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Displaying items by tag: Atlantic

The European Union, The United States and Canada today agreed to join forces on Atlantic Ocean Research. The goal is to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and promote the sustainable management of its resources. The Agreement aims to connect the ocean observation efforts of the three partners. The work will also study the interplay of the Atlantic Ocean with the Arctic Ocean, particularly in relation to climate change. The EU and its Member States alone invest nearly two billion euro on marine and maritime research each year. The 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation' was signed today at a high level conference at the Irish Marine Institute in Galway.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: "The enormous economic potential of the Atlantic remains largely untapped. We probably know more about the surface of the Moon and Mars than we do about the deep sea floor. This alliance can make a big contribution to meeting challenges such as climate change and food security."

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "Today's agreement fully supports the Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic we put forward this month. While the initiative is of particular interest for the EU's five Atlantic states, it is open to researchers from all over Europe and beyond. The knowledge gained will be of benefit to all."

The agreement recognises that Atlantic research will in many areas be more effective if coordinated on a transatlantic basis. Areas for potential collaboration under the agreement include: an Atlantic Ocean observation and forecasting system; mapping critical areas of the Atlantic seafloor; identifying and recommending future research and ocean literacy and awareness initiatives.

Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny, T.D., said: "Today marks a new political and policy awareness of the ocean's potential to create sustainable jobs and growth. Such awareness also provides broader societal benefits of understanding major environmental changes and associated risks. It was a major priority of the Irish Presidency to support the achievement of an Atlantic Ocean research alliance and I welcome the signing of the Galway Statement by the European Commission, the United States and Canada here at the Marine Institute today. The delivery of a Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic was also a priority of Ireland and I congratulate all those involved in the launch of the Action Plan to revitalise the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic Ocean Area."

"The enormous economic potential of the Atlantic remains largely untapped"

The Atlantic Action Plan aims to show how the EU's Atlantic Member States, their regions and the Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the "blue economy", which has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020.

Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: "Ireland has a significant role to play in the implementation of the Atlantic Area Action plan and will also derive many benefits from it. The Government's 'Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth' is rooted in the role the oceans can play in our economic recovery with a goal of significantly increasing the turnover of Ireland's "Blue Economy" to over €6.4Billion by 2020 and doubling the GDP contribution by 2030 (to 2.4%)."

Published in Marine Science
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The Taoiseach, as Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in association with Ms Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Ms Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Simon Coveney, is holding a meeting on Friday at the Marine Institute in Oranmore, Galway: The Atlantic – a Shared Resource.

The Political Leaders will discuss research and innovation requirements needed between now and 2020 to implement the Atlantic Area Action Plan to drive the "blue economy".

An outline of Horizon 2020 funding initiatives that will support the implementation of the Action Plan and transatlantic scientific collaboration. Ireland's contribution to the delivery of the action plan during the Irish Presidency and its implementation to 2020 and a joint declaration on an Atlantic research partnership between the European Commission, the USA and Canada.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

#MarineWildlife - A gray whale has been sighted many thousands of miles from its usual Pacific swimming grounds in the South Atlantic.

As Pádraig Whooley writes on the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) website, the whale was spotted in the last week in Walvis Bay, Namibia - only the second ever confirmed sighting of the marine species in the Atlantic Ocean, and the first south of the equator, since records began.

Previously a solitary gray whale was tracked in the Mediterranean in May 2010 from the coast of Israel to Barcelona in north-eastern Spain.

That was the first time a gray whale had been seen anywhere east of the Pacific Ocean following the presumed extinction of the Atlantic gray whale in the 17th century.

Whooley calls the latest sighting "a fascinating discovery" and says it "points strongly towards a dramatic shift in distribution facilitated by climate change.

"This is a timely reminder that we should never assume to know what species occur in our local waters, especially when this species seems to have literally come back from the dead."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport advises mariners that ENI Ireland BV is scheduled to conduct a 2D seismic survey in the Atlantic waters of the Irish Designated Continental Shelf.

The planned start of the survey is mid-April 2013 and, weather permitting, will continue until mid-October 2013.

The proposed survey consists of 18,000km of a full-fold 2D seismic survey in offshore waters beyond the 12-nautical-mile limit, and extends into international (high seas) waters.

The seismic acquisition will be carried out by the seismic vessel M/V BGP Explorer (Call sign HP4919), which will be accompanied at all times by guard vessel M/V Alk Explorer (Call sign HO2639). In addition, M/V De Vrouw Marie (Call sign HP9974) will act as a supply vessel for the re-supply of materials.

M/V BGP Explorer will tow a single solid 10km streamer. The vessel will travel at 4–5 knots and the streamer will be located approximately 10 metres below the surface. All vessels will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

The notice requests all vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, to give the M/V BGP Explorer, the M/V Alk Explorer and the supply vessel a wide berth, and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.

Details of co-ordinates for the seismic survey are included in Marine Notice No 13 of 2013, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Notice of this latest seismic survey comes after the news that the European Commission has sought an explanation from the Government over why it has not conducted environmental impact assessments for such operations in Irish waters, which are a designated whale and dolphin sanctuary.

Meanwhile, another recent Marine Notice advises passenger ship operators of the requirements for vessels engaged in the tendering of passengers between ship and shore.

Full details on the relevant provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts are included in Marine Notice No 12 of 2013 available HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#Angling - The Atlantic Salmon Trust will team with IBIS (Integrated Aquatic Resources Management Between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland) to host a major conference at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow on 27-28 November 2013.

Leading speakers will be invited to discuss all aspects of salmon stocking at the conference, titled 'Boosting salmon numbers: is stocking the answer or the problem?'

Over two days, the conference will examine in depth the potential role of stocking in restoring, sustaining and enhancing salmon populations and fisheries.

In a statement, IBIS said: "We are bringing together experts on salmon science and management - including those with direct experience of stocking - to join with anglers and fishery managers in exploring the potential for salmon stocking, including its effectiveness and risks.

"We'll look at such issues as: How does stocking affect numbers of returning adults? Is it cost effective? What is the role of genetics and climate change?
The presentations will range from the underlying science to case studies and examples of best practice."

The conference is fully financially supported by IBIS. Attendees will only be asked to pay for their own travel and hotel costs, and the conference dinner if attending.

Full details of agenda, speakers and how to register will be available in the New Year by sending an e-mail to [email protected]

Published in Angling

#Angling - Anglers on the River Feale in Kerry and Limerick have been assured by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) that it supports their concerns over the proposed deep-sea fish farm in Galway Bay, as the Limerick Leader reports.

Local anglers are among those throughout the region who have rallied in opposition to plans for the Aran Islands fish farm project, over fears that it would lead to “an explosion” in parasitic sea lice which would prey on wild inland salmon from Irish rivers feeding in the North Atlantic.

IFI reiterated its statement issued last month in which its board said it does not believe "that the corpus of peer reviewed international scientific literature which recognises the negative impacts of sea lice on salmonids have been adequately dealt with" in the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) as part of the public consultation process.

A spokesperson for IFI told the Limerick Leader that the authority has "major concerns about the location and scale [of the farm], as well as its potential impact on sea life. [IFI] is not supporting it in its current form.”

Earlier this month the National Inland Fisheries Forum also criticised as "flawed" the consent process regarding the 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm planned off Inis Oirr, which would be the largest of its kind in Europe.

If approved, the operation could more than double Ireland's current production rate of farmed salmon.

The Limerick Leader has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#Oil - Tullow Oil's shares dropped more than 6% in London trading early last week with the news that its prospect in the Atlantic off French Guiana is dry, according to The Irish Times.

The Irish-founded oil exploration firm says it encountered a number of oil shows in reservoir quality sands at its Zaedyus-2 well in the waters north of Brazil, but it "did not encounter commercial hydrocarbons".

The result was described as "very disappointing" by Investec Securities analyst Stuart Joyner - though better signs have been seen at the nearby Zaedyus-1 well, drilled by Tullow with partners Royal Dutch Shell and Total at a cost of $250 million.

And as previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK-based company's prospects off the Ivory Coast and Ghana have proven encouraging for future exploration.

Published in News Update

#FISHFARM - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) is set to hold a public tender process for the development of the proposed deep sea fish farm in Galway Bay, according to The Irish Times.

Financiers around the world have expressed interest in the 500-hectare organic salmon farm to be located off Inis Oirr in the Aran Islands, though BIM said it was not at liberty to disclose who they are.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the proposed fish farm would be the largest of its kind in Europe, set to double the State's production of organic salmon.

BIM says it is already receiving inquiries for jobs from emigrants wishing to return home.

However the scheme has faced opposition from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and local anglers, who cite the potential threat to wild salmon numbers in the area.

IFI recently issued a statement regarding its submission on the project's Environmental Impact Statement, raising concerns about the scale of the development and the impact of sea lice - infestations of which are often concentrated by aquaculture.

The public consultation that began in mid-October is scheduled to conclude next Wednesday 12 December.

Published in Fishing

#VOYAGE - The Irish Independent reports on the rapturous welcome received by retired Irish fisherman Finbarr Murphy in Iceland as he retraces the route of St Brendan the Navigator.

The West Cork sailor has already travelled on his restored yacht, the 19-metre Bella Donna, via the Orkneys, Norway and the Faroe Islands - crossing the freezing waters of the far north Atlantic to reach Iceland last month.

Since his arrival he's been treated as a celebrity, with regular appearances in the press and on TV and radio, and so has understandably decided to spend the rest of the winter in Iceland before the final leg of his voyage to Greenland early in the new year.

Murphy isn't the first to retrace the voyage of the legendary St Brendan, as last year a crew of sailors, artists, musicians and historians attempted the same on board Paddy Barry's 45ft yacht Ar Seachrán.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, that trip hit a snag along the way in May last year when the boat was refused permission to land on Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast.

Published in Offshore

#SURFING - The Irish Times reports that surfers from around the world are flocking to Sligo in expectation of what might be Ireland's biggest waves of the year.

Breakers of up to 30 feet off Donegal Bay could be the result if growing swells in the Atlantic combine with southerly winds expected from this weekend.

“We have had 50ft waves in the past but 30ft waves would certainly be great and you would have a lot of surfers coming into Ireland to follow them," said top Irish surf pro Richie Fitzgerald.

Elsewhere, President Michael D Higgins made a recent visit to the Somo Surf Centre in Cantabria, northern Spain while attending Spanish courses ahead of his State visit to South America last month, as Oceanlook reports.

“I had already heard of the charms of Loredo and Somo," the President commented. "There are many Irishmen flying to Cantabria in search of sun and also waves to get the chance to surf.”

Published in Surfing
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