Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dublin Bay Boating News and Information

Displaying items by tag: sharks

An EU-wide campaign against the shark fin trade in Europe is seeking votes from the public to take the matter to the European Parliament.

The removal of fins on board EU fishing vessels and in EU waters is prohibited by EU law and sharks must be landed with their fins naturally attached.

However, the European citizens’ initiative Stop Finning - Stop the Trade claims that the union is actually among the biggest exporters of fins and a major transit hub for the global fin trade.

“[The EU] is a major player in the exploitation of sharks and as inspections at sea are scarce. fins are still illegally retained, trans-shipped or landed [in the union],” campaigners say.

The initiative aims to end the trade of fins in the EU including the import, export and transit of fins other than if naturally attached to the animal’s body.

As finning prevents effective shark conservation measures, campaigners are requesting to extend REGULATION (EU) No 605/2013 to the trade of fins and therefore ask the commission to develop a new regulation, extending “fins naturally attached” to all trading of sharks and rays in the EU.

The initiative has collected more than 370,000 signatories out of the million required — but many member states have not met their individual threshold, including Ireland which needs another 5,000 supporters before the collection period closes on 31 January 2022.

Individuals can find out more about the campaign at www.stop-finning-eu.org and register their support for the initiative via the EU government portal HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Japanese researchers have found that whale sharks have protective “armour” around their eyeballs in the form of tiny teeth.

Japan's Okinawa Churashima Research Centre scientists studied the eyes of both living and dead whale sharks, which can grow to 18-metres and have eyes on the sides of their head.

The sharks, which eat mainly plankton, can retract their eyes to protect them from other creatures in the sea, and don’t have eyelids.

Their eyes are protected in a casing, which bulges out into the water, and the researchers found that these casings are covered in dermal denticles or tiny teeth. The denticles have an “oak-like shape” similar to human molars, they say.

Dermal denticles have been found in previous research on other parts of the whale shark’s body. The researchers found each whale shark eye covering has approximately 3,000 denticles, and most densely packed near the irises.

They suggest these may serve to protect the whale shark eyes from attacks by other sea creatures.

More details of the research are on the open-access website, Plos One here

Published in Sharks
Tagged under

Tralee Bay is a “major nursery” for sharks and rays in Irish waters, says a local marine wildlife expert.

And Kevin Flannery insists the important breeding ground for the likes of angel sharks and porbeagle sharks needs protection.

Marine biologist Flannery, of Dingle OceanWorld, described the little-known nursery off the Kerry coast as “a Serengeti of the Atlantic for rays and sharks”.

And as National Biodiversity Week begins, he’s calling for Tralee Bay to be designated as a marine protected area to provide a safe haven for the many species that lay their eggs there in summer months.

The Irish Mirror has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sharks

Experts in shark biology, data and mapping recently met at the Marine Institute’s headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway to map the distribution of deepwater sharks, skates and chimaeras in the North-East Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists and marine experts at the International Council Exploration of the Seas’ (ICES) WKSHARKS Workshop analysed decades of data from research surveys in the North Atlantic Ocean.

This included nearly 30 years of data collected by Irish scientists on board the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer and commercial vessels.

The WKSHARKS Workshop included experts from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France and Denmark, with other experts contributing remotely from Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands.

And their aim was to produce maps that indicate the area and depth of 25 species of deepwater sharks, skates and chimaeras — information that will assist in understanding the range and habitat of these marine wildlife species, underpinning future management decisions.

It will also be considered by the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) and the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) to determine future action to sustainably manage these populations.

These two organisations have a joint interest in the open North Atlantic, while ICES scientists have unique knowledge of the deepwater fisheries and species in this area, which focuses on waters off Ireland, Portugal and Iceland.

Maurice Clarke, fisheries scientist at the Marine Institute and WKSHARKS Workshop chair, said: “Sharks and rays have an important function in maintaining balanced and healthy marine ecosystems. Providing scientific advice is essential to protecting these marine species in the North-East Atlantic.

“For many of these species, this is the first time that data from European surveys is being collated and analysed for this purpose.”

Irish waters are home to 71 species of sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras. These species include some of the latest maturing and slowest reproducing of all vertebrates, resulting in very low population growth rates with little capacity to recover from overfishing and other threats such as pollution or habitat destruction.

ICES received a joint request from the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) and the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) to develop distribution maps of deep-sea sharks, rays and skates, and also to advise on methods of mitigating bycatch of these species.

Published in Sharks

A shark species previously unrecorded in Irish waters has been sighted in the Celtic Sea.

A smooth hammerhead shark was reported on the edge of the continental shelf, south-west of Ireland, during a recent fisheries survey on the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer.

The sighting was made by experienced marine mammal observer John Power and bird observer Paul Connaughton during the Marine Institute’s Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic Survey (WESPAS).

“While scanning the ocean surface, we sighted a dorsal fin unlike anything we had encountered before,” said Power.

“It was quite different to the fins seen on basking sharks and blue sharks. After consulting available ID keys, we agreed that the shark must be a smooth hammerhead.”

The large, tall and slender dorsal fin of the smooth hammerhead shark distinguishes it from other shark species. The smooth hammerhead also has a single-notch in the centre of its rounded head and is up to four metres in length.

The species gives birth to live young and the pups are usually found in the shallow sandy waters near Florida, the Caribbean and West Africa. However, the species has been recorded as far north as England and Wales.

The smooth hammerhead was sighted during the WESPAS survey, which surveys the waters from France to Scotland and the West of Ireland each year.

Marine scientists collect acoustic and biological data on herring, boarfish and horse mackerel, which is used to provide an independent measure of these fish stocks in Irish waters. Scientists also monitor plankton, sea birds and marine mammals during this survey.

This is an exciting encounter, especially since a rare deep-water shark nursery was discovered by Irish scientists last year

Dr Paul Connolly, director of fisheries and ecosystems services at the Marine Institute, said: “Our Irish waters support a range of marine life and diverse ecosystems, including 35 known species of sharks.

“This is an exciting encounter, especially since a rare deep-water shark nursery, 200 miles west of Ireland, was discovered by Irish scientists last year using the Marine Institute's Remotely Operated Vehicle [ROV Holland 1].”

He added: “This sighting of a new shark species shows the importance of our fishery surveys to monitor our marine environment, and to observe changes in our oceans and marine ecosystems.

“Observing and understanding a changing ocean, is essential for protecting and managing our marine ecosystems for the future.”

The hammerhead shark poses little risk to humans, and there have been no known fatalities from hammerhead sharks anywhere in the world to date.

The species is listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and is being increasingly targeted for the shark fin trade as its large fins are highly valued.

Thirty-five species of sharks have been recorded in Irish waters, including the blue shark, porbeagle shark, lesser spotted dogfish and the second-largest shark in the world, the basking shark — a regular visitor inshore during the summer months.

Published in Sharks

Children from Rang 2 at Scoil Shéamais Naofa in Bearna got up close and personal with sharks on the RV Celtic Explorer as part of the Marine Institute’s outreach and engagement programme.

The pupils completed a project module on sharks in Irish waters as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme, and also had the opportunity to visit the State research vessel.

Outreach officer Padraic Creedon of the Explorers Education Programme said one if the programme’s unique elements “is the content and support provided to teachers in the classroom in an easy and fun way.

“The students were inspired by the discovery of a rare shark nursery 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland in 2018, and we were delighted to create lessons, interactive experiments and discussion about the ocean, sharks and their environment for the class.”

While on board the RV Celtic Explorer, pupils met with the captain and scientists and saw what it might be like to work on a research vessel.

Students spoke with Captain Denis Ronan about the Celtic Explorer, and learn more about the acoustically silent ship that can stay out at sea for up to 35 days.

The pupils were excited to tour the vessel and speak with marine scientists to discover more about shark species, seabed mapping, shipwrecks and the marine environment.

Visiting the dry and wet labs, the pupils saw various fish species from recent surveys and shark species, such as dogfish and the tope shark.

Clár Ní Bhraonáin, teacher at Scoil Shéamais Naofa, said: “It has been an amazing experience … Students don’t forget days like this.”

The Explorers programme offers a range of materials including lesson plans to conduct experiments in class, watching films that helps generate discussion, and peer learning among pupils.

“Because of the students’ enthusiasm to learn more about sharks, we have been able to incorporate marine themes across the curriculum, where they have excelled and produced some incredible work, from writing books about sharks to a series of posters and artwork,” Ní Bhraonáin added.

“This project has really helped myself and the students learn more about the ocean.”

For more information on the Explorers Education outreach centres, visit the Explorers Contacts page at Explorers.ie. The programme is supported by the Marine Institute and is funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Government.

Published in Sharks

A four-day shark festival with a €250,000 prize fund is set to put Ballycotton on the sea angling map later this year.

In his latest Angling Notes for The Irish Times, Derek Evans says the Ballycotton Big Fish from 12-15 September will be the biggest festival of its kind in Europe.

The event is the brainchild of Ballycotton-born Pearse Flynn, an experienced deep-sea angler who was determined to attract the world’s top competitors to an East Cork town already renowned for its big fish records.

Prizes are set to be awarded for biggest shark landed, as well as for the boat that lands the greater number of sharks ever the course of the tournament.

But only big spending anglers need apply, as the entry fee is a whopping €5,000 per head.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sharks

Members of the Marine Institute, INFOMAR and Explorers Education teams, as well as the chief scientist of the SeaRover survey, will be at the Galway Science and Technology Festival this Sunday (25 November) highlighting the recent discovery of a rare shark nursery in deep waters off the West of Ireland.

The shark-themed stand — All About Sharks, Sharks and More Sharks — will also provide children and their families an insight into the life of a marine scientist, what seabed mapping involves and how this led to the discovery of the shark nursery.

“It was incredible, real David Attenborough stuff,” David O'Sullivan, chief scientist for the SeaRover survey, told the Guardian. “This is a major biological find and a story of this magnitude would have been on Blue Planet if they'd known about it. Very, very little is known on a global scale about deep-sea shark nurseries.”

The SeaRover suvey, using the Marine Institute’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Holland 1 onboard the ILV Granuaile, took place during the summer 2018 off the Irish coast.

And its findings show the significance of documenting sensitive marine habitats, which will assist in a better understanding of the biology of these animals and their ecosystem function in Ireland’s Biologically Sensitive Area.

If you’re interested in learning more about the discovery of the sailfin sharks, you will find the experts at the back of the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway from 10am to 6pm. Entry is free of charge and open to the public.

Published in Sharks

#MarineWildlife - A whopping 71 species of shark can be found swimming in Irish waters.

That’s according to the new New Red List of Cartilaginous Fish, as reported by TheJournal.ie, which adds that half of all sharks in Europe can be found swimming around the Irish coast.

Eleven of these species are classified as either ‘endangered' ’critically endangered’, such as the porbeagle shark, the Portuguese dogfish and the basking shark — the second-largest fish in the oceans and a frequent visitor to Irish inshore waters.

The Red List comes hot on the heels of a new atlas of Ireland’s wildlife that’s dominated by whales and dolphins, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

And it also notes that outside of Ireland, where angling for such species is predominantly catch-and-release, recreational fishing poses a growing threat to cartilaginous fish like sharks, skates and rays.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#Surfing - An Irishman has been praised for his heroism after saving his best friend from an attack by a great white shark in Australia just over a year ago.

As Independent.ie reports, Shane de Roiste leapt into action when his friend Dale Carr was bitten by the ferocious ocean predator while the pair were surfing off Port Macquarie in New South Wales.

"It really is like you see in the Jaws movies," said Wexford man de Roiste recalling that fateful day in August 2015. "The person is just shaken around in the water.”

Carr finally fought off the shark by jamming a thug into one of its eyes, but we was left with a severe bite on his thigh and was losing a lot of blood.

De Roiste remained with his friend throughout, paddling him back to shore and using laces from the fins of Carr's body board to keep the wound closed till help arrived.

The Irishman has now been nominated by his friend for a Pride of Australia award, the winners of which will be announced this November.

The attack just over a year ago was one of a number of incidents reported in the eastern Australian state in the latter half of 2015.

Independent.ie has more on the story HERE, while de Roiste shared his story with Matt Cooper on Newstalk's The Last Word yesterday evening.

Published in Surfing
Tagged under
Page 1 of 2

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