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Displaying items by tag: Scotland

#MarineWildlife - The killer whale found beached on a Scottish island last weekend likely died after getting entangled in fishing gear for days, say experts.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the orca known as Lulu to researchers, who have been tracking her unique pod since the early 1990s, was discovered on the island of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides last Sunday 3 January.

Lulu's "evolutionary significant" group has been under threat for years due to the absence of calves among its number since scientists began monitoring them around the Scottish and north Irish coasts.

But according to The Press and Journal, Lulu's death was not down to natural causes – with a post-mortem report from experts at the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme claiming "convincing evidence that she had become chronically entangled" in fishing gear, with deep wounds consistent with a rope wrapping around her tail.

“There were no ropes or gear left on the carcass," said the scientists in a statement. "We’re assuming all this from the lesions we found on her body, so we don’t know if this was due to active fishing gear, abandoned or ‘ghost’ gear, or other marine debris."

The Press and Journal has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - One of the last remaining members of a unique pod of killer whales has been found dead on a Scottish island.

As STV News reports, the orca known as Lulu to marine researchers was found beached on the island of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides on Scotland's west coast on Sunday 3 January.

Like John Doe, who is believed to have survived an altercation with a shark a year ago, Lulu was one of a familiar family of orcas that's regularly seen off Scotland and even as far west as the Donegal coast.

It's a pod that's piqued the interest of marine science due to its genetic distinctiveness from other orcas in the North Atlantic, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

But the "evolutionary significant" group's numbers have been dwindling in recent years due to the absence of calves since scientists started tracking them more than two decades ago.

"It is particularly sad to know that another one of these killer whales, unique to the British and Irish Isles, has died," said the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. "There may be as few as eight individuals remaining in this population."

STV News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Submarine - RAF aircraft have been joined by French and Canadian counterparts as well as a Royal Navy frigate in the search for a Russian submarine reported to have been seen off the Scottish coast.

According to The Scotsman, it's believed the search has been ongoing for more than a week after a vessel was detected north of Scotland, though the UK's Ministry of Defence would neither confirm nor deny such a search was taking place.

The news comes some three months after a Donegal crab boat reported a near-miss with a submarine off Tory Island on Ireland's North Coast.

It's not known what country's military that submarine represented, but it is feared that Russian subs might be secretly surveying undersea internet cables for potential strategic advantage.

However, searches for such rogue submarines have been blamed by environmentalists for prompting significant whale strandings, as reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year.

The Scotsman has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Tourism - Ireland is lagging behind our Scottish neighbours when it comes to strategy for growing marine tourism.

That's according to Dun Laoghaire Marina, which today (Friday 20 November) tweeted on the impending announcement in Edinburgh of a five-year action plan to grow Scotland's marine tourism industry by £90 million (€128.7 million).

Connected with that are moves to boost sailing tourism by nearly 50% of its current £100 million value to the Scottish economy, as STV News reports.

"Providing authentic experiences, improving the customer journey and building industry capabilities" are the three themes identified in the Scottish plan to develop both infrastructure and facilities for coastal and waterway attractions, and events and initiatives highlighting the same.

While local strategies are being devised in Ireland, such as Galway City Council's recent six-year tourism blueprint to take advantage of the successful Wild Atlantic Way initiative, Dun Laoghaire Marina laments that there is nothing in this country comparable to Scotland's national plan, nor the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Recreational Boating and Marine Tourism.

That's despite the focus on the marine sector and the 'blue economy' championed at this summer's second Ocean Wealth Conference.

What do you think? Does Ireland need a clearer roadmap towards making the most of our marine resources for tourism? Let us know in the comments below

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Tagged under

#Windfarm - Scotland is set to host the first floating offshore windfarm in British and Irish waters, as the Guardian reports.

Backed by Norwegian energy giant Statoil, the Hywind Scotland project will comprise five 6MW turbines interconnected by cables and anchored to the seabed, generating energy to power as many as 20,000 homes.

Construction is set to begin off mainland Scotland's easternmost point at Peterhead in the new year, and is expected to see reduced generating costs well below £100MWh.

It's also hoped that the pioneering scheme will lead to the use of more remote and deeper water sites for the windfarms of the future.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea

Sightings of juvenile minke whales off Scotland’s west coast increased in 2015 to the highest ever recorded within a survey season, during marine research expeditions carried out by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust – indicating either a significant increase in actual numbers or an influx of minke whales from elsewhere.

The charity’s 2015 research season also recorded the highest annual number of common dolphin sightings since its expeditions began, with 723 individuals observed over 63 encounters. The common dolphin was once uncommon in the Hebrides, but the trust’s encounter rate with the species has more than doubled over the past 12 years, also for reasons that remain unclear.

Kerry Froud, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust Biodiversity Officer, said: “These intriguing changes in Scotland’s marine life highlight the importance of long-term monitoring of cetaceans – so that we can better understand what is happening in our waters, and then make management recommendations to better protect this world-class area of marine biodiversity.”

The studies were carried out between May to October by scientists and volunteers on board Silurian, the trust’s dedicated research yacht. The research forms part of the trust’s unique long-term monitoring of whales, dolphins and porpoises – collectively known as cetaceans – in the Hebrides. Information on basking sharks is also collected during the surveys.

A steady increase in the encounter rate with minke whale juveniles since 2011 was particularly marked this year, with the highest rate of young whales recorded since the trust started boat-based surveys in 2003. The 2015 surveys documented an encounter rate of 1 young minke whale per 286 km – three times the average over the trust’s entire dataset.

The minke whale is the smallest of the baleen whales – species which utilise baleen plates rather than teeth to feed – in the North Atlantic, measuring up to 10 metres in length, and is the most commonly sighted baleen whale species in the UK. Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust holds an identification catalogue of 125 minke whales known to have visited the Hebrides – of which some individuals return to the same areas annually, while others may only be passing through.

While an increase in the encounter rate with young minke whales is encouraging, there are still very serious issues regarding the conservation of this migratory species. To the north of Scotland, both Iceland and Norway still hunt minke whales. It remains unknown whether or not the minke whales that swim through Scottish waters frequent the waters where they risk being hunted.

The record number of common dolphin sightings – coupled with the most northerly sighting of the species ever recorded in September this year, off Tromso in Norway – suggests that changes are underway within our seas and oceans. The causes, and wider effects on the marine environment and other species, are still unclear – underlining the importance of on-going research.

Additionally, the number of white-beaked dolphin encounters almost doubled in comparison to 2014, although many of these encounters were made during one particular day of survey around the Butt of Lewis. This rarer, colder water species is confined to the north Atlantic and prefers temperate to sub-Arctic waters – meaning that the warming of Hebridean seas, at a rate of 0.5°C per decade, is expected to exert increased pressure on the populations found off Scotland’s west coast.

White-beaked dolphins have been the focus of acoustic research by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, with a study in 2013 discovering that white beaked dolphin populations off the east and west coasts of Scotland have distinct acoustic signatures, almost like accents.

Alongside warming seas and climate change, human activities causing increasing stress on cetaceans and basking sharks include fisheries by-catch, pollution, underwater noise and habitat loss.

Cetacean entanglement in litter and fishing gear can cause mobility problems, injury and even death, and the trust is working cooperatively with the fishing industry and other researchers in the UK to better understand this problem so that it can be addressed. This year, ironically whilst the Silurian crew was celebrating a volunteer’s 60th birthday, a bunch of balloons was retrieved from the water – a reminder that celebratory balloons, even if marketed as ‘biodegradable’, can have lasting consequences for our wider environment.

Silurian – previously used in filming of the BBC’s The Blue Planet series – covered more than 4,000 nautical miles in 2015, its crew of volunteers and marine scientists documenting more than 1,200 encounters with cetaceans and basking sharks, and recording almost 625 hours of underwater detections of cetaceans using specialist listening equipment.

Despite less than favourable weather conditions, the overall encounter rate remained steady, with eight sightings of cetaceans per 100 km recorded, compared to nine per 100 km in 2014 and five per 100 km in 2013.

The annual surveys depend on paying volunteers. In 2015, 69 dedicated volunteers clocked up 760 survey hours – working with marine scientists to conduct visual surveys and acoustic monitoring with hydrophones (underwater microphones) monitored by computers, and identifying individual cetaceans through photography of dorsal fins.

The trust – based in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull – is recruiting volunteers for its 2016 surveys, to live and work as citizen scientists onboard Silurian for expeditions of one to two weeks from April to September. Participation costs cover boat expenses, support the trust’s research programme and include accommodation, training, food and insurance. For details, contact Morven Russell at [email protected], call 01688 302620, or visit www.hwdt.org.

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust has been monitoring marine mega fauna in the Hebrides for 13 years, and is the only organisation collecting long-term data on such a large scale on Scotland’s west coast. A short film about its marine surveys is above.

Western Scotland’s seas are one of Europe’s most important habitats for cetaceans and one of the UK’s most biologically productive areas. So far 24 of the world’s 83 cetacean species have been recorded in the region, many being national and international conservation priority species.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Tagged under

#ROWING: The Ireland senior team for the Home International Regatta in Strathclyde in Scotland on July 25th has been named. Justin Ryan, who was a senior Ireland international in 2013, will compete in the lightweight single sculls. The selection was based on performances at Cork Regatta, but the times used were from the manual system, as there were problems with the automatic system. The athlete levy will be €400.

 

SENIOR MEN
The following Senior Men have been selected to compete for Rowing Ireland at the
Home International
Regatta 2015
SENIOR
MEN SCULLING
1
x
Luke Keating
Carlow RC
Lwt 1
x
Justin Ryan Skibbereen RC
2x
Fionnan Groome Commercial RC
Ronan Allen Garda BC
Lwt 2x
Declan O’Connor St Michaels RC
Raymond O’Mahony Waterford BC
4x
Justin Ryan Skibbereen RC
Declan O’Connor St Michaels RC
Luke Keating Carlow RC
Fionnan Groome Commercial RC
SENIOR
MEN SWEEP
2
-
Neil Gahan Commercial RC
Colm Dowling Commercial RC
Lwt 2
-
TBD
4
-
Max Murphy UCD BC
Niall Farrell UCD BC
Ken McCarthy Skibbereen RC
Murray Connolly Skibbereen RC
4+
Andy Harrington UCC RC
Alex O’Riordan UCC RC
David O’Leary UCC RC
Sean O’Sullivan UCC RC
Gavin Connolly - Cox Commercial RC
8+
Neil Gahan Commercial RC
Colm Dowling Commercial RC
Max Murphy UCD BC
Niall Farrell UCD BC
Ken McCarthy Skibbereen RC
Murray Connolly Skibbereen RC
Andy Harrington UCC RC
Alex O’Riordan UCC RC
Gavin Connolly - Cox Commercial RC
The crews listed above are not listed in seat order in t
he boats
Page 2 of 3
SENIOR WOMEN
The following Senior Women have been selected to compete for Rowing Ireland at
the Home International
Regatta 2015
SENIOR
WOMEN SCULLING
1
x
Julia Vascotto Castleconnell
BC
Lwt 1
x
Sarah Quinn Belfast BC
2x
Olivia Blundell Belfast BC
Chloe Deyermond MCB RC
Lwt 2x
Phoebe Mulligan Belfast BC
Kirstie Turner Belfast BC
4x
Sarah Quinn Belfast BC
Phoebe Mulligan Belfast BC
Kirstie Turner Belfast BC
Julia Vascotto Castleconnell
BC
The crews listed above are not listed in seat order in t
he boats
SENIOR
WOMEN SWEEP
2
-
Michelle Lonergan Shannon RC
Helen Ryan Shannon RC
Lwt 2
-
TBD
4
-
Aoife Gilligan Shannon RC
Karen Joy Shannon RC
Dineka Maguire QUBLBC
Aine De Baroid QUBLBC
4+
Anne O’Leary Commercial RC
Edel Garry Commercial RC
Martina Bracken Commercial RC
Emma Feerick Neptune RC
Shauna Fitzsimons – Cox Commercial RC
8+
Michelle Lonergan Shannon RC
Helen Ryan Shannon RC
Anne O’Leary Commercial RC
Edel Garry Commercial RC
Aoife Gilligan Shannon RC
Karen Joy Shannon RC
Martina Bracken Commercial RC
Emma Feerick Neptune RC
Shauna Fitzsimons - Cox Commercial RC
The crews listed above are not listed in seat order
 
Published in Rowing

#Shipping - Stricken cargo ship the Lysblink Seaways was set to be moved to a safe haven yesterday afternoon (25 February) in advance of poor weather.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 120m-long vessel ran around near Ardnamuchan Point in Scotland's West Highlands a week ago while en route from Belfast to Norway.

The ship later refloated in high tide a day after her hull was lifted onto the rocky shore near Kilchoan.

Divers began inspections for damage as the Lysblink Seaways dropped anchor near the grounding spot in Mingary Bay.

But according to Practical Boat Owner, severe weather forecast for the next few days prompted quick action to pump out more than 150 tonnes of fuel from the ship.

She was then scheduled to be towed to a safe anchorage at Scallastle Bay in the Sound of Mull, some 17 miles away.

Practical Boat Owner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#aquatictourism – The British Marine Federation is launching a Marine Tourism Strategy in March at the Scottish Tourism Week National Conference. Over 500 decision makers and key players in the tourism industry will be attending the event.

By 2020, the BMF say they want Scotland to be: "A marine tourism destination of first choice for high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience delivered by skilled and passionate people."

The Marine Tourism Strategy is an initiative led by a working group of industry leaders and user groups together with public agencies and enterprise bodies to focus on the sustainable growth of Scotland's marine leisure sector. 'With your help we can build the economic benefits of marine tourism for Scotland as a whole, and for all of our individual businesses, teams, employees and families' says BMF. 

Scotland's marine environment is one of its crown jewels and encompasses some of the world's most beautiful and varied boating waters. Whether visitors seek adventure, wildlife, family boating experiences, day or extended visits, coastal, offshore or inland waters, Scotland's marine offer is complete, varied and of the highest standard.

 

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#Shipping - A cargo ship en route from Belfast to Norway has run aground near Ardnamurchan Point in Scotland's West Highlands.

And as BBC News reports, the UK coastguard believes it will be stuck there for some time.

The Lysblink Seaways, a 120m-long vessel, found its hull lifted onto the rocky shore after getting into difficulty off Kilchoan in the early hours of yesterday morning (18 Feburary).

There are no reports of injuries among the nine crew on board, and tugs are on the way to try to dislodge the hull from its perch.

BBC News has images of the stricken ship HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 4 of 10

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