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Galway Atlantaquaria is offering grants for five small-scale conservation projects related to marine and freshwater.

Projects should focus on education and engagement, native species and habitats, or involving a local community or community group, with a special focus on marine or freshwater.

“The primary aim of these grants is to support and encourage the next generation, or individuals already involved in this area of work, but struggling to fund the work they are doing,” the aquarium says.

It says it would also welcome novel projects based on art or music which use creative methods to engage audiences.

The Flowering Plants of Blackrock Pool Seagrass Project which received Small Conservation Grant funding in 2023The Flowering Plants of Blackrock Pool Seagrass Project which received Small Conservation Grant funding in 2023

The aquarium, which has one of the largest collections of native marine species, has close connections with the local shore on Grattan Beach and Salthill and a network of conservation and environmental groups, including the Irish Ocean Literacy Network.

The Sea Collective in Donegal, the Ray Project, Scoil Caitriona Junior Renmore Galway, and Sea Synergy in Waterville, Co Kerry, were among the successful applicants in 2023.

Also grant-aided last year was a collaboration of four coastal community organisations including Fenit Coast Conservation, which carried out “the Flowering Plants of the Black Rock Pool Seagrass” project.

The maximum value of an individual grant is €1000, the aquarium says.

“ In general, a project is expected to be completed within 2024, however projects that extend into 2025 are eligible,”it says.

Applications should be submitted by April 19th, 2024 at 1700 hours.

Applicants should use the Small Grant Application form which is located on the Aquarium website along with full details and criteria here

Final decisions on applications should be notified to applicants by May 2024, Galway Atlantaquaria says.

The Sea Collective Coastal Custodians Machaire Rabhartaigh Project, which received Small Conservation Grant funding in 2023The Sea Collective Coastal Custodians Machaire Rabhartaigh Project, which received Small Conservation Grant funding in 2023

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

Galway Atlantaquaria Ocean ambassadors and Clean Coasts volunteers have been recognised by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) for their “outstanding” work.

The association’s new “Zoo and Aquarium Hero” award is conferred on a “select few individuals who have made a special contribution to zoos and aquariums”.

Ultan McManus, Amelia Walker and Esmé McManus were praised for making an “incredible difference towards promoting ocean literacy.

They were also praised for their work on clean seas, both as Clean Coasts volunteers, and ocean literacy champions through effective participation; and storytelling through social media.

“We are honoured to be selected by BIAZA as recipients of this award. A special thanks to Garry Kendellan and the wonderful staff at Galway Atlantaquaria for the nomination,” Ultan McManus said.

“The aquarium is an invaluable resource on our doorstep; they do amazing work championing conservation and highlighting the importance of our marine ecosystems,” he said.

“Beach cleans help protect marine wildlife, reduce microplastics in our oceans, improve water quality, emphasise the significance of sustainability, and foster community engagement,”he said.

“ Our enthusiasm for volunteering has been spurred on by our concerns for the future of the planet; the extreme consequences of climate change and pollution are disastrous. Individually we can make a difference, but together we are a crucial force for change,” McManus said.

“ We are blessed to be surrounded by the beauty of Galway’s rugged coastline, but our geographical position on the west coast of Ireland leads to kilos of global marine debris, as well as local household waste, washing up on our shores. We want to preserve the enduring importance of Galway’s relationship with the sea for generations to come by “Leaving No Trace” and working to keep our beaches pristine,” he said.

“In 2017 our Clean Coasts group was cleaning Grattan Beach, and I met Ultan who was just walking along the beach,” Garry Kendellen of Galway Atlantaquaria recalled.

“He asked what we were doing, and he joined us for the beach clean-up. Ever since that day he has been a powerful advocate and supporter of the sea, joining beach cleans, setting up their own ones and telling a wonderful story about the importance of clean seas,” he said.

The trio were among 14 other volunteers across Britain and Ireland to receive the award. They join existing “heroes”, including fundraisers who supported zoos over the pandemic, and TV stars Aaron, Tyler and Cam Whitnall – hosts of CBBC’s One Zoo Three programme.

BIAZA chief executive Dr Jo Judge said the judges were “blown away by the dedication and innovative work of our winning Zoo and Aquarium Heroes”.

“These volunteers are giving up their time to help the zoo communities’ mission of protecting nature and creating a better world. Whether that is consistently caring for some of the world’s most wonderful animals or sharing their passion for nature on social media,” Judge said.

“The natural world is in crisis. It is a world that needs heroes more than ever before. We are so pleased to celebrate their achievements today,” Judge added.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

Using sponge slime to fight cancer and copying barnacle glue for surgery are among projects highlighted at a new exhibition focusing on the contribution of the marine environment to medical research.

The exhibition at Galway Atlantaquaria in Salthill, Galway, is hosted by Cúram, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for medical devices based at NUI Galway (NUIG)

Work by scientists on algae for controlled release of medicine is also outlined in the exhibition, which investigates “how marine-inspired medtech research can heal the body”.

Cúram’s research is focused on developing “innovative and smart medical devices and implants that will benefit patients with chronic ailments such as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neural diseases”.

Mayor of Galway City, Colette Connolly with Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI GalwayMayor of Galway City, Colette Connolly with Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon

Speaking at the opening this week, Professor Abhay Pandit, Cúram scientific director, said that “we look forward to continuing the collaboration and developing the exhibit and associated educational resources for schools and families over the coming years.”

“If we lose the biodiversity of our oceans, we also lose potential ways to help fight diseases. Keeping our oceans healthy helps us discover new ways of developing medical therapies, which, in turn, keeps us healthy,” Dr Sarah Gundy, Cúram’s coordinator of content development for the exhibit, said.

Galway Atlantaquaria director of education Dr Noirín Burke said that “the connection between the ocean’s health and our health cannot be overstated, and launching an exhibit which helps people explore this relationship is so important for the aquarium team.”

Set up in 2015, Cúram is based at NUIG. Its partner institutes include University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin City University, Athlone Institute of Technology and National Institute Bioprocessing Research and Training.

Published in Galway Harbour

Galway Atlantaquaria who, with the Marine Institute, Forfas Discover Primary Science and others are partners in the Explorers marine education and outreach programme, have achieved their second prestigious award - Best Education Project : Public and General Visitor 2010 - from the Britain and Ireland Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) for their marine education and outreach activities.

The award, was presented at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Devon by Adrian Sanders MP and was given for the "Galway Marine Month of Madness" event, organised by the Atlantaquaria with help from the other Explorers partners during the month of May this year.

Speaking for the Atlantaquaria, Marketing Executive Colette Lavin said that the award was a tribute not only to the Atlantaquaria but to all those involved in the month-long celebration. "A lot of people put a lot of heart and hard work into the individual events that made up the Month of Marine Madness," she said. "And while this second BIAZA award is the most tangible benefit of all this, I really believe that the biggest reward for all our efforts is the raised awareness of the value of our oceans and seas, not only to Galway, but to the rest of the country."

The calendar of events was launched by Galway's Deputy Mayor Mr. Peter Keane at Salthill beach and events arranged during the Month of Marine Madness ranged from seashore safaris, diving lessons, scientific lectures, nature walks and angling demonstrations, to a series of free seminars at the Atlantaquaria on such subjects as Baleen Whales, Slimy

Seaweed, the value of outdoor education, and Pirates! The First Entrepreneurs. A highlight of the calendar was the 'Largest Beach Clean Up in Ireland' which took place on Sunday 18th of May. Over 2,000 members of the public took part in the various events which included a tour of the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer by 280 pupils from local primary schools.

Speaking for the Explorers Programme, Dr. John Joyce of the Marine Institute said that the effort put in by Colette and her team had raised awareness of the sea to a whole new level in Galway during the month of May. "While Explorers is targeted primarily at raising awareness of the sea in schools, Colette and the Galway Atlantaquaria have shown us how we can raise that awareness to a whole new level by reaching out into the wider community. Last year, the Volvo Ocean Race vividly demonstrated the value of the sea to Galway in terms of tourism revenue. Clearly, the way is open to build on that awareness
and to use our creativity in finding new ways that Galway can profit - financially, educationally and environmentally – from marine related events."

Galway Atlantaquaria, the Marine Institute and the other partners in the Explorers programme celebrated the launch of National Science Week on Sunday 7th November with a Sunday Funday entitled "Our Plaice in Space" to celebrate the connections between outer and inner space.

Later in the month, on November 21st, the Explorers Programme will be present at the Galway Science and Technology Festival in NUI Galway.

Published in Marine Science

Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020