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Displaying items by tag: Northern Ireland

A new study of Northern Ireland's waters has found that stocks of cod and whiting are at their lowest ever recorded levels.
The Northern Ireland State of the Seas report, launched by NI environment minister Edwin Poots and agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew, showed that while herring and haddock stocks are improving, some species remain "seriously depleted", according to the Belfast Telegraph.
"This is a key time in managing our marine environment," said minister Poots. "We have an extremely rich and varied coastline with the marine species in our seas contributing to over half the overall biodiversity in Northern Ireland."
The report also evaluates the potential of other marine resources such as tourism, beaches, shipwrecks and renewable energy - all of which will contribute to new planning laws covering the marine environment.
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

A new study of Northern Ireland's waters has found that stocks of cod and whiting are at their lowest ever recorded levels.

The Northern Ireland State of the Seas report, launched by NI environment minister Edwin Poots and agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew, showed that while herring and haddock stocks are improving, some species remain "seriously depleted", according to the Belfast Telegraph.

"This is a key time in managing our marine environment," said minister Poots. "We have an extremely rich and varied coastline with the marine species in our seas contributing to over half the overall biodiversity in Northern Ireland."

The report also evaluates the potential of other marine resources such as tourism, beaches, shipwrecks and renewable energy - all of which will contribute to new planning laws covering the marine environment.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
Work has begun on a new visitor services building at Ballycastle harbour as part of a £7.4 million (€8.6 million) marine tourism project for the nothern part of Ireland and western Scotland.
Moyle District Council is one of 20 partners involved in the Sail West Initiative to develop boating, angling and marine tourism related infrastructure along the Northern Ireland coast north of Belfast Lough, Counties Sligo and Donegal, and a large part of Scotland's west coast.
The plan will see the demolition of the existing bungalow at the harbour, to be replaced with a new state-of-the-art marina building and harbourmaster's office with shower, kitchen and laundry facilities.
The council will also take part in an extensive marketing campaign along with the other Sail West partners to promote the region as an important sailing destination for sea-faring tourists.
The Ballymoney Times has more on the story HERE.

Work has begun on a new visitor services building at Ballycastle harbour as part of a £7.4 million (€8.6 million) marine tourism project for the nothern part of Ireland and western Scotland.

Moyle District Council is one of 20 partners involved in the Sail West Initiative to develop boating, angling and marine tourism related infrastructure along the Northern Ireland coast north of Belfast Lough, Counties Sligo and Donegal, and a large part of Scotland's west coast.

The plan will see the demolition of the existing bungalow at the harbour, to be replaced with a new state-of-the-art marina building and harbourmaster's office with shower, kitchen and laundry facilities.

The council will also take part in an extensive marketing campaign along with the other Sail West partners to promote the region as an important sailing destination for sea-faring tourists.

The Ballymoney Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
Supporters of Northern Ireland's coastguard control centre have launched a campaign to prevent any reduction of its service.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Bangor faces the axe under proposals to streamline coastguard services across the United Kingdom.
"Based on [the Maritime and Coastguard Agency proposals], MRCC Belfast could be at best a daylight-only station, or at worst close," argues the Belfast Coastguard Support Group (BCSG).
The group says it is campaigning not only to maintain the coastguard presence in Northerm Ireland, but also "to ensure that it remains a 24-hour 365-day-a-year station watching over and responding to emergencies on our coastal areas and inland waterways".
Responses from the public to the proposals will be accepted until 24 March. The BCSG has urged everyone in Northern Irerland to have their say and show their support for retaining a full coastguard service by writing to their local MPs and MLAs.
More imformation about the campaign is available at www.belfastcg.com

Supporters of Northern Ireland's coastguard control centre have launched a campaign to prevent any reduction of its service.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Bangor faces the axe under proposals to streamline coastguard services across the United Kingdom.

"Based on [the Maritime and Coastguard Agency proposals], MRCC Belfast could be at best a daylight-only station, or at worst close," argues the Belfast Coastguard Support Group (BCSG).

The group says it is campaigning not only to maintain the coastguard presence in Northerm Ireland, but also "to ensure that it remains a 24-hour 365-day-a-year station watching over and responding to emergencies on our coastal areas and inland waterways".

Responses from the public to the proposals will be accepted until 24 March. The BCSG has urged everyone in Northern Irerland to have their say and show their support for retaining a full coastguard service by writing to their local MPs and MLAs.

More imformation about the campaign is available at www.belfastcg.com

Published in Coastguard

Plans to operate the first passenger-only ferry service between Northern Ireland and Scotland are scheduled to start in late May, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Kintyre Express is to operate a Ballycastle-Campbeltown service on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 27 May and 26 September. Three daily return trips are scheduled on the service though the 1200hrs sailing from Campeltown and the corresponding 1400hrs sailing from Ballycastle will only operate on customer demand.

The passage time is scheduled to take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes between County Antrim and the Mull of Kintyre which is a distance of some 50 kilometres / 30-miles. Ticket fares for a single journey are £30 and the return is £55. On the remaining days that the route is not operated on, the boat is available for private charter.

In addition the new venture is to include an on-demand Campbeltown-Troon route running between April and September. This second service, linking Argyll with Ayrshire, will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The journey time is somewhat shorter with a scheduled time of 1 hour 15 minutes. The on-demand service must be booked in advance with singles fares costing £50 and a return ticket at £80. For further information click www.kintyreexpress.com

Like the recent proposals announced for a passenger-only ferry service across Galway Bay click here, the Kintyre Express operation will also use a fast-ferry in the form of rigid inflatable boats (RIB). The two routes from Campeltown will be served by Redbay Stormforce 11 metre RIBS which have centrally heated fully enclosed cabins for about 10 passengers. The Redbay Boats are built in Cushendall, Co. Antrim, for further information about the type of RIB to be used on the new routes click here.

The Ballycastle-Campbeltown route will be unique in that it will be the sole passenger-only ferry operator serving between the island of Ireland and the UK.

When the second route opens between Campbeltown-Troon, the company will be able to provide their boat service linked in with a train journey to Glasgow which they claim can be completed in less than two hours. Trains between Troon and Glasgow Central Station operate every 30 minutes and with a journey time of approximately 40 minutes.

For those who are car-free and time-free, this most northerly of travel routes is arguably the most scenic way to travel between Northern Ireland and Scotland and will appeal also to the intrepid traveler.

On both ferry services bicycles are carried for free and currently there is a special offer with all ferry tickets that can also be used for a free-day pass on the local Kintyre bus network for up to 24-hours. The bus operator is Craig of Campbeltown which trades as West Coast Motors and which owns Kintyre Express. The bus operator also serves on routes throughout Argyll and the island of Bute.

The next nearest cross-channel operator to the Kintyre Express Ballycastle-Campbeltown service is the car-carrying catamaran fast-ferry seasonal service between Larne and Troon operated by P&O (Irish Sea). The same company operates the year-round conventional car-ferry service on the North Channel between Larne and Cairnryan. Also operating to Loch Ryan is Stena Line which operates both ferry and HSS fast-craft services on the Belfast-Stranraer route.

Over the years there have been several attempts to revive the ferry between Ballycastle and Campeltown following a service that catered for vehicles too. For three summer seasons starting in 1997 the service was operated by the Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet Company, using the Claymore (1978/1,632grt) which could accommodate 500 passengers and 50 vehicles.

In 1996 the vessel was chartered to carry out tender duties for visitors and crew of the aircraft-carrier USS John F. Kennedy (displacement 82,655 tons full load) which was at anchor off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Published in Ports & Shipping
British Prime Minister has dismissed concerns over the potential loss of Northern Ireland's Coastguard centre.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that when questioned on the future of the Bangor control centre by DUP MP Jim Shannon, David Cameron replied that he understood "the need for good air sea rescue".
“I think what matters is not necessarily who is carrying it out, but are they fully qualified, is it a good service and is it value for money?” he added.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Bangor Coastguard control centre is facing closure under reforms to the service across the UK announced by Shipping Minister Mike Penning.

British Prime Minister has dismissed concerns over the potential loss of Northern Ireland's Coastguard centre.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that when questioned on the future of the Bangor control centre by DUP MP Jim Shannon, David Cameron replied that he understood "the need for good air sea rescue".

“I think what matters is not necessarily who is carrying it out, but are they fully qualified, is it a good service and is it value for money?” he added.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Bangor Coastguard control centre is facing closure under reforms to the service across the UK announced by Shipping Minister Mike Penning.

Published in Coastguard
The recent cold snap has posed a serious threat to Northern Ireland's fish.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that thousands of salmon froze to death at a fish farm in Co Antrim last week as temperatures dropped well below zero.
Staff at the British government research centre in Bushmills have battled against the elements to protect their fish stocks, as rivers and canals throughout the country have frozen over into virtual ice rinks.
Centre manager Martin McAleese told BBC Radio Ulster: "Unless you keep the water running in the tanks overnight, they'll run out of oxygen. The fish suffocate."
The full extent of last week's extreme cold on inland waters is not yet known, but it is feared that angling in the area could be affected.

The recent cold snap has posed a serious threat to Northern Ireland's fish.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that thousands of salmon froze to death at a fish farm in Co Antrim last week as temperatures dropped well below zero.

Staff at the British government research centre in Bushmills have battled against the elements to protect their fish stocks, as rivers and canals throughout the country have frozen over into virtual ice rinks.

Centre manager Martin McAleese told BBC Radio Ulster: "Unless you keep the water running in the tanks overnight, they'll run out of oxygen. The fish suffocate."

The full extent of last week's extreme cold on inland waters is not yet known, but it is feared that angling in the area could be affected.

Published in Angling
The UK's shipping minister has announced proposals that would see a reduction in operational hours or even the closure of Northern Ireland's coastguard command centre.
Earlier this week news emerged that the rescue command centre at Bangor was under threat by public spending cuts.
Now the News Letter reports that Minister Mike Penning's proposals would see only three 24-hour coastguard stations across the UK - in Aberdeen, Southampton and Dover - with five sub-centres operating in daytime hours, one being based either at Bangor or Liverpool.
Campaigners have voiced their opposition to any reduction in Northern Ireland's local coastguard service. North Down independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon told the News Letter that it was vital a well trained and eqiupped service was retained in the area.

The UK's shipping minister has announced proposals that would see a reduction in operational hours or even the closure of Northern Ireland's coastguard command centre.

Earlier this week news emerged that the rescue command centre at Bangor was under threat by public spending cuts.

Now the News Letter reports that Minister Mike Penning's proposals would see only three 24-hour coastguard stations across the UK - in Aberdeen, Southampton and Dover - with five sub-centres operating in daytime hours, one being based either at Bangor or Liverpool.

Campaigners have voiced their opposition to any reduction in Northern Ireland's local coastguard service. North Down independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon told the News Letter that it was vital a well trained and equipped service was retained in the area.

Published in Coastguard
Public spending cuts in the UK could see the closure of Northern Ireland's only coastguard rescue command centre, the News Letter reports.
The coalition government is expected to announce phasing out of a number of the UK's 19 coastguard centres - and a member of the NI Coastguard said that "Bangor is certainly under threat".
The command centre in Bangor oversees coastguard operations along the entire coastline from Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough, and has handled more than 700 incidents so far this year.
The staff member added: "The coastguard here in Northern Ireland is already over-stretched, and we firmly believe that the closure of our centre in Bangor will have a serious and detrimental effect on our ability to respond to emergencies here."
Margaret Elliot - the mother of teenage drowning victim James Elliot, who died in the flood-swollen River Bush in Co Antrim last year – has described the proposed cutbacks as "absolutely disgusting".
"We simply cannot allow this essential service to be threatened in any way. Saving money should never be a factor when it comes to saving lives," she said.
The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Public spending cuts in the UK could see the closure of Northern Ireland's only coastguard rescue command centre, the News Letter reports.

The coalition government is expected to announce phasing out of a number of the UK's 19 coastguard centres - and a member of the NI Coastguard said that "Bangor is certainly under threat".

The command centre in Bangor oversees coastguard operations along the entire coastline from Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough, and has handled more than 700 incidents so far in 2010.

The staff member added: "The coastguard here in Northern Ireland is already over-stretched, and we firmly believe that the closure of our centre in Bangor will have a serious and detrimental effect on our ability to respond to emergencies here."

Margaret Elliot - the mother of teenage drowning victim James Elliot, who died in the flood-swollen River Bush in Co Antrim last year – has described the proposed cutbacks as "absolutely disgusting".

"We simply cannot allow this essential service to be threatened in any way. Saving money should never be a factor when it comes to saving lives," she said.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Proposals for ten potential conservation zones in the Irish Sea are earmarked in a second report released from the Irish Sea Conservation Zones project.

The area include the inshore waters of Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria and offshore waters of the Isle of Man, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. One of the zones is a 187 square km stretch of deep water between Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

In order to gain a greater understanding of the proposed zones, the report commissioned a Regional Stakeholder Group which drew from a diverse range of interests in the Irish Sea. Among the stakeholders included were the Royal Yachting Association, the fishing community and ports authorities. The review identified the size, shape and locations of the proposed 10 ten new Marine Conservation Zones. For the first time, the zones included inshore water of the Irish Sea project area as well as offshore.

"This is a real milestone for the project, with potential Marine Conservation Zones identified in both inshore and offshore waters", said Greg Whitfield, project manager at Irish Sea Conservation Zones.

"It is now really important that people take a look at the potential zones and give us their feedback on them. The better the information we have, the better the Marine Conservation Zones that are recommended by the regional stakeholder group will be."

Each of the marine conservation zones are designed to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats and geology. In addition they are designed to have the least impact possible on people's activities, but some restrictions will apply as the zones must meet guidelines for protecting species and habitats.

Members of the public are being invited to participate and will be considered as the second project continues to refine its proposals. The report is only a snapshot of the work so far. It does not contain concrete recommendations for the locations of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) in the Irish Sea, and the potential zones shown in the report are described as tentative and liable to change.

The Irish Sea Conservation Zone project will be releasing a third report before the Regional Stakeholder Group finalises its recommendations. The reports are delivered to the Science Advisory Panel. The independent body is comprised of expert scientists whose main role is to evaluate the potential of MCZs against ecological criteria.

The third progress report will be made available in February 2011. Its final recommendations will then be presented to the UK government in June. Following that a formal public consultation on the proposed MCZs are to take place in late 2011 and early 2012.

For information on the Second Progress Report including feedback forms can be downloaded from HERE or by calling 00 44 (0)1925 813 200

Published in Marine Science

Scientists believe that a recent wave of fatal corkscrew-like injuries to seals discovered in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the result of contact with boat propellers.

Original speculation on the ususual injuries pointed the blame at sharks.

But Dr David Thompson, who lead a team of researchers at the University of St Andrews, found that the unique spiralling pattern of the wounds were "entirely consistent with the animals being sucked through large ducted propellers".

More than 30 dead seals - mostly harbour seals - have been found since August 2009, from the Tay and Forth estuaries in Scotland to Strangford Lough.

Researchers believe the incidents may be confined to areas where ships operate in shallow water, but fear they could be more widespread.

More on this story is available HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 24 of 27

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