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Displaying items by tag: biodiversity

#Biodiversity - Coastwatch volunteers taking part in events for National Biodiversity Week have discovered a massive honeycomb reef as much as a kilometre long in the Waterford Estuary.

Members of the public began checking the shore between Hook Head in Co Wexford and Annestown in Co Waterford on Monday 18 May, an area that has previously shown signs of honeycomb reefs.

But volunteers were astounded to make this latest massive discovery, and Coastwatch members are working to ascertain if it might be the biggest reef of its kind in the world, a record currently held by Saint-Malo in Brittany.

Karen Dubsky of Coastwatch Europe said "first results look very encouraging. We are looking for more surveyors to give an hour and search their shore."

Events continue till Monday 1 June for Ireland's National Biodiversity Week 2015, with today (Friday 22 May) being International Day for Biological Diversity.

Upcoming flagship events include a marine wildlife-watching trip to Lambay Island next Wednesday 27 May, but the event calendar lists a whole host of activities both around the coast and inland throughout the country.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland is inviting submissions from all interested parties, groups and individuals before commencing the development of a Heritage & Biodiversity Plan for the waterways under its care.

The cross-border agency for Ireland's inland waterways is particularly seeking input into the issues and/or projects that should be addressed.

Beginning tomorrow Monday 20 October and running till 12 January 2015, interested stakeholders can complete an online survey (or submit by email or post) to gauge waterways users' vision for the natural and cultural heritage of our rivers, lakes and canals.

Future consultations will seek input on Waterways Ireland's proposed Disability Action Plan, new Lough Erne bye-laws, and Environmental and Heritage Policy going forward. For more see the Waterways Ireland website HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#MarineWildlife - The Northern Ireland Environment Minister says the new Marine Bill put before Stormont marks a "turning point" for the North.

As 4NI reports, this week saw the fourth stage of the Marine Bill in the NI Assembly as well as the launch of a consultation strategy for Marine Protection Areas (MPAs).

Should it be enacted in legislation, the Marine Bill - strongly supported by the RSPB among others - would give the Assembly powers to select and manage Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to safeguard the North's marine biodiversity.

Minister Alex Attwood commented: "Northern Ireland’s seas are home to some of the world's most spectacular wildlife and habitats, and have the potential to power our nation through wind and wave and create thousands of new jobs.

"We have reached a turning point and must modernise in order to meet increasing and competing demands on our seas."

The Marine Bill also provides for the creation of a National Maritime Plan which covers all aspects of the marine environment from wildlife to investment in tidal and offshore wind power.

4NI has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#InvasiveSpecies - Dr Joe Caffrey of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) presented Ireland’s position on the threat of invasive alien species to Ireland's waterways at a high-level debate at the European Parliament in Brussels on 21 February last. 

Discussions centred on the issue of invasive alien species in Europe and the development of an EU policy instrument to tackle the threats.

The debate, titled ’Biodiversity’s Ticking Time Bomb: Understanding and Addressing the Problem of Invasive Species in Europe’, was organised via the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Birdlife, with the support of the European Habitats Forum.

Dr Caffrey was one of nine speakers who presented to the large gathering where he addressed the theme ‘The challenges and opportunities of member states in implementing EU legal measures: the example of Ireland’.

The talks were followed by a highly interactive panel discussion during which the pros and cons of a dedicated EU legislative instrument on invasive alien marine species were debated. The results of EU deliberations on this theme will emerge in the coming months when a consultation document will be released.

In the meantime, IFI and EIFAAC will host the FINS (Freshwater Invasives – Networking for Strategy) Conference in Galway on 9-11 April which will address key topics relating to freshwater invasive species and harmful aquatic pathogens.   

The conference is attracting a large international audience of policy makers in this area. The primary objective of the conference is to provide a forum where international scientists, policy makers and stakeholders will address designated themes with a view to informing management and policy development in this increasingly important area.

Minister Fergus O'Dowd, who recently launched the world's first angling kit to combat invasive species, said of the conference: “Invasive species cause some €12.5 billion worth of damage each year in the European Union alone and are a serious threat to native biodiversity across the continent. IFI is keenly aware of the threat to our own natural resources, particularly to our economy, health and recreational activities.

“I want to congratulate IFI on the lead it has taken in its scientific, practical and proactive approach to this issue, working with stakeholders on the front line to ensure that biosecurity awareness is paramount. They are also bringing Ireland’s first-hand experience to Europe and adding to the positive debate on an EU wide cooperative framework to safeguard our natural resources through legislation and knowledge transfer."

The FINS conference will be held at the Galway Bay Hotel and Conference Centre in Salthill, Galway, Ireland from 9-11 April 2013. For more details visit the FINS Conference website.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Shannon - MulkearLIFE and Inland Fisheries Ireland have announced details of a series of free illustrated talks taking place in Limerick throughout February on the extraordinarily rich natural heritage of Ireland, and in particular the Lower Shannon.

The talks form part of MulkearLIFE’s Environmental Education Programme, an outreach programme in local schools and the local community in the Mulkear catchment. The series will be hosted over four Tuesday evenings and will include leading experts sharing their knowledge on farming and conservation and biodiversity management.

Among the talks will be the fascinating story of Atlantic salmon in the River Shannon, presented by Dr Phil McGinnity on 12 February. Dr McGinnity is Beaufort Principal Investigator with UCC’s Aquaculture & Fisheries Development Centre, with more than 23 ears of experience in fisheries science and management, and his talk will outline new and extremely exciting research on the genetic make-up of various salmon types found in the Shannon. He will also examine the history of salmon fisheries on the Shannon. His talk should be of particular interest to anglers far and wide and anyone with a general interest in Irish biodiversity.

On 19 February, Colette O’Flynn will relate the scary story of what is emerging in terms invasive non-native animals and plants arriving into Ireland's coastal and inland waterways. O’Flynn is a research officer with the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford. She manages the National Invasive Species Database for Ireland, which tracks non-native invasive animals and plants in Ireland. She is involved with many European and international invasive species information networks and has been involved with invasive species policy development for the European Commission. She previously worked in various areas in biodiversity education and awareness. Her talk should be of interest to a wide variety of people, especially anglers and those with an interest in Irish wildlife and general biodiversity.

The series of illustrated talks will conclude on 26 February with a talk by Eamon Cusack on building partnerships for sustainable fisheries on the Lower Shannon. Cusack is extremely well known in the fisheries world with over 35 years experience in inland fisheries management. As the former CEO of the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board, he encountered many of the challenges facing fisheries management, and has hands-on experience of policy development, strategic management, change management, enforcement, development and rehabilitation. This talk will focus on his recent work to bring together anglers and the ESB to provide to build effective and durable partnerships for sustainable fisheries. His talk should be of particular interest to local anglers and anyone with a general interest in conservation management and planning.

But the series begins on 5 February with a talk presented by Ruairí Ó Conchúir on conservation farming and biodiversity in the Upper Mulkear Catchment. Ó Conchúir is the manager of MulkearLIFE and has worked in land care management, rural development, farming for conservation and fisheries restoration work for over 20 years, including 10 years in Southern Africa. His talk will focus on the work of MulkearLIFE with farmers over the past three years, with a particular emphasis on partnership work with farmers to improve local habitats. The talk will also attempt to map out where upland farming in Ireland is heading and review work in other uplands parts of Ireland, and outline the likely implications are for upland communities, related farming and habitats post 2014. His talk should be of particular interest to anyone with a general interest in farming, the Irish uplands and the future of EU agri-environmental supports post 2014.

The venue for all talks is the Inland Fisheries Ireland office at Ashbourne Business Park, Dock Road, Limerick. There is plenty of free parking at the front of the building at night. Talks will commence at 8pm sharp and there is free admission to all talks. Further information regarding any of the talks may be obtained from the project [email protected] or from MulkearLIFE, Inland Fisheries Ireland (Limerick) at 061 300 238 or 087 062 5582.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Spotters of marine mammals such as whales and dolpins are among the country's wildlife enthusiasts being called to help compile an Atlas of Mammals in Ireland.

According to The Irish Times, more than 5,000 sightings have been logged already, but the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) needs more, and is asking members of the public, scientists and anyone with an interest in nature to send in details of whatever mammals they see.

Mammals have been chosen for the project because there is surprisingly "no or little data in terms of their distribution" despite being so commonly sighted, said NBDC director Liam Lysaght.

“We now have a system in place where we can plot the distribution of say the blue whale and the pygmy shrew."

In particular, the project aims to get better picture of the distribution of introduced species such as brown rats or mink, which can have a disastrous impact on nesting seabird colonies.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#LIFE ON THE SHANNON - MulkearLIFE has launched its amateur photo competition for 2012, with a prize fund of €1,000 on offer.

The contest celebrates the 20th anniversary of the EU LIFE programme and has the theme of ‘Exploring the Biodiversity of the Lower Shannon’. Images may cover any aspect of the theme, and can be submitted in any style from macro to landscape, black and white or colour.

There is no end to what type of image can be submitted. It could be an image of water, trees, plants, fish, invertebrates, fungi, mammals, birds, lichen, domestic animals - basically any living organism.

Though not essential, images that portray biodiversity in and along rivers, streams and waterways throughout the Lower Shannon region would be preferred.

Entry is free, and entrants can submit up to three images. Prizes will be offered in two categories: Children/Young Adults and Adults.

In addition, the overall winner will receive one full day's training in wildlife and landscape photography from a leading wildlife photographer later in 2012.

Full details of how to enter the competition are available on the MulkearLIFE website HERE. The closing date is 1 May 2012 at 5pm.

Published in Inland Waterways
The chairman of the Irish Bass Group gave his praise to the fish described as the 'wolf of the sea' at a recent awards day.
John Quinlan told his audience at the Irish Specimen Fish Committee awards that Ireland has "something truly unique" in a marine fish that is reserved for recreational angling.
He also noted that "in spite of 21 years of bass protection, we have never felt secure enough to build the type of industry that this unique opportunity should justify."
Quinlan explained how bass play "a vital role" in the biodiversity of our inland waters, highlighting the interdependence between bass and sea birds.
“There are still magic days to be had bass fishing," he said, adding his belief that "anglers have a right to be involved in the management of our bass stocks".
He continued: "We have looked after them very well over the last 21 years and earned the right to be involved in any decisions about how they should be managed in the future. If we are to be successful we need to be taken more seriously by our Government."
Quinlan pointed to the potential benefits of angling tourism, an area that "has been lacking for far too long".
“The French call bass ‘loupe de mer’ or ‘the wolf of the sea’," he added. "These beautiful fish have hunted in our waters for centuries and I hope they continue to do so for many years to come.”
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

The chairman of the Irish Bass Group gave his praise to the fish described as the 'wolf of the sea' at a recent angling awards day.

John Quinlan told his audience at the Irish Specimen Fish Committee awards that Ireland has "something truly unique" in a marine fish that is reserved for recreational angling.

He also noted that "in spite of 21 years of bass protection, we have never felt secure enough to build the type of industry that this unique opportunity should justify."

Quinlan explained how bass play "a vital role" in the biodiversity of our inland waters, highlighting the interdependence between bass and sea birds.

“There are still magic days to be had bass fishing," he said, adding his belief that "anglers have a right to be involved in the management of our bass stocks".

He continued: "We have looked after them very well over the last 21 years and earned the right to be involved in any decisions about how they should be managed in the future. If we are to be successful we need to be taken more seriously by our Government."

Quinlan pointed to the potential benefits of angling tourism, an area that "has been lacking for far too long".

“The French call bass ‘loupe de mer’ or ‘the wolf of the sea’," he added. "These beautiful fish have hunted in our waters for centuries and I hope they continue to do so for many years to come.” 

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

Ireland's first ever biodiversity audit has revealed that our mountains, woodlands and waterways are home to more than 31,000 different species of plants and animals. For all the latest news on Irish marine animals click here.

Ireland's waters boast more than 560 different species of marine fish, most of which are perch-like or ray finned fish, while 29 different fish species inhabit Irish inland waterways.

The state of knowledge report also found that popular species of plants, birds or mammals make up just one in ten of all species in Ireland.

Dr Liam Lysaght of the National Biodiversity Data Centre told the Irish Independent that the report "will for the first time allow us to accurately describe Ireland's biological resources and identify the knowledge gaps that exist".

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/irelands-wildlife-audit-revealed-2591440.html

Scientists joined with State bodies, NGOs and third-level institutions last August to conduct the survey of Ireland's plantlife and wildlife.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy Deenihan said that the protection of Ireland's biodiversity "is not a luxury".

The report is available online at biodiversity.biodiversityireland.ie

Ireland's first ever biodiversity audit has revealed that the country's mountains, woodlands and waterways are home to more than 31,000 different species of plants and animals.

The survey reveals that Ireland's waters boast more than 560 different species of marine fish, most of which are perch-like or ray finned fish, while 29 different fish species inhabit Irish inland waterways.

The state of knowledge report also found that popular species of plants, birds or mammals make up just one in ten of all species in Ireland.

Dr Liam Lysaght of the National Biodiversity Data Centre told the Irish Independent that the report "will for the first time allow us to accurately describe Ireland's biological resources and identify the knowledge gaps that exist".

Scientists joined with State bodies, NGOs and third-level institutions last August to conduct the survey of Ireland's plantlife and wildlife.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy Deenihan said that the protection of Ireland's biodiversity "is not a luxury".

The report is available online at biodiversity.biodiversityireland.ie

Published in Marine Wildlife
Irish boatowners and fishermen have been urged to remain alert to the prospect of so-called 'killer shrimp' invading Ireland's waters.
The dikerogammarus villosus shrimp - which has spread aggressively throughout Europe in the past decade and was discovered in England last year - could have "dire consequences" for the biodiversity of Ireland's rivers and lakes.
Kevin Flannery of Dingle Oceanworld told the Sunday Independent: "These invasive species are very aggressive and take over from the native species - and change the whole environment and ecosystem."
The killer shrimp is larger that its native cousin, making it a more deadly predator. It is known to attack insect larvae, baby fish and native shrimp.
"The shrimp will eat the primary source of food for the trout and salmon and other indigenous species which have been here for billions of years," said Flannery.
The killer shrimp has spread mainly by attaching to boat hulls at the larval stage, promping Flannery to urge all fishermen and boatowners to disinfect their vessels before using them in Irish waterways.

Irish boatowners and fishermen on inland waterways have been urged to remain alert to the prospect of so-called 'killer shrimp' invading Ireland's waters.

The dikerogammarus villosus shrimp - which has spread aggressively throughout Europe in the past decade and was discovered in England last year - could have "dire consequences" for the biodiversity of Ireland's rivers and lakes.

Kevin Flannery of Dingle Oceanworld told the Sunday Independent: "These invasive species are very aggressive and take over from the native species - and change the whole environment and ecosystem."

The killer shrimp is larger that its native cousin, making it a more deadly predator. It is known to attack insect larvae, baby fish and native shrimp.

"The shrimp will eat the primary source of food for the trout and salmon and other indigenous species which have been here for billions of years," said Flannery.

The killer shrimp has spread mainly by attaching to boat hulls at the larval stage, promping Flannery to urge all fishermen and boatowners to disinfect their vessels before using them in Irish waterways.

Published in Inland Waterways
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

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At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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