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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

#MarineWildlife - A retired coastguard volunteer has spoken of the “amazing” experience of helping a stranded whale to safety in Northern Ireland on Tuesday (3 October).

As BBC News reports, commercial diver John Lowry diverted from his commute home to the scene, on a sandbank near Newcastle promenade in Co Down, and immediately set to work.

“The first thing I did was to try and get the head of the whale pointed out to sea, so that if I could get him to move that he was going directly out to sea,” he said, explaining how minke whales are easily disoriented when stranded.

Lowry spent up to 15 minutes slowly and painstakingly urging the whale forward with each small wave — until finally it kicked into deeper water, much to the delight of locals and children who were watching the ordeal.

However, Lowry offered a word of caution for anyone else thinking of attempting a similar rescue.

“Don't approach [a whale] unless you have experience of this kind of thing, because they are very powerful,” said the Newcastle man, who previously helped save a beached whale when he served with South Down Coastguard.

In other news, a whale died in the waters between Ireland and Scotland coast after getting entangled in a rope — the first such recorded occurrence in 25 years.

According to Deadline News, the Northern Bottlenose whale — a species rarely sighted in the waters of the continental shelf — was found with wounds caused by rope, and is though to have drowned before it washed up at Ardentinny in Western Scotland in late September.

“Entanglement is known to be a global problem particularly for large whales,” says the Scottish Marine Stranding Scheme.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Kayaking - A Northern Irish businessman has spoken out over what he claims is lack of support from the Alliance Party for an indoor kayaking facility in East Belfast.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, jewellery retail entrepreneur Peter Boyle says he expects a refusal of his application to retain a marquee at a restored 50-yard pool in the grounds of Ormiston House, currently being used by the Belfast Kayaking Academy.

Boyle claims that Alliance Party leader and MLA Chris Lyttle took concerns from a local group objecting to the kayaking facility directly to the planning officer.

“We were a bit annoyed that Alliance hadn’t spoken to us first,” he told the Telegraph. “While there was a group of local people objecting, there was also significant local support.”

Boyle adds that his ire was raise by a subsequent Alliance newsletter that pledged support for sport in East Belfast.

“Our point was that this pool was meant to be a community facility and should be within the community it serves,” he said.

A solicitor for the Alliance Party has however branded Boyle’s claims as “spurious, innacurate, bizzae [and] false”, listing a number of planning enforcement cases against Boyle over alleged unauthorised works on the grounds of Ormiston House.

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Kayaking

#Surfing - “It was just… nothing. There is only blackness.”

That’s how Scottish surfer Matthew Bryce describes his terrifying ordeal adrift on his board in the North Channel for 32 hours.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the 23-year-old recently returned to Campbelltown in Argyll a month after what was supposed to be a morning riding the waves turned into a nightmare.

The young man was finally rescued from the sea off Northern Ireland on 1 May, more than a day after getting pulled away from the shore, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Bryce expressed his appreciation to the local RNLI and coastguard teams, who worked with their counterparts in Northern Ireland to search the sea by boat and air.

He also appealed to anyone else going surfing to avoid the mistakes he made in surfing alone, without GPS or means to contact anyone on shore.

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
Tagged under

#Rescue - Coastguard units from Ballycastle and Coleraine were tasked on Friday night (26 May) to the aid of a dog fell more than 30 feet off a cliff near the Giant’s Causeway in Co Antrim.

The coastguard teams used their specialist rope rescue equipment to lower a technician down the cliff to secure Bell the springer spaniel and lift her up to her grateful owners.

Belfast Coastguard reminds anyone with pets on or near the water to keep them on leads, especially close to cliffs. If an accident should happen, don't attempt a rescue yourself – always call the coastguard who are trained for the purpose.

In other news from the North Coast, the iconic Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is closed until further notice after vandals attempted to cut it down.

TheJournal.ie has more on the incident last week, as the National Trust awaits investigation by structural engineers to determine the extent of the damage to the coastal tourism attraction.

Published in Rescue

#MarineScience - Scientists from Northern Ireland will lead a new project monitoring whale and dolphin sounds off the Scottish and Irish coasts, as BBC News reports.

The scheme led by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) will see a network of buoys deployed with devices to pick up cetacean chatter – as well as potentially harmful ocean sounds from sea traffic or industry.

"Displacement from noise is a very real effect and ... if it doesn't cause them to move will change their behaviours and, at the most acute levels, can cause physical and physiological damage to the animals,” says Dr Adam Mellor of the AFBI.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineWildlife - The RSPB has welcomed the announcement of new marine protected areas for Northern Ireland this week.

“The formal designation of four new marine protected areas will help protect a range of vulnerable species and habitats - ranging from black guillemots to ocean quahog and seagrass meadows,” the wildlife charity said in a statement.

Among the new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) announced by Storming is an area near Rathlin Island off Co Antrim that’s the first in the UK to be set aside for a seabird species, the amber-listed black guillemot.

The other new zones announced include seagrass meadows in Waterfoot, also in Co Antrim, and the fragile ecosystem for sea pens in Carlingford Lough.

Also included among the new MCZs is the territory of ocean quahogs in outer Belfast Lough.

According to The Irish News, these clams are thought to have been thriving in the waters near the city for over 200 years - and individual clams could live for hundreds more.

The Stormont announcement comes a year after the new zones were first proposed for public consultation, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Angling - Northern Ireland’s new online fishing permit application system has “transformed” the industry, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The new NI government web portal, designed by Belfast firm Kainos with BT, enables anglers and commercial fishermen to apply for a range of permits and licences with the Inland Fisheries Group via a single channel.

Underpinning the service is a “shared management information system” that means less paperwork and increased efficiency for users and local permit providers alike.

Earlier this year, all paper-based angling permits in Northern Ireland were replaced by electronic records, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Pollution and poaching are a growing concern for anglers in the Carlingford and Lough Foyle areas, as Derek Evans reports in his latest Angling Notes for The Irish Times.

New figures from the Loughs Agency reveal a significant raise in pollution, the worst incident of which occurred this past August when hundreds of salmon fry were lost in a fish kill on the River Faughan, according to the Derry Journal.

In addition, the Loughs Agency report informed NI Environment Minister Michelle McIlveen of almost double the number of fishing gear seizures this year compared to 2015, as well as a sharp rise in court actions.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#BanríonUladh - A Northern Irish minister has sailed into stormy waters after rechristening a fisheries protection vessel from its Irish name to its English translation, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Banrion Uladh — which patrols the Irish Sea between Lough Foyle and Anglesey in North Wales — is now Queen of Ulster after the change by Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen, whose DUP expressed upset over the original naming of the vessel by then minister Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Féin in 2010.

The renaming, which was carried out during scheduled repairs, is cited as part of a move by Minister McIlveen’s department to a single-language policy in the new Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Trident - Trident won't be coming to Northern Ireland - as there are no waters deep enough to host the nuclear deterrent submarines, according to one MLA.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, Ulster Unionist MLA Steve Aiken says that from his own experience, the region has no suitable deepwater ports or inlets necessary for the 150m-long Vanguard-class submarines in the Trident programme, which are currently stationed off western Scotland.

"It's not deep enough, we can't do it," he said. "I tried to bring my submarine, HMS Sovereign, to Belfast towards the end of its time.

"Because you need deep water at all states of the tide, even though entrance to Belfast Lough is dredged to 10 metres, it's not deep enough.

"You can't bring it into Larne because there is a rock sill coming into Larne Lough which you would have to blast out; same for Carlingford Lough, and Lough Foyle is too shallow."

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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