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The European Commission invites on-line public input to explore how the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP: 2007) could be implemented in the European Atlantic Area.

In the context of the IMP-2007, the Commission is developing strategic approaches to Regional Sea Basins where there is a demand and a perspective of clear value added. Regional (Sea Basin) Strategies have been completed for the Baltic Sea, the Arctic, the Mediterranean and are at a planning stage for the North Sea.

The Commission now invites interested parties in the Atlantic region to input to the development of an Atlantic Strategy.

Such a Strategy would define common priorities; improve regional governance; identify opportunities for smart economic growth and for clustering, synergies and economics of scale. A Regional Strategy would also better focus future European Funding Programmes (e.g. Structural, Regional, Research, Innovation & Competitiveness, etc).

Target Groups: Member States, regional and local authorities, inter-governmental and non-governmental bodies, public organisations, enterprises, civil society and the general public

Contributions may be submitted by using an online questionnaire.

http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/partners/consultations/atlantic_ocean/index_en.htm

Published in Marine Science
The Marine Institute today welcomed the publication of a major international marine environmental status report highlighting evidence of climate change and ocean acidification in the North Atlantic and calling for the creation of more Marine Protected Areas. The Quality Status Report 2010 was compiled by an international team of scientists, including Marine Institute experts, from countries participating in the Oslo-Paris Convention (OSPAR).

Speaking from the launch of the report in Bergen, Norway, Minister of State with responsibility for Sustainable Transport, Horticulture, Planning and Heritage, Mr. Ciaran Cuffe T.D. said that Ireland welcomed this evidence-based assessment of the marine environment as a 'major milestone.'

"Such periodic holistic assessments are essential 'barometers' allowing policy makers to gauge overall progress towards sustainable management and identify those actions essential to deliver clean, diverse, healthy and productive seas around us," said Minister Cuffe. "Such actions are critical to maintaining our seas and oceans as a sustainable resource for this and future generations."

According to the Report, climate change and ocean acidification effects are now evident especially in the northern OSPAR areas. In addition, human uses of the marine environment, such as offshore renewable energy, offshore oil and gas production, mineral extraction and shipping, are increasing and must be managed in a coordinated way, backed up by research on impacts, if environmental damage is to be avoided.

Furthermore, the decline in biodiversity is far from being halted and actions, such as extending the network of offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), are required to improve the protection of threatened and/or declining species and habitats. In December 2009 Ireland designated 19 MPAs including 4 offshore MPAs.

However, the Report states that there has been progress in reducing pollution from nutrients, certain hazardous substances and radioactive substances in our oceans and seas, although continued efforts are needed. In addition, there have been improvements in fisheries management, although fishing activities continue to have large impacts on marine ecosystems in the seas around Ireland.

"The Marine Institute is delighted to have participated closely in the development and production of this assessment by acting as the focal point for Irish involvement in the process and by providing data and scientific input," said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. The QSR 2010 Report is a product of cooperation between many experts from 15 OSPAR countries. The Department of Environment, Health and Local Government act as Head of Delegation for Ireland to OSPAR.

Published in Marine Science

Irish marine researchers (including SMEs) are invited to comment and / or give input to future European Marine Research Strategy via the draft Ostend Declaration.

The EurOCEAN 2010 Ostend Declaration will be a key deliverable of the Belgian-EU Presidency EurOCEAN 2010 Conference (Ostend 12th – 13th October). The Ostend Declaration, following the success of the Galway Declaration (2004) and the Aberdeen Declaration (2007), is intended to highlight the importance of marine and maritime science and technology for our economies and societies and to identify the high level governance structures, support mechanisms and research infrastructures necessary to ensure that critical research challenges in the next decade are properly addressed at national and European level.

In consultation with key European marine and maritime science stakeholder organisations and networks, a drafting group has prepared a draft Ostend Declaration which will be open for consultation until 4th October 2010. The Declaration aims to raise the profile of marine science and technology in Europe and needs your support.

The draft Ostend Declaration will be presented and discussed for approval at the EurOCEAN 2010 Conference on 12th – 13th October 2010 (www.eurocean2010.eu) which will be attended by Commissioner Damanaki (DG MARE) and Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn (DG Research).

Published in Marine Science
The latest figures from the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) on Irish shipping trade volumes and port traffic data for the first half of 2010 indicate that shipping volumes on the key trade corridors have stabilised with a largely positive underlying trend.

The midyear data in particular points towards trade volume growth in three of the principal freight segments; most significantly in lift-on/ lift-off (lo/lo) export trades which we estimate grew by 5%. Roll-on/Roll-off export traffic was also up 5% per cent on an all island basis. Dry bulk volumes through ROI ports increased by 15% for the first six months compared to the same period last year. Shipments in April this year saw the strongest monthly volume of bulk cargoes in over 2 years.

Roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) traffic on an all-Island basis continued to make a steady recovery with an increase of 2%, up to 771,585units for the first half of 2010. The ro/ro segment is largely weighted towards services to and from the UK which remains our largest trading partner.

The most significant change in volume has been in the main lo/lo trades. Overall total volume including export and imports fell only marginally by 1% to June with 517,552 units being handled. However this compares to a -24% reduction for the same periods last year.

A key factor in the positive upward movement has been the continued strong performance of export volumes which as noted was up 5% year on year. Import volumes were down 2% which is largely as a result of continued weak domestic demand. Nonetheless the rate of decline in import volumes has eased sharply which is possibly also offset by demand for industrial imports used as inputs for the merchandise export trades.

The sharp fall in import units over the last 24 months has inversely created a problem for export companies as there is now reduced supply of export quality containers available in Ireland. As a result shipping lines have to reposition empty containers from the UK and Continent which in turn adds to the overall cost of the export box.

Dry bulk (Bulk carrier) trades recovered some of the record volume losses seen in 2009 with a strong 15% increase between January and June. Part of this recovery is attributed to stronger domestic demand for grains, fertilizers and other agricultural products, while improved global demand for steel and other ore aggregates also pushed up volume throughput.

Breakbulk volumes through ROI ports linked to construction inventories such as steel and timber continued to decline by 11%, which is half the recorded figure for 2009. Nonetheless volume activity in this segment remains at a historically low level.

Liquid bulk (Tanker) volumes such as oil fell by 4%, with lower transshipment storage for the US market and other seasonal factors impacting on demand. The outlook for continued short term volume recovery remains largely contingent on the external recovery in the global economy.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Imagine being able to plan, design and carry out your own scientific survey into the seas around us. Last week research students from across Europe were given just such an opportunity when they joined scientists onboard the Irish national research vessel RV Celtic Voyager in waters off Cork.

This unique opportunity for students to gain practical experience in carrying out multidisciplinary marine scientific research is part of the European Framework 7 project EUROFLEETS, and was designed, developed and co-funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland.

Over the course of six days, between the 14th and 19th August, 20 European postgraduate students learned the skills necessary to map the seabed, identify the animals and plants living there, and investigate the local and oceanic currents that influence them. Training focused specifically on operational research and included the deployment of equipment and instrumentation, sample recovery and processing, and data acquisition. Other modules investigated designing and planning a survey, operations and capabilities of research vessels and safety at sea.

Published in Marine Science
Over 200 fishers and fisheries scientists from all over the world gathered in Galway yesterday (23rd August) for a unique four-day conference to share information on fish stocks.

Dr. Peter Heffernan (Marine Institute) with Martin Pastoors (IMARES, The Netherlands) and Dr. Steve Murawski (NOAA, USA) at the Conference. (Photo: Marine Institute).

The Conference - "Fisheries Independent Information, Galway 2010" – not only explores how information gathered at sea by fishermen can better contribute to fish stock assessments, management and policy but critically, how the vast amount of experience and traditional knowledge accumulated by the fishing industry can be harnessed in sustainable management strategies.

Speaking on the first day of the event Dr. Steve Morawski, former senior advisor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to President Obama's Ocean Policy Task Force and the current Chief Science Advisor to NOAA Fisheries, USA said that in spite of past concerns regarding the reliability of fishery-dependent data, we are in the midst of a "rebirth" in the use of information from industry to inform stock assessment and the management of catch and by-catch allowances.

"Fortunately, great advances have been made in methods for collection and analysis of fishery-dependent data and we have experienced encouraging success in working with stakeholders to collect this type of data," he said.

Some 30 countries from across the globe are represented at the conference, which features 81 oral presentations and 50 poster displays covering the entire spectrum of fishing, from small scale artisinal fisheries right up to large scale industrial operations engaged across the world's oceans and inland waters.

Opening the conference, Dr. Peter Heffernan of the Marine Institute said that, while Ireland had made significant progress in bringing scientists and fishers together through the formation of the Irish Fisheries Science Partnership, he was keen to learn how such initiatives had worked elsewhere and what we could learn from others. "Innovation is the key element to this conference," he said, "technical innovation in the development of new data collection tools and data integration, but also through innovative thinking and co-operation in how we can marry together traditional and non-traditional information."

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) the capture fishing industry employs some 27 million people worldwide (including full-time, part-time and occasional fishers). In Europe, the European Commission estimates that some 141,000 people are employed in the fishing sector which produces over 6.5 million tonnes of fish between the catching and aquaculture industries.

"Fishermen and scientists have an enormous amount that they can contribute to each other," said Lorcan O'Cinneide, CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation in his keynote address earlier today (Tuesday 24th August). "It is essential for the future that the integration of such information can be brought to the centre of the scientific and advice process in a manner that has the necessary rigour to be credible and useful to analysis."

Marine and inland fisheries are of particular importance to developing countries where ILO estimates that over 94% of the world's fishers live (Asia 83%, Africa 9% and South America 2.5%). In these countries fish is not only an important source of protein for many communities, but also an important part of global trade. The role that fishers and their knowledge play in ensuring a sustainable "ecosystem approach" to commercial fishing by artisinal and small-scale fishworkers the world over will be discussed during the last day of the Conference (Thursday 26th) by Sebastian Mathew of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).

The conclusion of his paper will suggest that sustainability in fisheries depends upon seeking common ground between fisheries policy, scientific knowledge and fishers' knowledge and practice. He will also suggest that the key to sustainable fisheries management lies in treating fishers' knowledge with respect and by promoting active communication amongst stakeholders.

Published in Fishing

A unique conference - aimed at making the most of fisheries information collected from commercial fishing vessels and fishermen themselves – will take place later this month in Galway between the 23rd and 26th August.
The conference will be hosted by the Marine Institute and is being convened by Norman Graham (Marine Institute, Ireland), Richard Grainger (Fisheries and Agriculture Organisation - FAO), William Karp (Alaskan Fisheries Center – NOAA, USA) and Kjell Nedreass (Institute of Marine Research, Norway).
It will also feature a number of well known speakers from the fishing industry including Lorcan O'Cinneide of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation, Gavin Power of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, and Barry Dees from the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, UK.
The theme of the conference will be to find ways of harnessing the information from commercial fisheries and observations made by fishermen so as to improve scientific advice and management of marine resources, As Norman Graham observes, "every time a fisherman puts his net in the water, he's not only catching fish, he's taking a scientific sample as well."

Published in Fishing
EU Commission Launches €6.4 billion for Smart Growth and Jobs
The European Union has opened its latest round of financial support for collaborative research and innovation announcing nearly €6.4 billion in new investment under its 7th Framework Research Programme (2007-2013).
This new call offers a range of competitive opportunities to support collaborative pan-European research across a number of sectors including health, food, ICT, energy environment, maritime transport, etc., as well as support for regional and specialist research infrastructures and support for SMEs.
According to the Commission Press Release, the package, the biggest ever, covers a vast range of scientific disciplines, public policy areas and commercial sectors. This funding will advance scientific boundaries, increase European competitiveness and help solve societal challenges such as climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population.
Around 16,000 participants from research organisations, universities and industry, including about 3,000 SMEs, will receive funding. Grants will be awarded through competitive calls for proposals and evaluations over the next 14 months. This package is an economic stimulus expected to create more than 165,000 jobs and a long-term investment in a smarter, sustainable and more inclusive Europe. It is also a key element within the EU's Europe 2020 Strategy and in particular the Innovation Union flagship initiative, which will be launched in autumn 2010.
A summary of opportunities relevant to the marine sector and direction to further sources of information is available in the attached FP7 Marine Information Note MarineSciencesFundingOpportunitiesinFP7July2010.pdf

€6.4 billion EU Fund for Smart Growth and Jobs has Opportunities for Irish Marine Sector.

The European Union has opened its latest round of financial support for collaborative research and innovation announcing nearly €6.4 billion in new investment under its 7th Framework Research Programme (2007-2013) and there are opportunities relevant to the Irish marine sector.

This new call offers a range of competitive opportunities to support collaborative pan-European research across a number of sectors including health, food, ICT, energy environment, maritime transport, etc., as well as support for regional and specialist research infrastructures and support for SMEs.
According to the Commission Press Release, the package, the biggest ever, covers a vast range of scientific disciplines, public policy areas and commercial sectors. This funding will advance scientific boundaries, increase European competitiveness and help solve societal challenges such as climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population. 
Around 16,000 participants from research organisations, universities and industry, including about 3,000 SMEs, will receive funding. Grants will be awarded through competitive calls for proposals and evaluations over the next 14 months. This package is an economic stimulus expected to create more than 165,000 jobs and a long-term investment in a smarter, sustainable and more inclusive Europe. It is also a key element within the EU's Europe 2020 Strategy and in particular the Innovation Union flagship initiative, which will be launched in autumn 2010.
A summary of opportunities relevant to the marine sector and direction to further sources of information is available in the attached FP7 Marine Information Note MarineSciencesFundingOpportunitiesinFP7July2010.pdf

Published in Marine Science

A major marine search and recovery exercise co-ordinated by the Irish Coast Guard will to take place off the Cork coastline this week from 12-15 July 2010 it was announced today.

The exercise, in conjunction with the Marine Institute, the Commissioner for Irish Lights and the Navy, will simulate some major emergency situations including an aircraft crash, recovery of the 'Black Box'. The simulation exercise will also involve deep diving operations and the seeking and survey of a wrecked vessel. It will also incorporate the recovery of items such as ditched contraband and the rendering safe of underwater explosives.

A Service Level Agreement between the Irish Aviation Authority and the Irish Coast Guard was agreed in February of this year. It was agreed that should an aircraft force land in a maritime area, the IAA's Air Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) would be responsible for determining the initial search area, but co-ordination shall then transfer to the Coast Guard with continued close co-operation and back-up services from ARCC. As a result of this it was seen that there would need to be close cooperation between all the different agencies and authorities in responding to such a scenario. One of the most important aspects of an aircraft incident investigation is the location and recovery of the aircraft's 'black box'. The Coast Guard, as part of an Agreement with Commissioner of Irish Lights, has chartered their vessel ILV Granuaile, to act as a marine platform for Naval Divers and Holland 1, the Marine Institute's robot submarine a Remotely Operated vehicl e (ROV).

Holland 1 and the Navy Dive Team will be deployed from ILV Granuaile. Primarily used in maintenance of Aids to Navigation the ILV Granuaile is a sophisticated multi functional vessel whose 80-metre length, 16 metre and Dynamic Positioning capability make her an ideal platform for this task. The naval vessel L.E. Eithne will be on site for the duration of the exercise with its Commanding Officer acting as on-scene co-ordinator. The L.E. Eithne will act as the under water crisis management centre for all the personnel involved in the exercise, including the eighteen person naval diving team and the ROV operators and Coast Guard personnel.

Speaking today, Minister Noel Dempsey TD said: "The purpose of this joint exercise is to ensure and examine the level and quality of preparedness in the Irish Coast Guard response and that of our intra-agency partners. Simulations such as are a valuable way to test our co-ordinated emergency response to ensure that in the event of a major emergency, that the appropriate and necessary measures are in place in search, rescue and recovery."

Minister of Defence Mr. Tony Killeen T.D., said that "through Inter Agency co-operation and establishing appropriate protocols for joint exercises we can ensure our ships and our divers are ready to respond in an appropriate and timely manner for given situations."

"While the ROV Holland was acquired primarily as a research vessel, another key function is to provide the capability to assist underwater search and recovery operations," said Mr. Sean Connick, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. "We are therefore delighted to take part in this important exercise, which will involve a combined national ROV team piloting the Holland 1 operated by Naval and Marine Institute pilots."

Holland 1 and Granuaile are available for inter agency work as part of Service Level Agreements between the various parties which promote inter-agency cooperation and the up-skilling of personnel in each organisations for collaborative operations.

 

Published in Coastguard

The Marine Institute is having a Summer Fête – Family Fun Pirate Day at its headquarters, Rinville, Oranmore on Sunday 11th July from 1.00 pm to 5.30 pm in aid of Galway Lifeboat. Admission is free.The fun day offers a great opportunity to meet friends, enjoy a range of cakes, tasty treats and a sausage sizzle courtesy of the Harbour Hotel, Kylemore Abbey and Compass Catering, while listening to live music overlooking Galway Bay. There will be items to purchase and a range of activities for all the family including face painting, cartoon classes, magic show, bouncy castles, art & crafts, marine displays and lots more fun activities and games."Since many of our staff go to sea on research surveys we appreciate the work done by the Galway Lifeboat and are anxious to help in any way we can," said Marine Institute CEO Dr. Peter Heffernan. "The event promises to be a fun-packed day for adults and children alike - particularly those who are interested in learning more about the work of the Marine Institute and the marine community in Galway".For those interested in viewing the architecture of the Institute's award winning building, tours will be available throughout the afternoon.The Marine Institute wishes to thank all of the exhibitors, sponsors and contributors taking part in the Summer Fête in aid of the Galway Lifeboats Ireland.All proceeds from the day will go to Galway Lifeboats.Further information is available on the Marine Institute's web site at www.marine.ie
The Marine Institute is having a Summer Fête – Family Fun Pirate Day at its headquarters, Rinville, Oranmore on Sunday 11th July from 1.00 pm to 5.30 pm in aid of Galway Lifeboat. Admission is free.
The fun day offers a great opportunity to meet friends, enjoy a range of cakes, tasty treats and a sausage sizzle courtesy of the Harbour Hotel, Kylemore Abbey and Compass Catering, while listening to live music overlooking Galway Bay. There will be items to purchase and a range of activities for all the family including face painting, cartoon classes, magic show, bouncy castles, art & crafts, marine displays and lots more fun activities and games.
"Since many of our staff go to sea on research surveys we appreciate the work done by the Galway Lifeboat and are anxious to help in any way we can," said Marine Institute CEO Dr. Peter Heffernan. "The event promises to be a fun-packed day for adults and children alike - particularly those who are interested in learning more about the work of the Marine Institute and the marine community in Galway".
For those interested in viewing the architecture of the Institute's award winning building, tours will be available throughout the afternoon.
The Marine Institute wishes to thank all of the exhibitors, sponsors and contributors taking part in the Summer Fête in aid of the Galway Lifeboats Ireland.
All proceeds from the day will go to Galway Lifeboats.
Further information is available on the Marine Institute's web site at www.marine.ie

Published in Marine Science
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