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Strangford Lough Trials Eco-Friendly Boat Moorings

6th April 2022
Diver video is recorded to monitor the seagrass condition around the entire circumference of new eco-friendly moorings on Strangford Lough
Diver video is recorded to monitor the seagrass condition around the entire circumference of new eco-friendly moorings on Strangford Lough

At the end of March, the Strangford and Lecale Partnership started a new pilot study of Advanced Mooring Systems in Strangford Lough. It is the first study of its kind in Northern Ireland, and these eco-friendly moorings will avoid or limit the damage caused to the seafloor habitats and species by the swinging chain of traditional boat moorings.

The Partnership covers the whole of the Strangford and Lecale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, taking in much of the Ards Peninsula, Strangford Lough and Lecale. It brings together statutory authorities to improve heritage management across the whole of the area and is underpinned by the Department of the Environment, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Newry Mourne and Down District Council and Ards and North Down Borough Council.

The Sterling mooring system uses floats to keep the chain off the seabed

Two different types of advanced mooring systems were installed in Ballyhenry Bay following condition assessments of the Seagrass around the existing swinging chain moorings. The site is just north of Portaferry on the eastern shore of the Lough near the Narrows.

A Seaflex Mooring unit about to be deployedA Seaflex Mooring unit about to be deployed

The diver video recorded the seagrass condition around the entire circumference of the mooring, the old mooring was removed and the new mooring installed.

The two different systems being trialled are Seaflex, an elastic and environmentally friendly mooring solution and Sterling which uses floats to keep the chain off the seabed.

The area will be resurveyed next year to see which has been more successful in allowing the seagrass to re-establish. This work is being carried out by Cuan Marine Services Ltd, in partnership with local mooring owners, and funded through the NIEA Challenge Fund. This fund supports the Water Quality Improvement Strand of the Environmental Challenge Fund which seeks to support projects that help people connect with and seek improvements to their local aquatic environment.

Cuan Marine Services are carrying out the Strangford Lough studyCuan Marine Services are carrying out the Strangford Lough study

Cuan Marine Services were employed by Newry Mourne and Down District Council to deliver a feasibility study ‘Potential for advanced-moorings as management option for Strangford Lough Marine Protected Areas (MPA)’

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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