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#MarineNotice - The Marine Institute advises that the annual Irish Groundfish Survey (IGFS2017) is being carried out off the South and West coasts of Ireland till Saturday 9 December in fulfilment of Ireland's Common Fisheries Policy obligations.

The IGFS is a demersal trawl survey consisting of approximately 125 fishing hauls of 30 min duration each in ICES area VIIb, VIIg and VIIj.

Fishing in 2017 is taking place within a two nautical mile radius of these indicative positions, the approximate locations of which are noted in Marine Notice No 55 of 2017.

As with last month's survey off the North West, the operation is being conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign EIGB).

The vessel is displaying all appropriate lights and signals during the survey and is also listening on VHF Channel 16. It is towing a high headline GOV 36/47 demersal trawl during fishing operations.

Commercial fishing and other marine operators are requested keep a two nautical mile area around the tow points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period.

Published in Fishing

#MarineNotice - The Marine Institute advises that the annual Irish Groundfish Survey (IGFS2017) will be carried out off the North West Coast of Ireland between Tuesday 3 and Saturday 14 October, in fulfilment of Ireland’s Common Fisheries Policy obligations.

The IGFS is a demersal trawl survey consisting of approximately 45 fishing hauls of 30 minutes duration each in ICES area VIa. Fishing in 2017 will take place within a two nautical mile radius of these 45 positions, the approximate locations of which are noted in Marine Notice No 39 of 2017.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign: EIGB), which will display all appropriate lights and signals during the survey and will also be listening on VHF Channel 16. The vessel will be towing a high headline GOV 36/47 demersal trawl during fishing operations.

This survey is to determine the relative annual abundance and distribution of commercially exploited fish stocks, in particular assessment of recent recruitment. In addition, other species of national importance are sampled along with physical and chemical oceanographic parameters.

The Marine Institute requests that commercial fishing and other marine operators keep a two nautical mile area around the tow points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period outlined above.

While there is no statutory provision for the loss of gear at sea, the Marine Institute will make every effort to avoid gear, adequately marked according to legislation, that may be encountered in the notified areas. In the event that an operator has static gear or other obstructions within 2nm of the trawl points, it is the responsibility of the owner to notify the survey managers or vessel directly.

This should be communicated by identifying specifically which ‘Prime Station’ is of concern using the appendix and contact details provided in Marine Notice No 39 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

It is not required to provide positional details of commercial operations beyond 3-4nm of the survey points provided. Specifics of any fishing gear or other obstructions that are known and cannot be kept clear of these survey haul locations can be notified using the contact details provided in the above Marine Notice.

Published in Fishing

#SeaFest - Students from fourth class at Cregmore NS recently visited the RV Celtic Explorer in Galway Docks as part of their marine science and art project building up to SeaFest, Ireland’s national maritime festival.

Afloat.ie previously reported on the project, which places art, marine science and technology in the heart of the classroom in a re-enactment of the discovery of the Moytirra deep-sea hydrothermal vents in 2011.

On board the RV Celtic Explorer, up to 20 pupils experienced what it might be like to participate in an expedition at sea, as well as witness first-hand some of the equipment used in deep-sea exploration.

During the tour, led by Rosemarie Butler and Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Marine Institute, the children learned about the recent climate survey of the mid-Atlantic and met with marine scientist Dr Louise Allcock of NUI Galway, who is studying cold water corals and sponges off the Irish continental shelf.

The students were also introduced to Paddy O’Driscoll, pilot of the unmanned ROV Holland I, who gave a live demonstration of how parts of the remotely operated submersible work.

“The enthusiasm the children showed about the ocean during their tour of the Celtic Explorer highlighted the importance of how school projects adopting different disciplines can be used in class in a very real and exciting way,” said Dromgool-Regan.

“The children’s high level of understanding about the ocean gained through the art and marine science project, where they discussed the geology of the ocean floor, concepts of climate change, along with deep sea creatures rarely seen by humans is a testament to the artists, scientists and teachers involved.”

Cregmore NS’s fourth class project, entitled Build Your Own Unknown, culminates with a film recreating the Moytirra vent discovery that will be premiered in the Kids Zone at Seafest 2017 before touring various education outreach centres around Ireland.

The RV Celtic Explorer will also be in Galway Docks for SeaFest with free tours available over the weekend from Friday 30 June to Sunday 2 July.

Visitors can keep track of all the activities taking place over the three-day festival with he new SeaFest Festival Guide app for iOS and Android devices.

Covering all of the events at the festival, the app contains the full programme of events, maps and directions, latest news, visitor info and social media feeds.

It also features an interactive 'My Favourites' list where users can add in their preferred festival events and create their own unique 'My Map' with all of the locations.

Snap-happy festival-goers can enter the Gallery Competition on the app by uploading a photo of their time at SeaFest — two lucky entrants will win a €100 One4All gift card.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MarineScience - Marine scientist and researcher Dr Louise Allcock from NUI Galway is leading a team of 10 university researchers and students on a two-week deep-sea expedition researching cold water corals and sponges.

The team — who can be followed on the [email protected] blog – are currently exploring the Whittard Canyon, located 200 nautical miles south-west of Ireland at the edge of the continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer, which recently returned from a climate change ‘health check’ of the Atlantic.

And the researchers are making extensive use of the Marine Institute’s ROV Holland I, deployed into areas where the sea floor rapidly drops from around 300m down to 3,000m.

“The researchers and students are seeing for the first time corals and sponges covering an area around the Whittard Canyon, Porcupine Seabight, Gollum Channel and the Belgica Mounds in Irish waters,” said Dr Olivier Thomas, a professor of marine biodiscovery at NUI Galway and co-ordinator of the National Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory located at the Marine Institute.

Dr Allcock added: “Using the ROV’s robotic and lighting capabilities, we are able to manoeuvre the Holland I, which is comparable to the size of a mini-van, through the water, and use its arms and clasps, which are like hands, to take small samples of corals, sponges and other specimens from extremely hostile parts of the ocean floor where there is no natural light and tremendous ocean pressure.”

By analysing past research relating to sponges and corals, Dr Allcock explained that her team “are able to see that some species are better target groups than others in having antimicrobial or anti-cancer properties.

“Based on this information we are building mathematical models to predict the likelihood of any given species yielding a novel natural product, along with developing species distribution maps of corals and sponges on the deep-sea floor, so that we know the best places to go searching.”

When the research team returns from sea, they work with the national marine biodiscovery lab at the Marine Institute. The chemists at NUI Galway extract the chemical compounds from all of the samples of sponges and corals to see if they have drug-like characteristics such as anti-cancer or antimicrobial properties that can be used for novel drugs to combat human illnesses.

“Chemists involved in biodiscovery research only need small quantities of any organism to develop a new drug, because once a suitable compound is identified, it can be synthesised in the lab, which can then be used in drugs to combat human diseases,” said Dr Thomas.

The ROV Holland I provides high definition continuous video footage of the deep seafloor as it is being used to collect samples.

“Going back through footage after the expedition enables us to further analyse the location recording of all the corals and sponges,” said Dr Allcock. “This improves future predictions of where else we might find similar specimens and also allows us to provide data to inform conservation policy so that we make sure that important ‘hotspots’ rich in corals and sponges are preserved.”

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan was enthusiastic about the mission’s prospects.

“These are exciting times to be a marine researcher as marine scientists around the world have discovered more species in the ocean in the last ten years than ever before, with an average of 2,000 new discoveries each year,” he said.

“In Ireland we are contributing to building on this wealth of valuable information and sharing the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the Atlantic Ocean.”

This survey is being undertaken as part of a five-year project on ‘Exploiting and conserving deep-sea genetic resources’ at NUI Galway, co-funded by the Science Foundation Ireland and Marine Institute.

The National Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory project brings together six of the country’s leading marine researchers across a range of disciplines from NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Cork to study how marine substances might in future be used to make ingredients for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and functional foods.

Published in Marine Science

#RVCelticExplorer - Pay a visit on board Ireland’s national marine research vessel wherever you are, thanks to a new immersive 360-degree virtual tour of the RV Celtic Explorer courtesy of the Marine Institute.

Conor Purcell writes in New Scientist on the top attractions aboard the busy marine science vessel, including its wet and dry labs, the tech-filled bridge, its sensor-studded drop keel and even the chief scientist’s cabin.

The RV Celtic Explorer most recently returned from its ‘health check’ of the Atlantic Ocean, which suggests a greater penetration of CFCs in the deeper ocean since the late 1990s.

If this tour whets your appetite, you can still pay a virtual visit to Hook Lighthouse among other coastal locations in Ireland.

Published in Marine Science

#ClimateChange - Preliminary results from the recent ‘health check’ of the Atlantic Ocean suggest a greater penetration of manmade chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) further into the deeper ocean since 20 years ago.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, an Irish-led international team of marine scientists from six countries set out from Newfoundland on 27 April on board the RV Celtic Explorer, to survey a transect of the Atlantic last measured two decades ago and investigate the impact of climate change on the deep ocean.

Explaining the team’s findings, Dr Evin McGovern of the Marine Institute and principal investigator on the GO-SHIP A02 survey said: “Although these chemicals have been phased out, they remain in the atmosphere and enter the ocean, where over time, they travel to the deep ocean.

“We measure the CFCs to tell the age of the water masses in the deep ocean and this helps us assess the uptake of fossil fuel carbon from the atmosphere and penetration into the deep ocean.”

The survey formed part of the Global Oceans Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Programme (GO-SHIP), which carries out systematic and global surveys of select hydrographic sections, through an international consortium of 16 countries and laboratories.

This was the first GO-SHIP survey to involve such a level of collaboration, with scientists from 10 leading universities and research institutes representing six countries.

Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers visited the RV Celtic Explorer to meet the team in Galway following their arrival on Monday 22 May.

“This survey is a wonderful example of the Galway Statement in action as well as the longstanding collaboration on marine research between Ireland and Canada,” he said.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan added that the expedition’s scientists “are contributing to addressing some of the biggest questions for society and our interaction with our planet.”

Find out more about the survey on the [email protected] blog, where the GO-SHIP team aboard the RV Celtic Explorer recorded their work and experiences.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - An international team of marine scientists from six countries are currently sailing on Ireland’s national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer on a transatlantic voyage to study the impact of climate change on the ocean.

Departing from St John’s in Newfoundland on Thursday 27 April — after launching the miniature yacht Lancer a few days previously — and due to arrive in Galway on 23 May, the Marine Institute-led team of experts are surveying a transect of the Atlantic Ocean last surveyed 20 years ago to investigate carbon dioxide levels in the ocean.

The survey is essential to understand and project how carbon dioxide emissions are accumulated in the oceans and the atmosphere, as well as its effects on the acidification of the ocean.

The survey is part of the Global Oceans Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP), which carries out systematic and global surveys of select hydrographic sections, through an international consortium of 16 countries and laboratories.

This is the first GO-SHIP survey to involve this level of collaboration with scientists from ten leading universities and research institutes representing six countries joining the survey.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan said: “The Marine Institute is proud to lead this truly international collaboration. This GO-SHIP A02 survey is a very real example of the Galway Statement in action: working together to better understand and increase our knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean and its dynamic systems, and promoting the sustainable management of its resources.”

The Galway Statement, signed at the Marine Institute 24 May 2013, launched the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance between the EU, Canada and the USA.

The survey is co-ordinated by the Marine Institute and NUI Galway with research partners in Dalhousie University and Fisheries and Oceans, Canada; University of Exeter, United Kingdom; GEOMAR, Germany; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Columbia University, USA; and Aarhus University, Denmark.

“Ship-based surveys are still the only way to collect the best quality measurements of fundamental physical, chemical and biological properties known as Essential Ocean Variables,” said Dr Evin McGovern of the Marine Institute and principal investigator on the GO-SHIP A02 survey.

“Although technology has provided many new methods to collect ocean measurements, there’s really no substitute for going out on the ocean on a research vessel.

“We can use satellite technology to look at certain properties the ocean surface and can deploy autonomous argo floats to take some measurements to depths of 2000, but we need to carry out ocean surveys that can measure to get a complete picture of the chemistry of the ocean at different depths up to 5,000m.

“The transect we are surveying is a really dynamic area of the Atlantic for heat transport and carbon uptake and is hugely important to informing our understanding of our global climate and how the ocean regulates our climate,” added Dr McGovern.

“The Northwest Atlantic is one of the world’s largest sinks of carbon dioxide and despite progress in our understanding there’s still a huge lack of data as it relates to climate change’s impact on the ocean and what that means for the economy and society,” said Brad de Young, a professor of physics and physical oceanography at Memorial University, Newfoundland and an Ocean Frontier Institute researcher.

“Improving our scientific understanding and developing strategic and effective solutions for safe and sustainable ocean development requires sharing of expertise, international co-operation and exchange of data and best practices. And that’s what this voyage is all about,” adds Doug Wallace, Canada Excellence research chair at Dalhousie University.

Published in Marine Science

#Lancer - The Marine Institute has posted video of the successful launch of the unmanned yacht Lancer in the Atlantic this past weekend.

The miniature marine research vessel was released from the RV Celtic Explorer on Saturday 22 April in the middle of the Atlantic, in the hopes of it catching either the Irminger current (to take it north towards Greenland) or the Canary current (to carry it southwards towards Africa).

According to the most recent fix via the online GPS tracker, Lancer indeed appears to be headed north to continue its mission.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the boat was seen off from Galway by Méabh Ní Ghionnáin, who found the vessel beached near her home in Connemara last September.

The eight-year-old since met with Kaitlyn Dow, the Connecticut high schooler who launched the vessel as part of a year-long science project studying ocean winds and currents.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

Méabh Ní Ghionnáin from Droim, Leitir Móir, Galway met with the Marine Institute’s scientists and crew on the RV Celtic Explorer today on her 9th birthday (18th April) to see the loading of the 1 ½ metre Lancer unmanned sailboat onto the research vessel, where it will be deployed into the middle of the Atlantic ocean during its transatlantic voyage to St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

As Afloat.ie previously reported, nine months ago, in September 2016, Méabh found the Lancer boat washed ashore on her local beach after it had travelled across the Atlantic as part of a year-long research project that 18 year old Kaitlyn Dow from Connecticut, USA had undertaken. Kaitlyn had launched the boat from the USA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research ship called the Neil Armstrong off the coast of Cape Cod earlier in May 2016. The boat was fitted with a GPS tracker and she studied its movements across the north Atlantic.

The boat successfully crossed the Atlantic on its own following the winds and currents to Ireland, and was eventually washed ashore in the Conamara County Galway, where it was found by Méabh Ní Ghionnáin, a resident of Droim, Leitir Móir. The Lancer Boat has since been repaired by Ciaran Oliver and James Rattigan from Port of Galway Sea Scouts and it is now going to be relaunched from the Marine Institute’s research vessel RV Celtic Explorer on its voyage across the North Atlantic.

Dr Margret Rae, of the Marine Institute’s and the Manager of the Canadian-EU-USA Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA-CSA), explained that the crew will deploy the Lancer boat on the 22nd April from the RV Celtic Explorer during its nine day voyage. “We hope the unmanned Lancer boat will catch the Irminger current and take it northwards towards Greenland, or the Canary current and take it southwards towards Africa.” The Irminger Current is a north Atlantic ocean current setting westward off the southwest coast of Iceland and can be tracked using the GPS at: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/drifter/drift_whs_2016_1.html

“It is also likely that we will get to see more of the mini boats like the Lancer landing in Ireland over the coming year. The transatlantic funded programme AORA-CSA formed a partnership in 2016 with Dick Baldwin’s Educational Passages mini-sailboats in the USA, and together are running an Atlantic Mini-boat Regatta: ‘Around the Atlantic – Our Shared Resource’. The project aims to further promote ocean literacy recognising the importance of the ocean and how it has an impact on our daily lives,” said Dr Rae.

AORA-CSA aims to promote the understanding of the value of the Atlantic Ocean by promoting transatlantic international marine research cooperation – all stemming from the historic Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation signed in Galway, Ireland in 2013. “Stories like Meabh and Kaitlan’s is a wonderful example of both marine science literacy and citizen engagement with the oceans – themes which are a priority for the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance between Canada, the EU and USA. Seeing new friendships formed across the Atlantic at an early age highlights the value of international partnerships that are essential for sharing marine science” said Dr Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.

With the Atlantic being the second largest ocean in the world, it is important to increase our awareness of the value, opportunities and societal benefits the ocean provides us," Dr Heffernan further said.The Atlantic Mini-boat Regatta is an exciting international demonstration of how results of ocean science and observation address pressing issues facing our citizens, the environment and the world and help to foster public understanding of the value of the Atlantic Ocean.

The research vessel RV Celtic Explorer is leaving from Galway on a transatlantic voyage to St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador where it will be testing new equipment for multi-beam mapping of the seabed in the middle of the Atlantic as part of the transatlantic AORA-CSA project. On the Research Vessels voyage back to Galway the Marine Institute and NUIGalway will be leading a team of international scientists completing a month transatlantic ocean climate survey – GOSHIP (Global Oceans Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Program), learning more about climate change and its impact on the ocean.

The GO-SHIP involves the Marine Institute Ireland, with NUIGalway and research partners in UK, Germany, Canada and the US, and is another important example of the transatlantic collaboration promoted by the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance between the EU, Canada and the USA

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

#MarineNotice - The Marine Institute advises that the annual Irish Groundfish Survey (IGFS2016) will be carried out off the South and West coasts of Ireland between Monday 14 November and Sunday 18 December in fulfilment of Ireland’s Common Fisheries Policy obligations.

The IGFS is a demersal trawl survey consisting of a minimum of 125 fishing hauls of 30 minutes duration each. Fishing in 2016 will take place within a 2nm radius of the positions indicated in Marine Notice 44 of 2016, available to read or download HERE.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign EIGB), which will display all appropriate lights and signals during the survey and will also be listening on VHF Channel 16. The vessel will be towing a high headline GOV 36/47 demersal trawl during fishing operations.

The Marine Institute requests that commercial fishing and other marine operators keep a 2nm area around the tow points clear of any gear or apparatus during the survey period.

While there is no statutory provision for the loss of gear at sea, the Marine Institute will make every effort to avoid gear adequately marked according to legislation that may be encountered in the notified areas.

In the event that an operator has static gear or other obstructions within 2nm of the points listed above it is the responsibility of the owner to notify the survey managers or vessel directly. This should be communicated by identifying specifically which ‘Prime Station’ is of concern using the appendix and contact details provided in the Marine Notice. It is not required to provide positional details of commercial operations beyond 3-4nm of the survey points provided.

Specifics of any fishing gear or other obstructions that are known and cannot be kept clear of these survey haul locations can be notified using the contact details provided in the Marine Notice.

Published in Fishing
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