Displaying items by tag: irish sea
#SELLAFIELD - Radioactive waste stored at Sellafield poses an "intolerable risk" to the environment, according to the UK's National Audit Office.
RTÉ News reports that a new study from the British government department watchdog highlights the failure of successive operators of the UK's largest nuclear plant to properly dispose of waste from the facility over more than 50 years.
The complex, on the coast of the Irish Sea in Cumbria, is said to contain enough contaminated waste to fill 27 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Marine experts are calling on the UK public to pile pressure on their government to create Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to help protect and restore marine wildlife in the Irish Sea and around the British coast.
The Living Seas North West Conference in Cumbria recently was a call to arms for marine experts and the public to join forces to protect the oceans.
And organisers the North West Wildlife Trusts used the event to press support for nature reserves in the Irish Sea as part of a UK-wide campaign by The Wildlife Trusts for 127 MCZs around the United Kingdom.
Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York, described areas off the Isle of Man which have never been dredged as “carpeted with life”.
He said: “In the 19th century the Irish Sea bed was crusted with oysters. Today it is not just a sea different in the quantity of the wildlife it is different in the quality of the habitats in which that wildlife lives.”
Prof Roberts described how a study showed that dredging to catch 28,000 prawns also caught 12,000 other fish, most of which were thrown away. He also spoke of dives where he has seen the seabed damaged in huge areas by trawling.
“Over-fishing is not the only thing going on in the oceans," he said, "they are also affected by climate change and pollution. Our seas are changing faster than at any other time in human history.”
Prof Roberts said he was not against fishing, but that conservationists and the fishing industry need to find some common ground. “The prosperity of wildlife and the fishing industry depend on it," he said.
Meanwhile, The Wildlife Trusts marine protected areas manager Richard White spoke about the problems caused "by all the things that human activity is doing wrong".
He added: "We are trying to increase the resilience of our marine wildlife. The critical part is that we are doing this by trying to create Marine Conservation Zones.”
Pollution was highlighted by TV star and diver Paul Rose and Caroline Salthouse of the North West Coastal Forum.
“A huge problem is ocean debris," said Rose. "In 43 years of diving I am beginning to see more plastic and less fish. It is an issue that we must use to get people engaged in what is going on in our seas.”
Salthouse called for the public not only to sign the Wildlife Trusts’ new 'Petition Fish', but also to write to the British government as individuals.
More details about the Marine Conservation Zones and Petition Fish can be found at www.wildlifetrusts.org/living-seas
The volunteer crew received the request from Holyhead Coastguard after a mayday call from the skipper of a 24-yacht off the northwest coast of Anglesey in North Wales.
The man, who was the only person aboard the vessel, was on his way to the Canary Islands when he made the call for assistance.
A helicopter from RAF Valley stood by the casualty until the lifeboat crew arrived to rescue him and tow his vessel back to Holyhead.
The yacht reportedly started to sink as it was towed into Holyhead harbour, but the lifeboat crew managed to secure the vessel alongside the boatyard slip.
The cable laying operations between Wales and Portmarnock Beach in north Co Dublin will commence on Thursday 25 October for approximately 14 days, subject to weather conditions. The works will be undertaken from the C/S Resolute (Call sign V7FF3) supported by the M/V Coastal Discovery (Call sign PBUZ).
Both vessels will display appropriate shapes and lights during the operations, and will keep a listening watch on VHF Channel 16 at all times.
Mariners are particularly advised to note that small craft will also be supporting the main operations vessels in the immediate area of Portmarnock Beach. These craft will have VHF communications, and their movements will be co-ordinated by the main vessels.
In addition, divers will be operating between Portmarnock Beach and the cable laying vessel within the approved corridor for these work and to a maximum distance of 6.5km from the shore.
All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give all vessels involved in these operations a wide berth.
Full details of co-ordinates are included in Marine Notice No 59 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Manx Wildlife Trust has commenced its annual survey of seal pups on the Calf of Man, as Isle of Man Today reports.
Volunteers will be on watch at the island nature reserve, off the southwest coast of Man proper in the Irish Sea, for the next four weeks to develop a complete picture of the area's grey seal pupping season.
As of Sunday 14 October, some 14 seal pups have already been born, which is a few less than last year, according to marine officer Eleanor Stone - though she notes "there are still many pregnant females around, just waiting for their time to give birth".
Stone, who is volunteering on the first week-long shift, said the trust has already spotted six seals recognised from previous years, and it is expected many more will be returning to the sheltered beaches of the islet.
Isle of Man Today has more on the story HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - A marine wildlife conference in Cumbria aims to delve deep into the Irish Sea to uncover some of its fascinating secrets.
The Living Seas North West Conference takes place at the Netherwood Hotel in Grange-over-Sands next Friday 19 October and presents an opportunity to discover the diversity of wildlife we have in the Irish Sea – a magnet for hundreds of species from huge basking sharks to tiny molluscs and many varieties of birds.
“The Living Seas North West conference is a chance to learn more about the Irish Sea – what’s in it, what activities go on, what impacts these have had, how it was managed in the past, how it is being managed now and how can we approach its management in the future,” said Cumbria Wildlife Trust marine conservation officer Lindsay Sullivan.
World renowned ocean expert Professor Callum Roberts and explorer, naturalist and TV personality Paul Rose will be among those giving talks on the day, and there will also be discussions hosted by experts from around the UK and Ireland on topics from offshore development and fishing to coastal zone management.
And for anyone aspiring to a career in the marine or coastal environments, the afternoon careers session will introduce them to seasoned experts offering their views on how to land your dream marine job.
The Living Seas North West Conference, hosted by the Irish Sea Wildlife Trusts, runs from 9am-5pm on Friday 19 Octover. Admission is £35 per person (#15 for under-25s and students) and includes a buffet lunch, tea and coffee, and a full delegate pack. For further details visit www.irishsea.org.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Might there be evidence of coral reefs in the Irish Sea? Johnny Woodlock of the Irish Seal Sanctuary believes so.
Writing for Wildlife Extra, the Sea Fishery Advisory Group member recalls seeing a piece of coral that a former commercial trawler skipper said he had found in one of this nets more than 20 years ago while fishing off the Isle of Man.
Woodlock says he identified the sample as Lophelia pertusa, a coldwater coral that thrives in deeper water and one that was not previously linked to the Irish Sea, according to the records of the Marine Institute and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Then this past August, when Woodlock uncovered a similar piece of coral and identified it as the same species, he was able to find out the co-ordinates where both pieces had been netted and forwarded them to the Marine Institute.
Though the area of the Irish Sea in question "has been heavily trawled by larger boats pulling heavier nets for a number of years", Woodlock remains hopeful that the Marine Institute can find evidence of living coral in the depths.
Often mistaken for plant life, coral is actually a compact colony of very simple marine wildlife called polyps, encased in a skeleton of calcium carbonate which gives them their solid appearance.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Seatruck Ferries is providing free passage this autumn for surveyors with a UK-based marine wildlife charity to discover how many dolphins and seabirds make their home in the Irish Sea.
MARINElife will be extending its marine conservation research on existing sailings operating between Liverpool and Dublin - and it is hoped its surveyors will spot a variety of cetaceans en route, including minke whales, common dolphin, Harbour Porpoise and Risso's dolphins.
Grey seals, basking sharks and a host of seabirds from the gannet to the Manx Shearwater, which winters off the coast of Brazil, may also be spotted.
The charity will be running monthly scientific surveys - the first started last week on 27th September – and its recorded sightings will be posted on the MARINElife website.
It's expected that the data collected will contribute to a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of dolphins, porpoises, seals and seabirds in the Irish Sea.
The research with Seatruck Ferries also contributes to a larger project operating on ferries around the UK coastline.
Kevin Gilland, Seatruck Ferries representative involved in the project, said: "We are delighted to expand our help to MARINElife so they can further develop the understanding of the wildlife in the area. We look forward to hearing more about the wildlife encountered on these routes."
Adrian Shephard, trustee for MARINElife, commented that "ferries, or ships of opportunity as we refer to them, are a very convenient way of carrying out off-shore surveys.
"They allow us to access the same areas of ocean and monitor for changes over time - vital information which forms the basis of conservation decisions."
MARINElife research director Dr Tom Brereton described the ferry routes across the Irish Sea as "particularly vital as the area is an important passage for whale, dolphins, sharks and even turtles."
#ANGLING - Sea trout were top of the agenda at a recent meeting between Welsh Deputy Fisheries Minister Alun Davies and Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd at Leinster House recently.
Both ministers were briefed about progress with the INTERREG IVa Ireland-Wales-funded Celtic Sea Trout Project, which finishes in 2013.
By providing detailed information about the status of sea trout stocks, their genetics and their varied life histories, the project aims to enhance the fisheries for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Other important aims of the project are strengthening the contribution of sea trout to rural economies, to general quality of life and well-being and to national biodiversity - while sea trout life history variation may also contribute to understanding the effects of climate change.
For sustainable management the Celtic Sea Trout Project team is working on developing a number of management tools which will assist fisheries managers to assess fishery performance and better manage this valuable species. The requirement to manage sea trout sustainably across the Irish Sea was strongly emphasised.
Both ministers heard that engagement with anglers across the project has been important to provide sea trout scale samples, and that the project has served to increase awareness of the value of what Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) described as "this excellent angling species".
Minister Davies was also briefed about the role and broad responsibilities of IFI.
#MARINE WARNING - In its latest Marine Notice to mariners in the Irish Sea, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises of cable repairs being carried out east of Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford.
Operations commenced yesterday 6 September and will continue till approximately next Thursday 13 September, subject to the weather. The works will be undertaken by C/S Peter Faber (call sign FLEV).
During repairs the vessel will be links to the seabed by the cable and will have poor manoeuvrability. This will be signalled with shapes and/or lights as required. The vessel will also broadcast regular safety messages to give details of activity and position.
All vessens in the area, especially those engaged in fishing, are requested to give a wide berth, and not to pass between the repair vessel and the shore.
Full details, including co-ordinates, are included in Marine Notice No 48 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.