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Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay

#GALWAY FISH FARM - Galway Bay FM reports that a full public consultation on proposals for what's set to be Europe's largest fish farm off the Aran Islands is scheduled to begin next week.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 15,000-tonne deep-sea organic salmon farm would be located on a 500-hectare site in Galway Bay off Inis Oírr, and would be one of the largest of its kind in Europe, projected to be worth €103 million annually for the economy.

The statutory consultation period ended earlier this month after delays over the summer in publishing the licence application. And from next Monday 15 October, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) will make the plan and all statutory feedback available to the public via its website at www.bim.ie.

Advertisements announcing the consultation will appear in local and national newspapers, and packs will also be available to view for locals at Kilronan and Salthill Garda stations, including copies of the environmental impact statements and information on the statutory consultation process.

BIM aquaculture development manager Donal Maguire told Galway Bay FM that transparency is key to ensuring the public had all the information they need regarding the scheme - which has faced opposition from local anglers who fear the fish farm could have a negative impact on wild salmon numbers.

Published in Galway Harbour

#GALWAY BAY - Galway residents are voicing fears over pollution in Galway Bay due to alleged increase in outfalls from the city's sewage system.

As Galway News reports, locals in the Claddagh area spotted a discharge of raw sewage into the Claddagh Basin in July, which was confirmed by City Councillor Catherine Connolly to be an outfall.

Such releases are triggered automatically, like a safety valve, in emergency circumstances, such as after heavy rainfall which backs up the system.

Cllr Connolly has expressed her concern over an increase in the number of such releases over recent months, and their potential contribution to the degradation of water quality in the area - especially following the temporary closure of Grattan Beach in Salthill last month due to E.coli contamination.

She has also called for a report from the council on the difficulties experiences at the Mutton Island water treatment plant resulting from the inflow of grease and fats into the system from hotels and restaurants.

Galway News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour
21st September 2012

Wildlife Beach Walk in Salthill

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Wildlife Trust teams with the Galway Atlantaquaria to host a wildlife walk on Grattan Beach in Salthill tomorrow Saturday 22 September.

Starting at 3.30pm at the lifeguard hut, the free walk will look at the plants and wildlife found in seashore habitats on Galway Bay and around the west coast of Ireland.

Families are especially welcome, and nets and buckets will be provided for adults and children alike to explore the rock pools.

Staff from the Atlantaquaria will be taking along a selection of sea life from their undersea bounty.

And it might also be worth taking the opportunity to get involved in Coastwatch's ongoing 'eco audit' of the Irish shoreline, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The Galway Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE SCIENCE - Galway will celebrate European Researchers’ Night on Friday 28 September together with 320 cities around Europe with its latest Sea2Sky event.

Sea2Sky, organised by NUI Galway in collaboration with the Marine Institute, Galway Atlantaquaria and its new partner CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork, will showcase science on the grandest of scales themed around marine science, atmospherics and astronomy.   

The main events will be held at the Galway Bay Hotel, Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, with events also taking place in CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork.  

“Irish researchers are involved in some huge European research projects, and this is an opportunity to share some of the most exciting elements with the public," said event organiser and NUI Galway physics lecturer Dr Andy Shearer.

"At third level, we have seen a surge in applications for science related courses and this event will be a real draw for anyone tempted by a career in science and research.”

Last year some 10,000 people came to the event, and the plan is for an even bigger event this year, with highlights including the CERN exhibit, 3D tours of the universe and tours of the aquarium. This year visitors can participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations, exchange ideas and get to know the researchers on the free family day. 

Among the showcase exhibits at the Marine Institute will be the ROV Holland 1 and a weather buoy. Scientists and technicians will be on hand to explain the work of their equipment and recent expeditions.

Inside, Marine Institute scientists will exhibit work relating to the marine environment (such as algal blooms), weather monitoring and oceanography, advanced mapping techniqyes, research vessel operations conducted by the R/V Celtic Voyager and R/V Celtic Explorer, and the Explorers Education Programme, which highlights the seashore as a vital teaching resource.

There will also be screenings throughout the day of a short film showing the newly discovered and previously uncharted field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge captured by Holland 1 last year.

Footage of the cold water corals and life under the sea at depths of 3,000 metres taken during the Biodiscovery and Ecosystem Survey of the Whittard Canyons will also be shown.

This year, Sea2Sky is linking up with the Galway Science Forum’s exhibition about the work of CERN – Accelerating Science. This exhibition, sponsored by Boston Scientific in partnership with NUI Galway, will show how CERN’s Large Hadron Collider can help us understand fundamental questions about the origins of the universe.   

For further details of the event, visit www.sea2sky.ie.

Published in Marine Science

#MARINE WARNING - Seafarers are advised to steer clear of upcoming surface-to-air firing exercises off north Co Dublin, as well as a survey equipment deployment operation in Galway Bay.

Marine Notice No 51 of 2012 outlines that the Defence Forces will be conducting live surface-to-air firing practices at Gormanston Air Defence Range in Co Meath this week on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 September from 11am to 3pm each day.

Similar to the exercises conducted this past July, an exclusion zone will be established comprising the land, air and sea areas contained within a radius of three nautical miles centred on Gormanston Aerodrome, with an additional segment centred on the aerodrime and bearing of 015 degree true through Mosney rail station and 106 degrees true through Gormanston rail station seawards for a distance of 10 nautical miles.

The exclusion zone D1 will be enforced by a Naval Service vessel. All mariners in the area are required to remain outside the exclusion zone while the range is active, and are recommended to carefully monitor the radio navigation warnings that will be broadcast throughout the firing period.

Meanwhile, in Galway Bay two Benthic Lander devices will be deployed between 24 and 26 September, to be recovered between 29 and 31 September.

The national research vessel R/V Celtic Voyager (call sign EIQN) - which will host the [email protected] marine science training scheme this coming November - will carry out the deployment of the 2-3-metre high devices that will monitor sediment movement, current speed and direction, and wave motion at depth.

All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give the vessel and wide berth of at least 500 metres and keep a sharp lookout.

Details of relevant co-ordinated are included in Marine Notice No 52 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#FISHING - A new radio series on developments in Galway's fishing industry is part of the new autumn schedule on Raidió na Gaeltachta.

As the Galway Advertiser reports, Ballach, Bradán agus Bairneach is funded through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's Sound and Vision scheme and will cover the changes experienced in fishing in Galway Bay from Famine times till the present day.

Topics to be covered on the seven-part series, presented by former RnaG station head Tomás Mac Con Iomaire, include traditional fishing methods and classic fishing boats, the establishment of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the effects of European fisheries policy, and contemporary developments such as fish farming that have prompted some recent controversy.

Ballach, Bradán agus Bairneach will be broadcast Saturdays at 6.30 pm, with the first programme tonight 15 September focusing on fishing in olden times and the folklore surrounding it. Link to the show here.

Published in Fishing

#MARINE SCIENCE - Apart from some of the world's largest concentrations of wave energy, the waters of Galway Bay and the west coast of Ireland are now providing something potentially even more valuable - information.

That's according to IBM's Harry Kolar writing for the blog A Smarter Planet, as he discusses the start of his company's new underwater data collection project developed in association with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and the Marine Institute.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the system comprises an array of noise sensing equipment such as hydrophones deployed in Galway Bay to monitor the noise levels produced by wave energy conversion devices in real time.

This array is attached to a large monitoring buoy about 2km from the southern shore, and constantly transmits the data it records to a receiving system on land.

The scheme, which was finally switched on last month, is an offshoot of the SmartBay initiative for developing and testing new marine technology to foster future commercial development in the fast-growing marine science sector. The 'Twitter buoy' deployed for the Volvo Ocean Race finale recently is another of the project's schemes.

"Initially, the system will capture and analyse the ambient noise of the ocean to establish a baseline of acoustics including natural and anthropogenic (man-made) sound sources including vessel traffic," writes Kolar.

"But the ultimate goal is to capture and analyse the sounds and vibrations of hulking wave energy conversion machines that have begun bobbing along off the coast and help determine what, if any impact the sound waves from those devices could have on marine life – but especially highly sensitive dolphin, porpoise, and whale populations."

A Smarter Planet has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#FISHING - Environmental campaigners have lambasted the IFA's claims of an "inexplicable delay" in the State's processing of licence applications for fish farms.

In a letter to The Irish Times yesterday, Tony Lowes of Friends of the Irish Environment says that the delay – to allow for proper environmental studies to be conducted – "has been explained again and again" by Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney.

He was responding to a letter last Friday by Richie Flynn of IFA Aquaculture, who highlighted the "suffering" of coastal communities as a result of processes that "hamper development and delay investment in the hundreds of companies involved in farming salmon, oysters, mussels, trout and other species".

Lowes writes in counter that salmon farming "is a highly polluting industry", and that discharge of nitrogen and phosphorous from aquaculture facilities "can fuel toxic algae blooms, which have cost the shellfish industry dear".

He claims that the proposed salmon farm in Bantry Bay in West Cork would have a nitrogen and phosphorous discharge "equivalent to the sewage of a town 10 times the size of Bantry".

Lowes also alleges that the deep-sea "super salmon" farm in Galway Bay - the licence application for which is undergoing statutory consultation till 2 October - would produce the equivalent effluent of a city more than double the size of Galway.

In addition, he makes reference to the threat to native salmon in Irish rivers through sea lice infestations.

"The EU habitats directive requires baseline studies and environmental impact statements," writes Lowes. "Licensees can be granted only if the project will not have adverse impacts on protected species and habitats."

Published in Fishing

#FISHING - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has begun the process of statutory consultation as the next step in its licence application for the controversial proposed deep-sea fish farm in Galway Bay.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie at the end of June, Ireland's fisheries board had announced a "significant delay" of four to six weeks before publishing the licence application.

But in a recent statement, BIM announced that it received permission some weeks ago from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the marine to begin the statutory consultation process, in which it is sharing the licence application and Environmental Impact Statement "with a list of State bodies for their appraisal and feedback".

The statutory consultation will continue till Tuesday 2 October 2012, and BIM promises that all feedback will be made available to the public via the BIM website "to further assist them in their assessment of the Environmental Impact Statement when it goes to full public consultation".  

The 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm would be located off Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands on a 500-hectare site, and would be one of the largest of its kind in Europe, projected to be worth €103 million annually for the economy.

BIM intends to franchise the licence, should it be approved, to a third party "who agrees to a legally binding contract to farm the Atlantic salmon to the highest organic and environmental standards". Approval of the project could also see the creation of as many as 500 jobs, some 20% more than previously estimated.

The news comes after the ministerial apprival of salmon farm licence assignments from five separate operators in nearby Connemara, designed to "consolidate and revitalise" aquaculture in the region.

But the Aran Islands scheme has faced opposition from local anglers who fear that the fish farm could have a detrimental effect on wild salmon numbers.

Explaining BIM's plans for the consultation process, the statement added: "Previously, both statutory and public consultation would have been carried out in parallel. However, Ireland has recently (June 2012) ratified the Aarhus Convention. The convention lays down rules to promote citizens involvement and to improve public consultation in the making of decisions with potential environmental impact by the state. 

"Given the recent ratification of the Convention and for a number of other legal and technical reasons, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has signed a new Statutory Instrument (SI No 301 of 2012), bringing into law new periods of public consultation for fish farm licence applications. In this instance the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have instructed BIM to carry out statutory consultation in full before proceeding with public consultation.

"BIM believes that this approach will help to further inform the public during their period of consultation."

Published in Fishing

#GALWAY BAY - Organisers of the Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Galway next weekend have given assurances that no competitors are at risk from E.coli contamination - despite concerns over elevated levels of the bacteria in Galway Bay.

The Evening Herald reports that E.coli levels in the waters off Salthill were recently found to have exceeded the EU mandatory safety threshold - similar to that which saw seven beaches closed in Cork last week, as well as Rush South in Dublin over the August bank holiday weekend.

Subsequent testing showed that levels had dropped below the safe limit, and Galway City Council was yesterday expecting a second set of results which, if positive, would see the beach at Salthill reopened to bathing.

The swim portion of the Ironman triathlon on Sunday 2 September will take a route along the Salthill Promeade from Blackrock to Palmer's Rock, and organisers say they are happy that the event "will not be impacted" by the current concerns.

"We are at the far end of the bay. The event is still eight... days away and this won't affect us in the least," said organiser Eoin McCormack.

A number of Irish celebrities will be taking part in the second annual Ironman 70.3 Galway event.

Rosanna Davison, Kathryn Thimas, Keith Duffy, Ray D'Arcy and Gráinne and Síle Seoige will be among those tacking the gruelling course that includes a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a run through the Salthill and Claddagh areas of Galway City.

The Evening Herald has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour
Page 21 of 27

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