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#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that a Marine Institute monkfish and megrim trawl survey will be carried out off the west and southwest coasts of Ireland between 4 and 24 January 2016.

The survey consists of a maximum of 70 fishing stations of one-hour duration each in ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Sea) areas VIIb, c,g, h,j.

Approximate positions for these hauls are given in Figure 1 and Table 1 included in Marine Notice No 52 of 2015, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Bottom trawling will take place within a 3-nautical0mile radius of these locations.

The survey will be conducted by the RV Celtic Explorer (Callsign: EIGB). The vessel will display all appropriate lights and signal during the survey and will also be listening on VHF Channel 16.

She will be towing a commercial monkfish demersal trawl during fishing operations. The Marine Institute would request commercial fishermen to keep a 3-nautical-mile area around the tow points clear of all commercial gear during the period.

While there is no statutory provision for the loss of fishing gear, the Marine Institute will make every effort to avoid gear adequately marked according to legislation (Articles 9-17 of EU Regulation 404-2011) that may have drifted into the notified areas.

In the event that a fisherman has static gear or other obstructions within 3 nautical miles of the points listed above, it is the responsibility of the owner to notify the survey managers or vessel directly via the following contacts:

Published in Marine Warning

#Canoeing - A new survey that aims to gather information on the current level of awareness of invasive species and their negative impacts among canoeing, kayaking and other paddle sports enthusiasts was launched earlier this week.

The survey is being co-ordinated by Ronan Cooney, a scientist and avid paddler, and Dr Joe Caffrey in conjunction with Inland Fisheries Ireland and Canoeing Ireland.

Many invasive species can survive for long periods out of water, in damp conditions, and can easily be transferred from one watercourse to another as paddlers move around the country.

In Europe it is estimated that 7% of invasive species were introduced by leisure activities (hiking, angling, boating, SCUBA diving and rowing), with the aquaculture (24%), fisheries interests (11%) and the ornamental plant sectors (10%) being the major vectors.

“Invasive species are regarded as being the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat destruction," says Dr Caffrey. "These invasive species can be seriously harmful to biodiversity and to ecosystem services in the country. The latter are estimated to be worth over €250 million per annum to Ireland.”

The risk posed to angling and waterways in general by invasive species is very significant. Angling in Ireland is estimated to be worth €755 million to the Irish economy. But a report published in 2013 estimates the cost of invasive species to the tourism and recreation sector to be in the region of €10 million. This sector employs 180,000 people and is worth €5 billion to the Irish economy.

Inland Fisheries Ireland and Canoeing Ireland, the national governing body of paddle sports in Ireland, have been collaborating proactively to reduce the potential spread of invasive species through paddle sports by producing guidelines for the disinfection of paddle sport equipment, the provision of wash-down facilities at major events, and workshops on raising awareness of invasive species.

It is recognised that recreational water users have the potential to be a vector for the spread of invasive species. According to a recent publication in the UK, the potential threat posed by canoeists and anglers for the spread of invasive species is growing.

As an example, some 78.5% of canoeists and 64% of anglers used their equipment in more than one watercourse within a fortnight, meaning that the potential for spread of these species on damp clothing or paddling equipment is high.

The data provided from the survey "will lead to the development of more effective operational practices and behaviours among paddlers and organising bodies, while also making water users aware of the potential negative effects that their activities could have on Irish aquatic ecosystems," says Dr Caffrey.

Dr Kieran McKevitt of Canoeing Ireland adds: “The survey will help us see how our work has improved awareness of invasive species since we started our collaboration with IFI over two years ago and see how paddlers have changed their habits in relation to gear and boat washing."

The survey can be found HERE. For more information on invasive species, visit the Inland Fisheries Ireland website. For more on the survey contact [email protected]

Published in Canoeing

#Coastwatch - There's still a week left for Coastwatch volunteers to participate in the annual Coastwatch Survey for 2015, which this year has a special focus on the new Dublin Bay Biosphere.

Since 15 September volunteers have taken on one or more 'survey units' – 500m of shore – to do an 'eco-audit' of Ireland's shoreline at low tide. Details are available HERE.

It's hoped that the survey will break the 1,000-unit barrier by the last day next Thursday 15 October – while also encouraging the public to experience the particularly low spring tides at this time of year, revealing much more of our vibrant marine biodiversity.

Such discoveries could even be record-breaking, like the massive honeycomb reef found by Coastwatch volunteers in the Waterford Estuary this past summer.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#InlandWaters - 2015 marks the tenth year of the All Ireland Daubenton's Bat Waterway Survey – and Waterways Ireland and Bat Conservation Ireland are seeking volunteers across the island to take part in this year's survey over two nights in August.

Free training at a number of different centres began in June and will continue during July (for dates and details see HERE). This training will involve an indoor lecture followed by a practical session using bat detectors on a local river.

The survey is part a monitoring scheme recording the activity of the Daubenton's bat. These yearly surveys allow us to determine whether the population of this bat species is increasing or decreasing.

The more volunteer teams, the more accurate the information will be. In 2014, 252 waterways were surveyed across the island. Your help is needed to increase coverage for the island.

The Daubenton's bat is known as the water bat because of its preference to roost and feed close to water such as rivers and lakes. It is easy to identify because of all of our 10 species of bat, it is the only species that will be seen continuously skimming the water surface as it is feeding on insects.

Surveyors will be in teams of two people. Bat Conservation Ireland will provide the use of a bat detector for the survey. No prior experience is needed.

The All Ireland Daubenton's Bat Waterway Survey is funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

If you would like more information or would like to register, visit the Bat Conservation Ireland website HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#survey – Today, a multi-national team of European, Canadian, and American ocean mapping experts launch the first trans-Atlantic mapping survey under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.
The survey is one of the first projects to be launched by the Alliance, formed in May 2013 following the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation, whose goals are to join resources of its three signatories to better understand the North Atlantic Ocean and to promote the sustainable management of its resources.
Under this new era of cooperation on ocean research, Canada's Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland will use the Irish research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, to map the seafloor between St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and Galway, Ireland.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has invested approximately $5 million in RV Celtic Explorer expeditions since 2010 to support fisheries science activities. The vessel has just completed this year's fisheries survey and is returning to Ireland providing the additional opportunity for this trans-Atlantic mapping survey.
Together, with scientists from Ireland's national seabed mapping programme, INFOMAR, at the Marine Institute and Geological Survey of Ireland, and the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), the team will use multi-beam echo sounders onboard the vessel to collect ocean mapping data during the transect.
The team will gather information on the physical characteristics of the seafloor, such as water depth, hardness, roughness, and the presence of geohazards. The structure and composition of the near subsurface are key considerations for shipping safety, development-related seabed engineering and sustainable fisheries. The survey will broadly follow the great circle route between Ireland and Newfoundland where the first trans-Atlantic cable was deployed in 1857. The team hopes to map the location where the cable was dropped in the mid-Atlantic, which happened to coincide with the most dramatic topographic feature in the North Atlantic, the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone.
"The North Atlantic Ocean is crucial to the ecological, economic, and societal health and resilience of North America, Europe and the Arctic regions and the data we collect will be vital to understanding how we move forward together to ensure its sustainability," said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute). "We are pleased to lend our ocean mapping expertise in this field and contribute in such a meaningful way for our shared benefit."
"We are happy to see Canadian federal, provincial and academic participation in the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance," said the Honourable Gail Shea, Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. "The contribution of so many Canadian scientific experts in this important international initiative demonstrates Canada's commitment to the Atlantic Ocean and the Galway Agreement."
"We are proud to be part of the first trilateral expedition under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance," said Kathryn Sullivan, U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "By collaborating fully within this agreement, we will contribute essential scientific knowledge and ensure our shared Atlantic Ocean remains healthy and productive."
"This is an exciting opportunity to identify some important sites on the Atlantic seabed. It marks the beginning of an Atlantic research mapping collaboration between the US, Canada and Europe. We hope to build on next year in 2016 and subsequent years when Ireland's RV Celtic Explorer will be joined by research vessels from Norway and the USA", said Dr. Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute, Ireland.
Speaking at the announcement of the survey in Brussels in April 2015, Simon Coveney, Irish Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, said, "Information from the sea-floor is vital to the sustainable management of the Atlantic as well as to important industries such as fisheries, aquaculture and tourism. Ireland has developed a world-leading reputation for sea-bed mapping and is also very committed to the implementation of the Galway Statement and so I am delighted Ireland's state-of the art research vessel-RV Celtic Explorer is the platform for the survey."
"The collaborative mapping of the Atlantic Ocean by Canada, the US and Europe is an important initiative which, as a provincial government, we are proud to support," said the Honourable Darin King, Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development. "This tangible initiative builds on the work my department has been undertaking to facilitate partnerships and economic opportunities between Newfoundland and Labrador and Ireland and on a broader scale between Canada, the US and Europe."

Planning for the survey began in December 2014 when the first seabed mapping event took place in Dublin, Ireland followed by a second meeting in February 2015 in Brussels, Belgium.

Published in Marine Science

#Fishing - The Marine Institute is inviting tenders for the supply of a commercial fishing vessel to conduct a boarfish acoustic survey in ICES divisions VII b, c, g, h, j & k (west of Ireland, Celtic Sea and northern Biscay).

The vessel would be chartered for a period of 21 days to survey spawning aggregations of boarfish – a big seller for Ireland in the Chinese market – using hydro-acoustic techniques.

Vessels are invited to tender on the basis of their ability to undertake the survey schedule. This comprises following a pre-determined cruise track in the order of 3,200 nautical miles carried out over 21 days with 20hr operations (4am-midnight) and with directed trawl stations on fish schools of interest as and when required.

A single pelagic midwater trawl with a vertical opening of greater than 40m and contain a 20mm codend liner and/or sprat brailer will be a requirement for the survey. A liner can be provided if required but all other associated fishing equipment must be provided by the vessel.

The survey will be timed to coincide with the southerly end point of the RV Celtic Explorer on 10 July 2015 and this survey will act as a continuation. It is therefore essential that the charter vessel is out on the water and ready to begin surveying no later than midnight on 9 July 2015.

Detailed information of the track and survey plan will be provided by the Marine Institute. The successful applicant will be selected based on technical suitability, cost of charter, pelagic fishing track record and previous experience in scientific research and surveys.

The closing date for tenders is this Friday 29 May 2015 at 12 noon. Full details of the tender are available in a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#SwanCensus - Only a handful of Bewick's swans have been recorded in Ireland this winter ahead of a major international survey of migratory swans this weekend.

As RTÉ News reports, just three of the visiting waterfowl species have been sighted in Wexford so far, amid concerns that climate change is seeing them stay put in their Siberian homeland.

Whooper swans will also be counted in the latest edition of the five-yearly survey across a thousand coastal and waterside sites in Ireland this weekend, to see how numbers stand now against the 15,000 birds recorded in 2010 - half of the entire breeding population in their Icelandic home.

RTÉ News has more on the store HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineScience - The first underwater TV (UWTV) survey of the Bay of Biscay Nephrops grounds was carried out on the RV Celtic Voyager from 20-29 September.

This survey involved collaboration between the fishing industry and IFREMER, the French equivalent of the Marine Institute. The Celtic Voyager was chartered for this survey by the French fishing industry (CNPMEM).

The team of French scientists from Lorient were trained in the UWTV survey methodology by Jennifer Doyle, an expert from the Marine Institute. A fishing industry observer also participated in the survey.

This was the furthest south that the Irish Celtic Voyager research vessel has been to at 45°55′N 2°22′W.


The Bay of Biscay Nephrops grounds, known locally as 'la Grande Vasière', have an area of approximately 11,600 sqkm and support landings of Neprophs (better known as Dublin Bay prawns or langoustines) of around 4,000 tonnes annually.

During the 10-day survey, 160 UWTV stations were successfully completed with an average depth of 100 metres. At each station a sled-mounted camera system is towed at 1 knot. This allows for the detailed examination of the sea bed. The Nephrops burrows on the video footage collected are identified and counted by trained and experienced scientists.

Weather conditions throughout were perfect for TV operations with light winds, little or no swell and sea surface temperature around 20 degrees C. The visibility at the seabed was also excellent. The results from this survey will be analysed by IFREMER scientists to determine stock abundance.

The Marine Institute have been developing UWTV survey methods and technology since 2002. Since then, survey coverage has been expanded: in 2014 the main Nephrops stocks fished in Irish waters are have all been fully surveyed – Aran Grounds, Porcupine Bank, Western Irish Sea, Eastern Irish Sea, South Coast, Smalls, Labadie, Jones and Cockburn Banks.

These UWTV surveys form the cornerstone of the ICES assessments and management advice. The results of the TV surveys directly form the basis of the catch options.

All UWTV Marine Institute surveys reports are available online in the Marine Institute's open access repository.

Published in Marine Science

#CoastalNotes - The new Foreshore Bill is set to "radically change" Ireland's relationship with our coast, according to Coastwatch Ireland co-ordinator Karin Dubsky.

As The Irish Times reports, Dubsky was speaking at the launch of the 2014 Coastwatch Survey, welcoming the new bill that will see responsibilities for coastal management transferred to local authorities.

Previously, the Foreshore and Dumping at Sea (Amendment) Bill 2009 had transferred all foreshore licensing functions not associated with aquaculture and sea fishing from the then Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to the erstwhile Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Dubsky said the new legislation would give ordinary citizens a chance to shape Ireland's coastal policy via public audits such as the annual month-long Coastwatch Survey.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport advises that Osiris Projects will be carrying out two survey operations along the proposed interconnector route between Ireland and France.

The surveys will extend from the Shoreline at two locations in Co Cork (Ballinwilling Strand main route and Ballycroneen Beach alternative route) across the Celtic Sea to the shoreline at two locations in Northern France (Roscoff main route and Pontusval alternative route).

The first survey operation started on 17 August and is expected to run until 30 September, weather permitting. Survey works will be undertaken on the survey vessel RRS Ernest Shackleton (Callsign ZDLSI).

The vessel will operate on a 24-hour basis, will display appropriate day shapes and lights during survey operations and will actively transmit an AIS signal.

The RRS Ernest Shackleton will be towing survey equipment below the surface up to 600m behind the vessel. A wide berth is requested at all times as the vessel will be restricted in her ability to manoeuvre.

The second survey operation was expected to start on the Irish side yesterday (10 September) and will run until 20 September, weather permitting. Survey works will be undertaken on the survey vessel MV Proteus (Callsign 2HBL7).

The vessel will operate on a 12-hour basis, will display appropriate day shapes and lights during survey operations and will actively transmit an AIS signal.

The corridor width for each landing will be 250 metres from the high water mark to the 10-metre contour, then the corridor will widen to 500 metres as the route moves to France.

The survey vessel may be found running both along the corridor and in the general vicinity of the survey corridor. The vessel will be working between high water and 20 metre contour and in daylight hours only.

The MV Proteus will be towing survey equipment on and below the water surface up to 300m behind the vessel. A wide berth is requested at all times as the vessel will be restricted in her ability to manoeuvre.

Both vessels will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the works. Full details of co-ordinates of the work areas are included in Marine Notice No 55 of 2014, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Meanwhile, a hydrographic and geophysical survey operation is presently being undertaken by INFOMAR on the RV Celtic Voyager off the southwest coast of Ireland, continuing till 17 September.

The vessel is towing a magnetometer sensor with a single cable of up to 100m in length. A wide berth is requested at all times as the vessel will be restricted in her ability to manoeuvre.

The vessel will display appropriate lights and markers, and will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

Co-ordinates for the bounding box of the survey area are detailed in Marine Notice No 54 of 2014, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning
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