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The Irish public believes more action needs to be taken to improve the health of the ocean, according to results from Ireland’s first Ocean Citizen Survey.

More than 1,000 people across the island of Ireland completed the Ocean Citizen Survey in 2020 and shared their views on current marine issues and priorities for the protection of the marine environment. The online survey was developed by the Marine Institute and the European Commission to encourage the people of Ireland to contribute to the EU Mission for Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters.

92% of survey respondents strongly agreed that more action needs to be taken to improve the health of the ocean. The respondents strongly agreed (85%) that human actions are damaging the ocean and that the health of the ocean and their own health is connected (67%).

"89% thought the establishment of a European Ocean Agency was a good idea"

“The Irish public care strongly about the ocean and are important stakeholders in planning for its future,” said Dr Niall McDonough, Director of Policy, Innovation and Research Support at the Marine Institute. “It is valuable to have a current understanding of the Irish public’s perceptions and concerns which can be used to inform future research activities associated with these initiatives and policy developments in Ireland, and in Europe.”

The survey also asked the public which 15 marine environmental issues they were most concerned about, and ‘pollution at the coast or in the sea’ was the issue that was most frequently selected amongst the top three. From 14 suggested climate change and marine policy issues, the policy area that was selected the most frequently by the respondents amongst their top three for prioritisation by the European Union was ‘regulating the production, use and disposal of plastic to reduce marine plastic pollution’.

Survey results also indicate that 67% of respondents strongly agreed that economic growth and job generation can be supported by the ocean, seas and inland waters.

Outputs from the Ocean Citizen Survey will be used to inform the preparation of the next National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy, which will commence later this year. Citizen participation is also an important component of the forthcoming Horizon Europe Framework Programme, spanning 2021 to 2027. The information from this survey will feed into the further planning of the Mission on Healthy Oceans, Seas, Inland and Coastal Waters.

Dr McDonough added, “Citizens are crucial to the design and accomplishment of the EU Mission in helping to set objectives and targets and ensuring that missions like this one, make a real difference in everybody’s lives.”

The full report from Ireland’s Ocean Citizen Survey can be viewed online here

Key Findings from Ireland’s Ocean Citizen Survey:

  • 85% strongly agreed that human actions are damaging the ocean.
  • 92% strongly agreed that more action needs to be taken to improve the health of the ocean.
  • 67% strongly agreed that the health of the ocean and their own health is connected.
  • 67% strongly agreed that the ocean can support economic growth and job creation.
  • 61% said marine pollution was one of their biggest concerns.
  • 42% said ‘regulating the production, use and disposal of plastic to reduce marine plastic pollution’ is an issue to be prioritised by the European Union.
  • 88% strongly agreed that marine environmental data collection is important.
  • 46% consider that a high-resolution map of the ocean seabed is very important to society.
  • 89% thought the establishment of a European Ocean Agency was a good idea.
Published in Marine Science
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Is Ireland “ocean literate”? Tireless campaigners for better awareness of our impact on our marine environment may not be so sure, but Galway-based scientist Dr Noirín Burke is ever optimistic.

Dr Burke is director of education at Galway Atlantaquaria in Salthill, and her infectious enthusiasm for life on the shoreline has inspired several generations of young visitors since she took up that post.

However, Dr Burke is also co-secretariat of the Irish Ocean Literacy Network which is preparing for a number of events next month as part of European Maritime Day.

European Maritime Day

The programme ranges from an EU blue schools workshop on May 17th to an ocean literacy communications event hosted by Sea Search Ireland and Galway Atlantaquaria, to the first ocean literacy festival.

Dr Noirin Burke and her daughter Roisín on Grattan Beach, GalwayDr Noirin Burke and her daughter Roisín on Grattan Beach, Galway

On May 20th, the Irish Ocean Literacy Network will also host a workshop with speakers including Patrícia Conceição, Directorate-General for Maritime Policy, Portuguese Blue Schools (Escola Azul); Easkey Britton, world-renowned surfer, marine social scientist and writer; Nicola Bridge, President, European Marine Science Educators Association and Nathalie Van Isacker, EMODnet Secretariat, European Atlas of the Seas

Wavelengths interviewed Dr Burke (below)to hear details about the network, about her own work, about European Maritime Day, and about one of her favourite coastal locations – Galway’s Grattan beach.

Published in Wavelength Podcast

An Irish marine biologist has been appointed head of the EU’s monitoring body for the Common Fisheries Policy.

Dr Susan Steele, who grew up on West Cork’s Beara peninsula, has been appointed executive director of the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA).

She is currently chair and chief executive of the State’s Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA).

The EFCA’s primary role is to organise coordination and cooperation between national control and inspection activities, ensuring the rules of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy are “respected and applied effectively”.

Based in Vigo, Spain, it cooperates with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Maritime Safety Agency to support national authorities.

The EFCA confirmed Dr Steele’s appointment on Thursday (Apr 22), stating that she has a “solid background in fisheries management and control!.

Dr Steele had been head of the SPFA since 2013, and was previously head of the innovation at the national Seafood Development Centre from 2009.

She also worked with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) as head of aquaculture and business from 2006 to 2009.

She holds a PhD from the National University of Ireland, an MBA, a Masters in Education (M.Ed) and a bachelor degree in marine biology.

She is expected to take up her new European post on September 1st, 2021.

Ireland’s SFPA was recently directed by the EU to withdraw its control plan for weighing fish landed by Irish vessels, following an EU audit in 2018 conducted in Killybegs, Co Donegal.

Last year, the EFCA recorded 38,452 inspections at sea and ashore, leading to 1787 suspected infringements in EU member states.

Published in Fishing

The Loughs Agency has announced the deployment of Europe's largest fish counter as part of the SeaMonitor project.

Listening stations from Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point, to the island of Islay in Scotland will record transmissions from a variety of mobile marine species tagged by the project's scientists. The data collected using acoustic telemetry will be used to support the conservation of vulnerable species such as salmon, basking sharks, skate, dolphins, whales and seals.

A Basking Shark in Irish waters Photo: Nigel MotyerA Basking Shark in Irish waters Photo: Nigel Motyer

The unique marine research project is underway to study the seas around Ireland and Western Scotland with the deployment of 'Europe's largest fish counter'.

The location of the arrayThe location of the SeaMonitor project array

The SeaMonitor project - which is supported by eight leading marine research institutions located in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, the US and Canada - will use innovative marine species tracking technology to better understand and protect vulnerable marine life in our oceans.

Listening stations from Malin Head - Ireland's most northerly point - to the island of Islay in Scotland will record transmissions from a variety of mobile marine species tagged by the project's scientists.
The data collected using acoustic telemetry will be used to support the conservation of vulnerable species such as salmon, basking sharks, skate, dolphins, whales and seals.

Receiver DeploymentReceiver Deployment on the SeaMonitor project 

Sharon McMahon, Loughs Agency CEO, said the deployment of the fish countermarked a major achievement for the SeaMonitor project. She added: "Loughs Agency is proud to be leading the way alongside expert colleagues to deliver such amazing marine research infrastructure that will ultimately help protect some of our most important species."

The Seamonitor Deployment TeamThe Seamonitor Deployment Team

Funding for the €4.6m project has been provided by the EU's INTERREG VA Programme (Environment Theme), which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding comes from the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland.

Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body, welcomed the announcement. She said: "I'm delighted to see such a significant achievement for the SeaMonitor project, made possible through the EU's INTERREG VA Programme and the efforts of all its partners in Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland working together collectively."

"This is a much-needed step forward for the conservation of a number of vulnerable species within our shared oceans. It only serves to highlight the benefits that are created through strong, mutually beneficial cross-border partnerships in the management of marine protected areas and species. Well done to all involved for advancing our understanding of our seas," she added.

Dr. Fred Whoriskey, Executive Director of the Ocean Tracking Network explained: "This project is important in so many ways. It will unite and empower scientists from Europe and abroad to tackle pressing management issues, provide global networking for scientists to efficiently use resources, and engage the public in project outcomes. We are pleased to provide technical support and counsel, as well as tracking infrastructure to SeaMonitor which is contributing to the conservation of Europe's valued marine animals."

Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystems and Advisory Services at the Marine Institute added: "We are delighted to collaborate with partners on the SeaMonitor project and provide technical support and ship-time on the Marine Institute's research vessel, the RV Celtic Voyager. Tracking the migration of species and identifying environmental signals influencing their movement is essential to effectively protect and manage our marine ecosystems.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

The Marine Institute has announced funding of €0.24 million for the first two Eoin Sweeney PhD Scholarships to run over the next four years.

This Scholarship Programme has been established by the Marine Institute and Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN) in memory of Eoin Sweeney (1947-2017), who made a significant contribution to developing Irish marine industry, particularly the ocean energy sector, including the establishment of test-bed sites off the west coast of Ireland that provides sea-state testing opportunities for researchers and technology developers.

This Scholarship Programme provides a unique training opportunity for the students using the state-of-the-art scientific facilities at the Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN) in Gran Canaria, Spain.

Dr José Joaquín Hernández-Brito, CEO said, “PLOCAN are delighted to collaborate with colleagues in Ireland on this Scholarship Programme. We are looking forward to hosting the students in due course, and wish to strengthen our existing research networks between Spain and Ireland together with exploring opportunities for future co-operation in ocean observation.”

The students will also benefit from access to the Marine Institute historical datasets, equipment and infrastructures including access to the national marine research vessels such as the new RV Tom Crean.

Congratulating the award recipients, Mick Gillooly, Director of Ocean Climate and Information Services in the Marine Institute said, “This is an exciting collaboration between the two Universities, PLOCAN and the Marine Institute that enables international collaboration and testing of novel technology, gliders and data buoys, to better understand our ocean ecosystems through long-term observations. Forecasting Ocean and Climate Change is a strategic focus area in the Marine Institute’s Strategic Plan and these scholarships will provide research data from a variety of locations and sea conditions, which will contribute to scientific advice to stakeholders backed up by high-quality peer-reviewed research.”

The awards funded are as follows:

PhD Project Title

Lead Organisation

Grant-Aid Funding Awarded  (for 4 years)             

Application of AUVs to studies on Diel cycles of ocean plankton and biogeochemistry in the Northeast Atlantic

NUI Galway

€120,000           

Wave-powered data buoy

Maynooth University

€120,000  


The students are expected to have commenced by July 2021, with their first visit to PLOCAN expected to take place in 2022 (dependent on government restrictions).

Funding for the Eoin Sweeney Scholarship Programme is provided by the Marine Institute and the Irish Government, funded under the Marine Research Programme. PLOCAN will provide support and host the scholars for two to three months per annum.

Published in Marine Science

Scientists from NUI Galway and Seasearch Ireland are asking divers and marina users to keep an eye out for Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame or Japanese kelp. This species was first recorded in Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland in 2012, Wakame has subsequently been recorded at Carlingford Lough in 2014 and Kilmore Quay in Wexford in 2016.

Since then it has been recorded by Seasearch diver Frances O'Sullivan of the Dalkey Sub Aqua club recorded it in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in 2017 and by Seasearch Ireland and KelpRes divers at Greystones Harbour in 2020. Given the widespread nature of the records on the east coast, it is thought that the species is likely to occur in suitable habitats between these areas and may have spread to other areas of the coast.

Wakame can be distinguished from other kelp species found in Ireland by the undulating margins of the blade, distinctive midrib, and belt-like stipe that often has reproductive sori at the margins. The distinctive midrib in a large blade distinguishes this species from other kelp species in Irish waters (e.g. dabberlocks - Alaria esculenta -which has a distinctive midrib but thin blade).

Seasearch Ireland and the KelpRes team at NUIG are asking any marine users who see a kelp species matching the description below to send a photo to [email protected] to confirm the identification and then our colleagues from the KelpRes team in NUIG intend to collect samples of the seaweed for genetic analysis.

Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame or Japanese kelp identificationUndaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame or Japanese kelp identification

Kathryn Schoenrock-Rossiter explains the rationale for the sampling: "Studying the genetics of invasive species is important in terms of identifying vectors for introduction and spread. For example, in the invasive freshwater Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) a study combing genetic analysis with fieldwork revealed leisure boats from the United Kingdom as the most likely source (vector) of introduction. By using genetic tools to investigate Wakame populations we can estimate whether a single introduction event or multiple have occurred and potentially determine where from (e.g. Europe)."

Rory O'Callaghan, Seasearch Ireland: "International experience with wakame would indicate it is much more likely to occur in marinas and on other man-made structures. From here it can attach to boats and be carried to other parts of the country when boats are moved. As divers, we are particularly conscious of the need for good biosecurity practices such as cleaning or drying out their boat before moving it to another location."

Seasearch is a project by the Marine Conservation Society for divers and snorkelers, who have an interest in what they're seeing underwater, want to learn more and want to help protect the marine environment around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Published in Marine Science

The latest research has shown that the impacts of climate change are already evident in Irish marine waters, with the patterns of harmful algal blooms changing in recent decades. The research, undertaken by the Marine Institute, also indicates that the ocean off southwest Ireland will likely become warmer and less salty by the year 2035.

Naturally occurring blooms of microscopic algae species can sometimes harm ocean health. While most microalgae in the sea are beneficial, some species can produce chemicals that can be passed on via filter-feeding shellfish and occasionally make these shellfish unfit for human consumption. These harmful algal blooms can therefore cause substantial damage to the shellfish industry through prolonged farm closures and loss of produce. Ireland has a national monitoring programme in place to ensure that all Irish shellfish placed on the market are tested and safe for human consumption.

By investigating harmful algal bloom patterns in Irish marine waters over a 20-year period, from 1997 – 2016, Marine Institute scientists discovered that the timing of harmful algal blooms has changed. Two species, Karenia Mikimoto and Dinophysis acuta, show a clear recent increase in their average monthly abundances, peaking later in the year compared to the previous decade. The data from recent years also shows a notable increase in the number of weeks these organisms are present each year.

Dr Caroline Cusack of the Marine Institute said, "By looking at the data on harmful algal blooms over the past two decades, we can see that climate change is already having an impact on our marine environment. Harmful algae usually bloom during the warm summer season or when water temperatures are warmer than usual. As human-induced climate change continues to impact our ocean, we must remain vigilant to the stress and damage this is having on marine ecosystems."

Researchers at the Marine Institute also developed computer models to investigate the regional oceanic climate off the southwest of Ireland. This climate model indicates that under future projected medium and high greenhouse gas emissions, the ocean off southwest Ireland will become warmer and less saline by the year 2035. The results of the ocean climate model are consistent with other European climate models and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate models.

Mick Gillooly, Director of Ocean Climate and Information Services at the Marine Institute said, "Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked. Small changes in the marine ecosystem, such as changing harmful algal bloom patterns, could have a big effect on our shellfish industry, economy and marine environment over the next decades. Adapting to a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges facing society, and scientific knowledge is essential to forecast changes in our oceans, so Ireland can effectively respond to, mitigate and adapt to those changes in our ocean and climate."

This research was carried out by the Marine Institute, as the project coordinator of the CoCliME (Co-development of Climate Services for adaptation to changing Marine Ecosystems) Project, funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Commission and other European national funders.

CoCliME modelling efforts undertaken by project partners in France, show that existing ocean currents have the potential to bring tropical warm water species such as the microalgae Ostreopsis to the southern shores of Ireland. One potentially harmful Ostreopsis species is now confirmed in coastal regions off southwest France with genetic markers detected off the Brittany coast indicating it can establish in areas further north.

The CoCliME study indicates that the ocean is changing with similar trends to that observed by other European and global predictions in both climate scenarios and altered harmful algal blooms occurrence patterns in the last two decades.

This project is funded under the EPA Research Programme 2014-2020. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of the Environment,
Climate and Communications. It is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the statutory function of co-ordinating and promoting environmental research.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

A combination of marine plasma and an enzyme produced by honeybees is being tested by an Irish biotechnology company and two universities for its effectiveness against Covid-19.

As The Sunday Times reports today, Cellnutrition Health Ltd plans to work with NUI Galway (NUIG) and Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) on trials that will involve combining the bee’s enzyme with marine plasma to prevent infection and treat those already infected.

The Galway-based company founder Declan Clarke, who holds an MSc in marine science, says the combination of the two natural materials has the potential to work as a “natural vaccine and immunotherapy”.

He believes it may be effective against not only Covid-19 but also other viruses, bacteria, fungi and certain parasites.

Named “Beemar”, the combination relies on “both adaptive and innate immunity to provide protection against the virus and its variants,” Clarke said.

Dr Daniel O’Toole of NUI Galway’s school of medicine said that it was one of a number of potential treatments being tested at the university.

“Honeybees in healthy hives tend to be quite resistant to infections, through use of this enzyme called lysozyme which basically chews up any foreign bodies,” Dr O’Toole said.

“Marine plasma is basically concentrated seawater, and saltwater tends to have a long history of being very good for the lungs,” he noted.

Dr Kim Roberts, Ussher assistant professor of microbiology at TCD, said that the company was in discussion with the university to test the “Beemar” product on cells to see if it protected them from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

It is one of several projects which TCD is working on, she said.

Read more in The Sunday Times here

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

Marine biologist Maude Delap had been a favoured name among Marine Institute staff when suggestions were being sought last year for a title for the State’s new research ship.

As Afloat revealed last month, renowned polar explorer Tom Crean of Annascaul, Co Kerry, won out, and the 52.8-metre ship will sail into Irish waters under his name after it is completed next summer.

As Times.ie reports today, coincidentally, Delap, who died in 1953, spent much of her life in Crean’s home county of Kerry.

Born in Donegal, she lived on Valentia Island, Co Kerry, from the age of eight as her father was Church of Ireland rector there.

Both Maude and her sister Constance collected marine specimens – many in Dublin’s Natural History Museum. Maude took an interest in jellyfish and pioneered breeding them in captivity.

Her father opposed an offer made to her to work at the Plymouth Marine Biological Association as he is reputed to have said “no daughter of mine will leave home, except as a married woman”.

She was made an associate of the Linnaen Society of London in honour of her work, and had a sea anemone named after her- and she is also remembered by a plaque on Valentia island.

Her name was one of several proposed for the Irish research ship - with the Marine Institute keen to avoid the experience of Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council.

It had been landed with Boaty McBoatface when it sought the public’s opinion on a name for its new polar research vessel several years ago – but opted for RSS Sir David Attenborough.

Tom Crean’s name was confirmed by Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue earlier this month.

He said Crean’s name on the ship would acknowledge the role of the legendary Irish seaman and explorer who sailed with Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Crean’s three major groundbreaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th century sought to increase scientific knowledge and to explore unreached areas of the world, at that time, the Marine Institute has noted.

Crean’s family has welcomed the choice, and the Marine Institute said in a statement that several candidate names were shortlisted, “many of which had compelling reasons for selection”.

“These included names such as RV Tom Crean, RV Celtic Discovery, RV Celtic Odyssey, and RV Maude Delap,” it confirmed.

The ship is intended to replace one of two existing marine research ships based in Galway, the 31m RV Celtic Voyager.

Read more on Times.ie here

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

Some 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are female, according to UNESCO which marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science this week

About 35 per cent of all students in STEM-related fields – that’s science, technology, engineering and maths – are women, UNESCO says.

However, about 51 per cent of staff at the Marine Institute in Galway are female, and about 70 per cent hold key roles in science, technical analysis and research, extending from oceanography and ocean climate to fishery ecosystems, marine environment and food safety.

Marine Institute director of corporate services Patricia Orme says the organisation also has women working in policy, innovation and research, maritime development and corporate roles.

“We are extremely proud to note that 80% of our female employees hold bachelor, masters or doctorate level qualifications," she says.

Wavelengths spoke to three of those women – starting with postdoctoral researcher Julia Calderwood who is involved in designing what will be a very useful app for the fishing industry to help reduced unwanted catches as part of the IFish project funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

lizabeth Tray, from North Carolina, is team leader for data co-ordination and reporting on marine spatial planninglizabeth Tray, from North Carolina, is team leader for data co-ordination and reporting on marine spatial planning

Elizabeth Tray, from North Carolina, is team leader for data coordination and reporting on marine spatial planning and the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Yvonne Bogan from Donegal took her PhD in marine biotoxins and formerly worked with the Environmental Protection Agency. She is now quality manager team leader with the Marine Institute.

Yvonne Bogan of the Marine InstituteYvonne Bogan, a quality manager team leader with the Marine Institute

For more profiles of female scientists in marine research, follow #WomenInScience on the Marine Institute’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

You can listen to Wavelengths below

Published in Wavelength Podcast
Page 1 of 29

boot Düsseldorf, the International Boat Show

With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. Around 2,000 exhibitors present their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

boot Düsseldorf FAQs

boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair. Seventeen exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology.

The Fairground Düsseldorf. This massive Dusseldorf Exhibition Centre is strategically located between the River Rhine and the airport. It's about 20 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the city centre.

250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair.

The 2018 show was the golden jubilee of the show, so 2021 will be the 51st show.

Every year in January. In 2021 it will be 23-31 January.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH Messeplatz 40474 Düsseldorf Tel: +49 211 4560-01 Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The Irish marine trade has witnessed increasing numbers of Irish attendees at boot over the last few years as the 17-Hall show becomes more and more dominant in the European market and direct flights from Dublin offer the possibility of day trips to the river Rhine venue.

Boats & Yachts Engines, Engine parts Yacht Equipment Watersports Services Canoes, Kayaks, Rowing Waterski, Wakeboard, Kneeboard & Skimboard Jetski + Equipment & Services Diving, Surfing, Windsurfing, Kite Surfing & SUP Angling Maritime Art & Crafts Marinas & Watersports Infrastructure Beach Resorts Organisations, Authorities & Clubs

Over 1000 boats are on display.

©Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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