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Displaying items by tag: Seaweed

Hand-harvesting seaweed on the Irish Atlantic coast experienced an unexpected boost due to Covid-19, according to Canadian-owned seaweed company Arramara Teo.

Construction workers with coastal connections opted to supplement incomes on the shoreline, and there are now large quantities in storage, Arramara’s Europe director Jim Keogh has said.

The Connemara-based company plans to make a “significant” investment in upgrading its existing seaweed processing plant in Cill Chiaráín, Co Galway, Mr Keogh confirmed on Monday. 

This will allow it to handle other types of seaweed for the health food and other markets, he said.

The investment to a “food grade” plant, believed to be under 0.5 million euro, will be funded through Arramara’s own resources. 

Among the main species targeted will be Fucus vesiculosus or bladderwrack, a brown seaweed rich in iodine.

It grows alongside Ascophyllum nodosum or “feamainn bhuí” which harvesters currently supply for use in fertiliser and animal feed.

“Fucus vesiculosus grows back quicker than the Ascophyllum, which will give harvesters more options,” Mr Keogh said. 

The company would also look at the potential of other inter-tidal species, such as dulse and carrageen, he said. 

The company will be able to avail of international markets through Acadian’s extensive global network, Mr Keogh said.

Currently, harvesters are paid €55 a tonne for Ascophyllum nodosum.

Some 50 per cent of the Cill Chiaráin plant’s stock is sold on the domestic market, and 50 per cent goes for export, Mr Keogh said.

He confirmed there were large quantities still in storage due to this year’s bumper harvest, but this was a “normal” part of the cycle, he said.

The company, which employs 24 people directly, is currently on a three-day working week.

Arramara Teo, formerly State-owned, was founded in 1947 and was purchased by Canadian multinational Acadian Seaplants six years ago.

The planned upgrade at the Cill Chiaráin plant will take about four weeks and will begin February, Mr Keogh said.

“ This investment is one of the founding pieces in the planned operational expansion of Arramara Teo, which will have far-reaching economic benefits within the local community and west coast of Ireland,” he said.

Published in Aquaculture
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Three Irish consortiums have been awarded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts by the Marine Institute and Enterprise Ireland to develop Ireland’s intertidal seaweed resource.

The Phase 1 ‘Challenge’ contracts will run over four months, and will involve scientific observations by satellite, drone and light aircraft to produce accurate estimates of seaweed distribution and biomass, and improve our understanding of Ireland’s coastal marine habitat and ecosystems.

Successful projects may then proceed to scaled-up demonstrations and wider regional resource mapping during 2021.

The move is in response to increasing demand at home and abroad for seaweed and seaweed-based products — from fertilisers and animal feed to cosmetics, medicines and food.

It is estimated that 32 countries actively harvest over 800,000 tonnes from wild stocks and natural beds annually. And in Ireland, the Marine Institute says commercial interest in the sector is growing.

Mick Gillooly, director of oceans, climate and information services at the Marine Institute, says: “With increasing awareness of the economic value of seaweed, mapping the extent of this resource is vital for sustainable management decisions.

“This is an exciting collaboration between industry, small business and research institutions, which will utilise the latest innovations and the expertise of Ireland’s national seabed mapping programme INFOMAR.”

Ireland’s seaweed resource

Among the three consortiums in receipt of these contracts are four SMEs, two research groups and two industry partners.

Supported by IT Carlow, Aerial Agri Tech bring their drone mapping expertise from the terrestrial to the marine domain with industry partner Bláth na Mara (Aran Islands Seaweed).

Fathom, a business technology consulting company based in Dublin, has partnered with Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway and Arramara Teo to focus on the potential for satellite data augmented by ‘groundtruthing’ (direct observations on the ground).

Meanwhile, Techworks Marine, a provider of oceanographic solutions to monitor the marine environment, has teamed up with GeoAerospace — a geospatial information technology company with expertise in space-borne and airborne remote sensing, cloud platforms and machine learning — and with NUI Galway’s School of Botany and Plant Science.

Phase one will see the three groups develop their projects and feasibility plans. Pending evaluation in early 2021, either one or two consortiums will receive further funding to move into Phase 2A — eight months to demonstrate proof of scalability and lay out a path to commercialisation.

Successful partnerships will have the potential to develop a niche coastal habitat mapping service that could be used to tackle marine pollution, harmful algal blooms or invasive species.

Published in Coastal Notes
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The spotlight is on seaweed and other renewable biological resources this week for Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2020 — which begins today, Monday 19 October.

A series of online events from leading stakeholders within the Irish Bioeconomy Network will showcase resources sourced sustainably from land and sea which, along with their byproducts, are later converted into “value-added bio-based products” such as proteins, feeds, fertilisers, plastics and energy.

Marine-related highlights of the week include the launch of Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM) report on ‘Scoping a Seaweed Bio-refinery Concept for Ireland’ this Thursday 22 October, and Friday’s online workshop on ‘Sustainable Seaweed’ organised by Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Industry representatives say the bioeconomy has the potential to create new sustainable opportunities for farmers, and lead to the creation of high-quality green jobs in rural and coastal areas.

Noting the “unprecedented and difficult position” resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Minister of State Martin Heydon says: “We have the opportunity to reformulate our economy and the bioeconomy provides opportunities to rebuild and restructure in a green sustainable and circular way for our primary producers, as well as the agri-food, marine, forestry, waste management, energy, construction, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. We must build back better.”

Minister Heydon also joined Environment Minister Eamom Ryan in announcing the launch of the National Bioeconomy Forum.

This forum intends to provide a voice for the bioeconomy industry, relevant state bodies and community groups, as well as “promote, support and advocate for the sustainable development of the bioeconomy in Ireland”.

For full list of events taking place this week, registration for access and for more information of Bioeconomy Ireland, visit the website at www.irishbioeconomy.ie

Published in Coastal Notes

Scientists in West Cork are reporting significant results in use of a type of red seaweed to reduce methane emissions in cattle.

Cuts of between 40 and 98 per cent in emissions have already been achieved in trials in the US, Australia and New Zealand, Bantry Marine Research Station has told The Farmers’ Journal and The Irish Independent.

The West Cork research station, which is now owned by veterinary pharmaceuticals company Bimeda, has been testing effectiveness of red seaweed species Asparagopsis armata in animal feed here.

Canadian scientist Dr Rob Kinley, who pioneered research on its use with the Australian Common Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has been collaborating with the Bantry station, managed by David O’Neill.

Asparagopsis armata which was discovered in Irish waters about 60 years ago and cultivated in the late 1990s in Ard Bay, Co Galway by research company Taighde Mara Teo, would have to be farmed here to meet sufficient quantities, O’Neill points out.

Asparagopsis armata was discovered in Irish waters about 60 years ago

He estimates animals fed with the constituent here could reduce emissions by 50 to 60 per cent.

The marine research company is co-operating with Udaras na Gaeltachta and Teagasc, and hopes to raise funds for more animal trials.

Údaras na Gaeltachta director of enterprise, employment and property Dr Mark White said there could be a double benefit for both farmers and climate change targets if the Bantry station’s work on the red seaweed additive does prove fruitful.

Teagasc principal research officer Prof Sinead Waters, who is also adjunct professor at the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, said that while initial results from Australia and elsewhere are positive, “further research is warranted”.

Dee McElligott examines the red seaweed Asparagopsis armata in tests at Bantry marine research station, Co CorkDee McElligott examines the red seaweed Asparagopsis armata in tests at Bantry marine research station, Co Cork

Prof Waters and Teagasc colleague Dr Maria Hayes, are involved in two projects testing various feed additives to reduce methane - “Meth-Abate” funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, and “SeaSolutions” an EU- funded project with other Irish, EU and Canadian partners.

“There are a lot of caveats, such as bromoform, a compound within seaweed which is a known to reduce methane emissions but is also a known carcinogen. We need to ensure that if seaweed is fed to ruminants that no bromoform or other residues appear in the end meat and milk products,” Prof Waters said.

For more, read The Farmers’ Journal and The Irish Independent reports here

Published in Marine Science
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Nitrates and phosphates from intensified agriculture are a significant cause of so-called green and red tides in West Cork, according to a new report.

Dr Liam Morrison, one of the researchers behind the NUI Galway study, tells the Southern Star that more must be done to keep farm nutrients from flowing out to coastal areas where they feed the growth of red and green seaweed or sea lettuce blooms.

While these blooms currently pose no heath risk to humans, the report alleges that they cause issues for inshore navigation, sea angling and ultimately tourism.

However, the Irish Farmers’ Association says agriculture cannot be solely to blame — citing a reduction in seaweed blooms in areas where wastewater treatment schemes have been upgraded.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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#Seaweed - The State cannot licence seaweed harvesting in a era where harvesting rights already exist.

That is the official position of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, following “ongoing assessment of the legal interaction” between applications for licenses and existing seaweed harvesting rights around the Irish coast.

Speaking at the recent Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Galway, Minister of State Damien English said: “I have taken the necessary time to carefully consider all aspects of this issue and have met with a variety of interests across this sector. The position is that my department cannot licence seaweed harvesting in an area where there is an existing right to harvest seaweed.

“I have also clarified that existing seaweed rights holders can continue to exercise their right to harvest seaweed and do not require consent under the Foreshore Act although they must respect relevant national and European environmental legislation.”

Minister English said he has written to all of the existing applicants setting out the position, and would work with them to consider how it would impact on their applications.

“In the course of the consideration of these issues, I have had the welcome opportunity to meet many people in this sector and listen to their views. One of the things I took from these interactions is the great potential to develop the wild seaweed sector if we take the right decisions to realise it.

“I will be working with my colleagues to identify the most suitable body to develop and implement a strategy to underpin the development of this sector which will need to include a robust and transparent licensing system.”

BioAtlantis Aquamarine recently began mechanical harvesting of sub-tidal seaweed in Bantry Bay despite a High Court challenge to the project by environmental groups, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Mechanical harvesting of sub-tidal seaweed was set to begin today (Wednesday 4 July) in Bantry Bay.

Operations by BioAtlantis Aquamarine Ltd, using the Atlantis Explorer (Callsugn EIPQ2) are expected to continue for the duration of the licence until 2024. Harvesting will take place in Areas A, B, C, D and E of the licence area, details of which are included in Marine Notice No 29 of 2018, available to read or download HERE.

The harvesting operations are proceeding despite a High Court challenge to the project by a number of environmental groups, according to The Irish Times.

The High Court has granted a judicial review of the licence awarded in November last year, and opposed by the Bantry Bay - Save Our Kelp Forests group, among others, for its alleged potential to “irreversible damage to the ecosystem and businesses of the Bantry Bay area”.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#CoastalNotes - While Bantry Bay prepares to open up as a maritime hub for Ireland’s South West, local coastal residents are expressing concern over the first State licence for the mechanical harvesting of seaweed.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Kerry-based BioAtlantis secured the licence after a five-year application process — but now faces growing opposition from local communities, many of which have hand-harvested seaweed for hundreds of years, who claim lack of consultation over the plans.

Pantry resident Deirdre Fitzgerald said the issue only came to wider public attention earlier this year, when an episode of RTÉ One’s Eco Eye detailed the planned harvest of nearly 2,000 acres of kelp forest.

“We have white tailed eagles resident in the bay, whales, dolphins, seals, otters, and so many bird species that rely on this bay for food,” she told the Irish Examiner. “What will be the impact on juvenile fish as a food source for all these species once this kelp is removed from the bay?”

However, BioAtlantis chief executive John T O’Sullivan said “everything was done by the book” in relation to its application process. The Irish Examiner has much more on this story HERE.

In other coastal news, objectors to Galway Bay’s marine energy test site have questioned the legality of the foreshore lease application, pointing out that a number of key documents were not included, according to the Connacht Tribune.

The same newspaper also reports on claims of “outrageous” public expenditure on the now-shelved Galway Bay fish farm project, a controversial scheme that cost the State more than half a million euro.

Published in Coastal Notes
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#Seaweed - Could breathing in the iodine released by seaweed on Ireland's coasts be improving our health?

The answer is quite possibly, according to new research as reported in The Irish Times this week.

Scientists at UCD and NUI Galway have concluded that iodine levels are highest among those regularly breathing coastal air rich in seaweed, which concentrates iodine from seawater.

Their paper in the Irish Medical Journal was informed by two decades of studies in three different environments in Ireland: coastal cities (Dublin, Belfast, Galway), inland areas (Mullingar and Dungannon) and seaweed-rich Carna in Co Galway, where almost half the population has iodine intake above the WHO recommended level.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#CoastalNotes - The rights of coastal communities involved in the likes of small-scale fishing and seaweed harvesting must be respected in any 'Blue Growth' strategy, a UN expert has said.

The Irish Times reports on comments made by UN fisheries chief Dr Rebecca Metzner upon her visit to Galway this week, where she heard the concerns of inshore fishermen who have protested against large-scale fish farming.

Local campaigners breathed relief in December when Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) withdrew its application for what would have been the largest organic salmon farm in Europe, based off the Aran Islands in Galway Bay.

While recognising that aquaculture is required to "fill the gap" in the growing global demand for seafood, Dr Metzner emphasised that dialogue over shared access between local communities and larger commercial interests should be fundamental to any such plans.

She also heard from Connemara seaweed harvesters, who fear the loss of access to the coastline over legislation that may allow harvesting rights to be snapped up by much bigger State-owned enterprises – a situation the Government promised to review two years ago.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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About Dublin Port 

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with the capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructures such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

Dublin Port FAQ

Dublin was little more than a monastic settlement until the Norse invasion in the 8th and 9th centuries when they selected the Liffey Estuary as their point of entry to the country as it provided relatively easy access to the central plains of Ireland. Trading with England and Europe followed which required port facilities, so the development of Dublin Port is inextricably linked to the development of Dublin City, so it is fair to say the origins of the Port go back over one thousand years. As a result, the modern organisation Dublin Port has a long and remarkable history, dating back over 300 years from 1707.

The original Port of Dublin was situated upriver, a few miles from its current location near the modern Civic Offices at Wood Quay and close to Christchurch Cathedral. The Port remained close to that area until the new Custom House opened in the 1790s. In medieval times Dublin shipped cattle hides to Britain and the continent, and the returning ships carried wine, pottery and other goods.

510 acres. The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the central part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the Port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay.

Dublin Port Company is a State-owned commercial company responsible for operating and developing Dublin Port.

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, and profitable private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland's premier Port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the Port.

Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny of the Bounty fame) was a visitor to Dublin in 1800, and his visit to the capital had a lasting effect on the Port. Bligh's study of the currents in Dublin Bay provided the basis for the construction of the North Wall. This undertaking led to the growth of Bull Island to its present size.

Yes. Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland. It handles almost 50% of all trade in the Republic of Ireland.

All cargo handling activities being carried out by private sector companies operating in intensely competitive markets within the Port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Eamonn O'Reilly is the Dublin Port Chief Executive.

Capt. Michael McKenna is the Dublin Port Harbour Master

In 2019, 1,949,229 people came through the Port.

In 2019, there were 158 cruise liner visits.

In 2019, 9.4 million gross tonnes of exports were handled by Dublin Port.

In 2019, there were 7,898 ship arrivals.

In 2019, there was a gross tonnage of 38.1 million.

In 2019, there were 559,506 tourist vehicles.

There were 98,897 lorries in 2019

Boats can navigate the River Liffey into Dublin by using the navigational guidelines. Find the guidelines on this page here.

VHF channel 12. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port typically have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They "listen out" on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port's jurisdiction.

A Dublin Bay webcam showing the south of the Bay at Dun Laoghaire and a distant view of Dublin Port Shipping is here
Dublin Port is creating a distributed museum on its lands in Dublin City.
 A Liffey Tolka Project cycle and pedestrian way is the key to link the elements of this distributed museum together.  The distributed museum starts at the Diving Bell and, over the course of 6.3km, will give Dubliners a real sense of the City, the Port and the Bay.  For visitors, it will be a unique eye-opening stroll and vista through and alongside one of Europe’s busiest ports:  Diving Bell along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, past the Scherzer Bridge and down the North Wall Quay campshire to Berth 18 - 1.2 km.   Liffey Tolka Project - Tree-lined pedestrian and cycle route between the River Liffey and the Tolka Estuary - 1.4 km with a 300-metre spur along Alexandra Road to The Pumphouse (to be completed by Q1 2021) and another 200 metres to The Flour Mill.   Tolka Estuary Greenway - Construction of Phase 1 (1.9 km) starts in December 2020 and will be completed by Spring 2022.  Phase 2 (1.3 km) will be delivered within the following five years.  The Pumphouse is a heritage zone being created as part of the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.  The first phase of 1.6 acres will be completed in early 2021 and will include historical port equipment and buildings and a large open space for exhibitions and performances.  It will be expanded in a subsequent phase to incorporate the Victorian Graving Dock No. 1 which will be excavated and revealed. 
 The largest component of the distributed museum will be The Flour Mill.  This involves the redevelopment of the former Odlums Flour Mill on Alexandra Road based on a masterplan completed by Grafton Architects to provide a mix of port operational uses, a National Maritime Archive, two 300 seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.   The Flour Mill will be developed in stages over the remaining twenty years of Masterplan 2040 alongside major port infrastructure projects.

Source: Dublin Port Company ©Afloat 2020. 

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