native American proverb – “ we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”.

“Decisions made (or not made) on biodiversity loss today will have irreversible consequences for children and young people. It is essential that their views are heard,” Harris noted.

Applications to become an assembly member can be submitted online here

The closing date for applications is Sunday, September 18th. Those randomly selected will need to be available to attend two assembly meetings, on October 7th to 9th in Glencree, Co Wicklow, and on October 21st to 23rd in Killarney, Co Kerry.

An open submissions portal has been created for other children and young people to contribute to the assembly, which will remain open until September 30th.

Submissions can be written, artwork, video clips or photographs, and a short explanatory film is on this link

Published in Marine Wildlife

Thousands of volunteers answered Clean Coasts and National Spring Clean joint call-to-action to organise a clean-up to protect our ocean today, June 8th. 

Last May, Irish environmental charity Clean Coasts joined forces with National Spring Clean, to provide communities around Ireland with free clean-up kits to host a clean-up during the week around World Ocean Day.

World Ocean Day is celebrated annually on June 8th to highlight the important role the ocean has for our life and the planet. In 2022, the focus will once more be on the 30x30 campaign: to create a healthy ocean with abundant wildlife and to stabilize the climate, it is critical that 30% of our planet’s lands, waters, and ocean are protected by 2030.

One of the issues affecting our ocean is marine litter which has become a global problem for both humans and marine life. However, communities around Ireland have demonstrated their desire to be part of the solution by taking part in several beach cleaning and clean-up calls to action.

Volunteers who registered online received a clean-up kit to roganise a beach clean for World Ocean Day. Photo: Clean Coasts Ballynamona by Cathal NoonanVolunteers who registered online received a clean-up kit to organise a beach clean for World Ocean Day. Photo: Clean Coasts Ballynamona by Cathal Noonan

Statistics show that the number one cause of marine litter is litter dropped in towns and cities. Building on the success of the Spring Clean 22 campaign, which took place in the month of April and saw 500,000 volunteers organising over 5,600 clean-ups, the National Spring Clean programme is joining Clean Coasts this year in supporting these communities around Ireland.

Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager said: “We were so overwhelmed with the support received from the public. In under 72 hours over 230 clean-ups had already registered on the Clean Coasts website. Now over 4,000 volunteers are set to take action for World Ocean Day by organising or joining a clean-up event around Ireland.”

Volunteers who didn’t manage to secure a clean-up kit can still take action by joining an existing clean-up, a list of which can be found on the Clean Coasts website.

World Ocean Day events are happening in the context of a very few busy months for the organisation, which saw other initiatives to protect and learn more about the ocean being launched recently. These initiatives included the launch of our Enjoy and Protect campaign and several events, such as SUP clean-ups or surf lessons followed by a #2minutebeachclean around all the coast of Ireland. In addition to that, Clean Coasts joined Galway City Council for a #TeamSeas clean-up of the Claddagh Basin and lower Eglington Canal, where over 2 tonnes of litter were removed from an area that would normally be hard to clean. Other events include the release of two marine biodiversity directories, the launch of our Love Your Coast Photography Competition, marram grass planting events and more.

Team Seas Clean up

Finally, to celebrate World Ocean Day and following the launch of two Marine Biodiversity directories last month, yesterday Clean Coasts has also issued a fourth Enjoy and Protect guide about wildlife photography, specifically designed not just for amateur photographers wishing to enter the Love Your Coast Photography competition, but also for the general public who wish to capture the beauty of our coastline while doing something to protect it. [See editor's notes for details]

In 2021, the initiative changed its name from “World Oceans Day” to “World Ocean Day”. By dropping the “s”, its organisers wanted to highlight the fact that we are all connected by a large ocean. This shared ocean supports all life on the planet, by producing most of the oxygen we breathe and regulating climate. No matter where we live, we all depend on the ocean to survive.

This means that each piece of marine litter removed from a beach, river, lake, park or street in Ireland, will have a positive impact on a global scale.

Other Clean Coasts events and initiatives this summer 

Enjoy and Protect (guides) 

With the ‘Enjoy and Protect’ campaign, Clean Coasts are asking people to enjoy and celebrate our stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, epic cliffs and all outdoor areas, but also to protect these natural treasures. Get out and make the most of Ireland’s wonderful coast, but also do your part to preserve our marine environment and keep it safe and beautiful for future generations to enjoy too, with simple actions and small lifestyle changes. More info here.

Enjoy and Protect (events)

To celebrate the launch of the ‘Enjoy and Protect’ campaign, we have been hosting a series of events in Ireland, including a SUP clean-up of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour and a Surf Lesson and #2minutebeachclean in Strandhill, co. Sligo.

Love Your Coast

The 13th Clean Coasts’ Love Your Coast photography competition is now open for entries. Amateur photographers were invited to capture the uniqueness of our coastal communities, environments, or waterways and enter their best shots over the past couple of months. 

There is a prize fund of €5,000, up for grabs across five categories: Coastal Heritage, Coastal Landscape, People & the Coast, Wildlife & the Coast and Creativity and the Coast. More info here. 

#TeamSeas

As part of Ocean Conservancy #TeamSeas Project, Clean Coasts and Galway City Council partnered up to support a clean-up of the Claddagh Basin and lower Eglington Canal, where over 2 tonnes of litter were removed from an area that would normally be hard to clean.

As part of this project, the Lower Eglinton Canal and Claddagh Basin were drained, and litter was removed by a professional contractor. This has removed a significant amount of litter from our waterways and stopped it from herebreaking down further. 

Love Your Beach Week

Clean Coasts are delighted to once more partner with Galway City Council for Love Your Beach Week, which will launch on June 8th.

The week entails a series of beach cleans and other events, such as workshops, talks on biodiversity and climate change, music and beach volley. More info here. 

Cork Harbour Festival 

Cork Harbour Festival returns this June 3-13 with over 50 amazing events in 15 beautiful locations across Cork City & Harbour, to celebrate Cork’s unique maritime heritage as the second largest natural harbour in the world.

For this event, Clean Coasts will join forces with Cork County and City Councils and Subowti for a Kayak & SUP River Clean Up. More info here 

Wild Roots

Last weekend, June 3 – 5, Clean Coasts promoted simple actions to protect our environment at Wild Roots festival in Sligo. Wild Roots is an art, music and adventure festival taking place for the first time set in the stunning Hazelwood area, protected by ancient woodland and close to the tranquil waters of Lough Gill. As well as performances from international and local acts, there was stand up paddle boarding, kayak tours, sailing and boat tours on Lough Gill. Clean Coasts were at the shop street area talking about the Think Before You Flush campaign that we operate in partnership with Irish Water, as well as ways to get involved with the Clean Coasts programme. We had games, prizes, #2minutebeachclean and information on protecting our environment.

Brown Thomas Corporate volunteering

Earlier in June, Clean Coasts met the Brown Thomas team for a series of beach cleans in four different locations around Ireland as part of the organisation’s corporate volunteering programme.

Clean ups took place on Bull Island, co. Dublin, Galway City, Limerick City and Garretstown Beach, co. Cork, and participants removed a total of almost 50 kg of marine litter from the Irish Coast.

PayPal

As one of this year’s chosen charities of PayPal, Clean Coasts has been working with employees from PayPal to develop a coastal programme in Co. Louth. The programme includes marram grass planting to combat erosion, family beach cleans event, beach information and interactive hubs, and looking into an online erosion monitoring model that can be used on the Clean Coasts website. There has also been cross-collaboration with local registered Clean Coasts groups in Co. Louth including Cooley Community Alert and Costa Aláinn Termonfeckin.

Marine Biodiversity Directories

To celebrate National Biodiversity Week in May, Clean Coasts released two marine biodiversity directories.

The Marine Zones and Habitats directory explores these zones and habitats a little further, from above the high tide line, right out to the edge of the continental shelf. Ireland’s coastline and marine environment is teeming with life, playing host to 24 species of whales and dolphins, 35 species of sharks, 2 species of seal, 24 species of seabirds, over 250 species of marine plants and hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates. The Marine Species directory talks about some of these species, where they can be found and more. More info here.

Wexford marram grass planting

Wexford County Council have made steps to combat erosion at some coastal beaches, including Morriscastle Strand. The dune beside the entrance to the beach has been suffering from quite severe erosion, so the Council arranged for chestnut pail fencing to be erected in sections that would help keep off people from any planting that could happen. Clean Coasts teamed up with Wexford County Council to do marram grass planting sessions within these fenced areas. The first day was with locals of Kilmuckridge and surrounding areas on 30th April, and the second day was with students from Colaiste an Atha, Kilmuckridge, on 19th May which the day before Morriscastle Strand received the 2022 Blue Flag Award.

School coastal education and action

Bettystown, Co. Meath – Teaming up with Bettystown Tidy Towns, Clean Coasts engaged with local schools around the local area to educate with marine topics and tackle marine litter. Clean Coasts facilitated workshops and beach cleans at Bettystown beach with these school groups: Drogheda Grammar School on 9th March, Colaiste na hInse on 16th March, Malta Services Drogheda on 29th March, Bettystown Youth Reach on 30th March, English Language Institute on 6th April, St. Oliver’s Community College on 27th April, and Scoil Oilibheir Naofa on 31st May. There are upcoming days with Slane N.S. and also a Clean Coasts stand for World Ocean Day festival on the 11th June.

Cooley, Co. Louth – Teaming up with Cooley Community Alert, Clean Coasts engaged with local schools around the local area to educate with marine topics and tackle marine litter. Clean Coasts facilitated workshops and beach cleans with Scoil Naomh Loran (Omeath) on 7th March, Rathcor N.S. (near Templetown) on 8th April, Knockbridge N.S. (Blackrock) on 4th May, and Muchgrange N.S. (Templetown) on 5th May. 

Marram Grass planting workshop in Portmarnock Beach

Clean Coasts hosted a Marram Grass planting workshop in Portmarnock, co. Dublin, In conjunction with Dublin CARO and Fingal County Council. Find more info here.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 1 of 58

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