----- The Voice of Ireland's Fishing Industry and Maritime Community - Published Monthly, Established 1989 -----

 

On this week's FISHERIES PODCAST, how much real interest does the Government have in preserving the offshore island communities? The Secretary of Comhdháil Oleán na hÉireann, Rhoda Twombly, tells Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, that it hasn't enough commitment to even use the word 'Islands'.

Listen to the latest edition of the Fisheries Podcast here

Urgent Answers Demanded Over Early Closure of Coastal Waters to Prawn Fishermen with losses Valued at €6 Million

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty is demanding an urgent explanation from the Minister for the Marine over the decision by authorities to close the strategic Porcupine Bank fishing zone located off Ireland's west coast to Prawn fishermen.

October 16th 2017: It's understood that the decision to pre-maturely close the section of the Atlantic ocean shelf, which is amongst the richest prawn fishing grounds in the world, was taken last July with fishermen now claiming that the move has resulted in the loss of some six hundred tonnes of catch to Irish fishing vessels, estimated to be worth some €6M.


"Disaster for fishing sector as Government are out of their depth!"

According to Deputy Pat the Cope Gallgher, Killybegs Fishermen are in line to lose in excess of €17 million in Mackerel quota for next year

October 12th 2017: Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has lambasted the Government for the reduction in the Mackerel quota - which in the forthcoming year will see a fall of 17,200 tonne or a full 20% reduction in their catch, this will have devastating effects on the sector and employment of the area. The recently announce quota as agreed by the coastal states will see a drop in monetary value of the Mackerel catch of in excess of €17 million to the sector.

Pat the Cope added "I am shocked at the naivety of the Government Chief Whip who this morning has welcomed this measure and announcement - there is no disguising the fact it simply means less catch, less employment and less opportunity for the northwest, and for any Government representative to welcome this, demonstrates how out of touch they are with the sector".

Killybegs based fishing fleet will be able to catch 60,000 in 2018, that is a full 20% reduction on the 2017 quota when our allocation was 74,000 tonnes, this is a very worrying reduction for the sector and allowing for the massive reduction will have massive implications on the sector in the year ahead. Any sector subject to such reduction will have difficulty in readjusting the business model in the course of one year - reductions of this magnitude should not be enforced on any business sector added Pat the Cope.

Pat the Cope stated only for the fishing sector having being prepared for the negotiations and were able to draw from scientific advice of their own this situation would have been worse such was the poor preparation work done by the Government in advance of the fisheries negotiations. This is the same Government who in the course of this year attempted a smash and grab of quota rights from the fishermen in the northwest, in redistributing the overall quota for the northwest to the southeast - despite the fact it was the fishermen of the northwest that developed this entire sector nationally. This is a bad news story for the sector and one which must be avoided in future years, the fishing sector is one of the few lifelines left at rural coastal communities and greater emphasises must be given to protecting this sector in the years ahead, and more measures need to be put in place in order to develop this sector moving forward concluded Pat the Cope.

KFO “disappointed but not surprised”

The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation has said that it is disappointed but not surprised at the outcome of this week’s mackerel Coastal States negotiations in London. The KFO is however satisfied that there is a still a very healthy mackerel stock in the North East Atlantic. This has been evidenced, not only by the Irish the pelagic fleet but also all other pelagic fleets which have encountered large shoals of mackerel over the entire distribution area, which has expanded both south and north. Based upon these observations, the industry believes the stock size has greatly increased. This increase in the stock is not confined to one area, nor observed by only one fleet.

The KFO said that it underlined the huge importance of Minister Creed having retained the current sharing arrangements which he announced last July albeit following a review which was wholly unnecessary. It also emphasised how vital the agreed management strategy between EU, Norway and the Faroes which caps the mackerel TAC reduction at 20% in safeguarding Irish interests thereby affording the RSW fleet some degree of stability with the spectre of Brexit looming large on the horizon.

Reacting on the conclusion of discussions in London, KFO CEO, Seán O’Donoghue commented: “I am obviously disappointed with the reduction but under the circumstances given the large reduction of 53% advised by ICES compared to 2017 catches it was the best that could be achieved. The main factors for the reduction are the correction needed following the incorrect ICES advice given in January this year, the significant changes to the assessment due to the benchmark in February and the change in the fishing mortality.

He concluded: “Next year is the final year of the 2014 Three Parties Agreement (EU, Norway and Faroes) and it is imperative that Minister Creed redresses the loss of the EU percentage share in the 2014 agreement. I would like to acknowledge the very hands-on role taken by our officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with whom I liaised extremely closely during and prior, to these negotiations.”

Precautionary Mackerel Deal Giving Irish Fishermen Mackerel Quota Worth €70m For 2018

12th October 2017: Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD has announced the outcome of the international fisheries negotiations which concluded today in London. These negotiations, between the European Union, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland were focused on the sustainable management of the €1billion annual mackerel fishery in the North East Atlantic.

Minister Creed said “Mackerel is our most valuable fishery and allied to the fact that we are the second largest EU quota holder, these negotiations are always of crucial importance to the Irish fishing industry. There was new scientific advice this year which showed that, while the stock is in good shape, a precautionary approach for long term sustainability was necessary, with a significant reduction in quota recommended. Accordingly, following careful consideration of scientific advice of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and discussions with the Marine Institute and industry stakeholders, I supported a reduction, in line with the agreed Long Term Management Strategy, in the quota for 2018.”

The new mackerel quota for Irish fishermen for 2018 will be just under 70,000 tonnes (69,143 tonnes) with a landing value of €70 million.

The current sharing arrangement for mackerel was agreed in 2014 between three parties only – EU, Faeroes and Norway. An amount is held in reserve to accommodate the other parties. This agreement is due to expire at the end 2018 and it is expected that intensive negotiations on a new agreement will take place throughout 2018.

The Minister added that “The quotas agreed for 2018 are consistent with the Long Term Management Strategy which aims to provide sustainability and stability in this hugely valuable fishery in line with the scientific advice. In terms of the negotiations to come these are likely to be further complicated by Brexit. I remain dissatisfied with the 2014 agreement and will be working for a more equitable sharing arrangement that also protects the ongoing long term sustainability of the mackerel stock.”

Bord Iascaigh Mhara launches new R&D fund at Europe’s largest gathering of seafood experts

Over 143 experts from 15 countries will discuss innovative technologies in the industry at the four-day international conference

Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, has launched a new Research and Development fund to support Irish companies’ innovation in the seafood sector and help grow the €850million industry in line with stated Government targets. The launch is taking place as BIM hosts the West European Fish Technologists Association’s 47th Annual Conference in the Aviva stadium from the 9th to 12th October.

Rescued Loggerhead turtle, Sally, rehabilitated in Dingle Aquarium, helps launch BIM’s Fishing For Litter in Dingle...... Pictured at Dingle Oceanworld on Thursday were 'Sally The Turtle' who joined, Catherine Barrett, BIM, Frances O'Dwyer, BIM, Kathleen De Mordha, Harbour Master Nigel Collins, Declan Hand, Louise Overty and Kevin Flannery Marine Scientists for the Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis 8th Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Fishing For Litter port. Sally will be released today (Friday) to the Irish Navy to be returned to warmer climates over the next few days. Full report here

The Fisheries Podcast

Tom MacSweeney

The new MARINE TIMES Podcast Service
(click on photo to listen)

On this week's FISHERIES PODCAST, how much real interest does the Government have in preserving the offshore island communities? The Secretary of Comhdháil Oleán na hÉireann, Rhoda Twombly, tells Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, that it hasn't enough commitment to even use the word 'Islands'.

Listen to the latest edition of the Fisheries Podcast here

THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme is produced with the support of the Marine Times and presented by Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, reporting on the culture, history, tradition and developments of MARITIME IRELAND. Listen to the latest programme here.

 

In this edition, how a gap in Irish history is being closed by a group determined to remember a forgotten Irishman, criticism of Government for not recognising the offshore islands, immigrants who want to spend Winter in Ireland and the international success of Irish Lifeguards.

As always, intriguing and interesting stories on THIS ISLAND NATION, the maritime programme for MARITIME IRELAND.

The programme is presented here by
Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney


Politicians and Fishing

The major lesson of political evolution over the past few years is unpredictability. It is no longer possible to predict with certainty the behaviour of the electorate. Behavioural patterns by voters have shown that a candidate or party clever enough to use a particular moment or topic amongst them can gain election. Can that factor be used by the fishing industry and coastal communities?

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE OCTOBER EDITION OF THE MARINE TIMES NOW IN THE SHOPS


Conservation Measures Introduced for Inshore Fisheries Proposed by National Inshore Fisheries Forum

28th September 2017: The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today hosted the 12th meeting of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum (NIFF). The Inshore Fisheries Forum structures, which include NIFF and six Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums (RIFFs), were established in 2014 to foster stakeholder-led development of proposals for the inshore sector.

Minister Creed signed into law conservation measures concerning Irish velvet crab stocks. The Minister also introduced measures to regulate fishing activities affecting Natura 2000 sites at Hook Head and the Saltee Islands. These measures are being introduced following full consultation with the Inshore Fisheries Forum structures.

Minster Creed said, “Heading into their third year, the Forums have taken a lead in tackling conservation issues and changing practices with a view to long-term sustainability. I welcome the support these measures have received from the Forums which reflects the mature approach this sector is taking in dealing with its own challenges.”

The Minister and the NIFF discussed the implementation of the new measures and the status of other measures under review for important stocks such as lobster, brown crab and razor clams. The Minister also discussed the impact of Brexit on the fishing sector and the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention, which governs access to waters inside the 12 mile limit.

Commenting on issues arising for the sector from Brexit the Minister noted “While the implications of Brexit are far from clear at this point in time I will continue to highlight Irish fisheries concerns on the EU agenda and work with other impacted EU Member States and the Barnier team to ensure that fisheries are not isolated in the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship”.

Velvet Crab MCRS

Regulations signed by Minister Creed today will introduce a Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) of 65mm for velvet crab that will apply to Irish sea-fishing boats from 1 January 2018. This measure was initially developed by the West Regional Inshore Fisheries Forum (RIFF) with advice from the Marine Institute. The proposal was brought to the Minister last year by the NIFF, and a public consultation on the measure was held at the end of 2016.

Velvet crabs are fished all year, but mainly in the March to October period, and they are predominantly a by-catch in the lobster fishery. Landings of velvet crab into Ireland were 406 tonnes in 2015, higher than any year since 2004, and were valued at just under €808,000. Over 80% of velvet crabs are landed by vessels less than 10 metres in length.

Hook Head and Saltee Islands Fisheries Natura Declaration

A Fisheries Natura Declaration signed by Minister Creed today will restrict fishing using dredge and trawling gear for scallop fishing to protect certain sensitive habitats in Natura 2000 conservation sites off the southeast coast of Wexford from 30 November 2017. The Natura 2000 sites include the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs (Special Areas of Conservation). The Declaration also sets down monitoring and notification requirements for boats fishing using dredge and trawling gear within these habitats.

These gear and monitoring measures were developed through industry members working with the Marine Institute (MI) and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) to address risks to sensitive habitats in the Hook Head and Saltee Islands SACs. The risks were identified by the MI in a 2014 risk assessment report of sea-fishing activities in Natura 2000 sites in the Irish Sea. Industry members – including individual scallop fishermen, members of the Southeast RIFF and representatives of the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation (ISEFPO) – met with the MI and BIM through 2015 and 2016 to develop risk mitigation proposals for the fishery. A public consultation on the resulting Mitigation Response Plan was carried out in 2016.


New visitor attraction overlooking Kenmare Bay to celebrate Ireland’s mussel industry
BIM launch the ‘The Mussel House’ as part of ‘Taste the Atlantic- a Seafood Journey’

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, in partnership with Failte Ireland, today (Tuesday, 12th September) officially launched a new visitor attraction on the ‘Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey’ trail to celebrate Ireland’s rope mussel industry. ‘The Mussel House’ overlooking the stunning Kenmare Bay tells the story of an industry which began in the early 1970’s which is now valued at €6.5 million. The modern and sustainable rope-grown mussel industry is concentrated in the South West of Ireland and produces almost 10,000 tonnes of mussels grown on special ‘long lines’ for both the Irish and export market each year.



Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney, recommends a book to the Minister for the Marine, his Department officials and politicians who made decisions which so heavily and badly affected coastal fishing communities. Preserving fishing and coastal communities does not get enough official support from Government and State. This book tells of the short-sighted policies and maritime blindness inside national agencies and how they rejected the cultural importance of fishing communities..

Listen to the latest edition of the Fisheries Podcast, by Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney.


Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority of Ireland Supports Molluscan Shellfish Safety Updates at Regional Information Events 2017

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), the independent regulator for the sea-fishing and seafood sectors in conjunction with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) are hosting a series of shellfish information events for the fishing industry around the country this October and November. Biotoxin sampling and reporting, microbiological classification, new legislation, Food Safety Management Systems, food incidents, new risks and exports are among the many topics that will be covered at the events, which are free to attend.


Fiction and Facts - It's Time the Fishing Industry Took A Stand

On the 4th of July this year the International Transport Federation and the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland made a presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Jobs and Enterprise about the alleged widespread abuse of migrant workers within the Irish Fishing Industry. According to Francis O'Donnell, Chief Executive of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO), the Fishing Industry was dragged through the gutter once again and all kinds of allegations were made under the protection of privilege against the Irish Fishing industry and various agencies such as the WRC and the Gardai. The latter two are charged with policing the permit system for migrant workers.


€1.6m in EMFF Grant Awards for Aquaculture Investment and Research

Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has announced the award of a further €1,574,611 in grants to 11 aquaculture enterprises and 4 third level research institutions in 8 different counties under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme for the seafood sector. The grant awards will support total investment of €3 million in capital investment and applied research in the aquaculture sector. The grants are co-funded by the Exchequer and EU and subject to terms and conditions.

Minister Creed said, “I am pleased to announce a continued and increasing level of capital investment in our aquaculture sector which will underpin our ambitions to significantly grow our production in the coming years. I am delighted also to see recent efforts by my Department and BIM to encourage our third level institutions to become involved in the research agenda for the sector coming to fruition with three of our best third level institutions receiving approval for applied research to assist our sector in innovating and developing new technical knowledge to support the sustainable growth of the sector, together with two further industry research projects. This government is committed to building opportunities for those in coastal communities and the seafood sector”


Is The Sea Fisheries Amendment Bill Incoherent?

This week the Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed, made a major attack on the British Government, describing its approach to Brexit negotiations as "incoherent."

The Minister was very strong in his comments about the official British attitude. The Government there had "no coherence" around their strategy, he said.

His comments have not been particularly well received in British Government circles. They came at the same time as his policy towards the fishing industry in the context of the Sea Fisheries Bill was described as "unbelievable" as he continues with efforts to try to get it through the Seanad where it is at the Committee Stage.

"It is unreal that this is still going ahead," said the Irish Fish Producers' Organisation.

Could this be an "incoherent" policy approach by the Minister, or is it being forced upon him by his officials?

Those questions are being raised within the fishing industry because of the widespread repercussions which are feared as a result of the content of the Bill which, according to legal advice, could widen considerably access by all EU vessels within the 0-6 miles territorial limits. With British withdrawal from the EU and though the Government maintains that the Bill is an agreement only with Northern Ireland, that could be successfully legally challenged and used to apply to all other EU boats as the Irish Government will have no rights to make separate agreements with the UK and what is now being done in the Bill could be used to demand widen access to Irish waters for all EU fishing vessels.

This week's FISHERIES PODCAST examines the term "incoherent" as it might apply in the context of the Sea Fisheries Amendment Bill.


"DO WE HAVE FISH THAT GOOD AROUND IRELAND?"

Returning Irish holidaymakers impressed by European seafood, but did it come from Irish waters and could it be part of BIM's figures for increased landings, but not by Irish boats?

The topic of this edition of the FISHERIES PODCAST by Marine Times Deputy Editor, Tom MacSweeney


Ireland Could Learn a Spanish Lesson

The Marine Time's Deputy Editor reports that when the Spanish don't like Irish boats fishing off their coast, they don't hesitate to make it difficult for them. Ireland could take this as an example of how to control Spanish boats in Irish waters.

Listen to this edition of the Fisheries Podcast here.

 

BIM - Taste the Atlantic - 2017 from Bord Iascaigh Mhara on Vimeo.

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October 2017 Issue - Vol 30 No.05

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Editor: Mark Mc Carthy
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Cape Clear Trust

A group of residents of Cape Clear Island have come together to purchase one of the most outstanding natural amenities on the Island to maintain public access and conservation. This comprises 45 acers including almost the entire south-eastern side of South Harbour. This includes the very popular red walking loop with scenery of outstanding natural beauty, important habitat of the endangered Chough and the most south-westerly point in Europe for land based whale, dolphin and bird watching currently open to the public. Thousands of people will be familiar this outstanding natural amenity, including many of our Marine Times Newspaper readers.

This land belonged to Chuck and Nell Kruger, founders of the Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival and Chuck himself, the Island’s foremost writer and poet in recent years. Their generosity extended to allowing public access to their property for over 30 years and it is this access that Cape Clear Trust wishes to preserve in perpetuity under the slogan “Ceart slí don uile dhuine”, translated as Access for all.

For this the Trust need to raise €60,000, a daunting task for a Community with a resident population of only 130. If interested in supporting the Trust's project you may wish to contribute by co-funding plots of 5 or 10m2 as detailed on their FB page www.facebook.com/IontabhasCleire/ and www.CapeClearTrust.ie

Inland Fisheries Ireland Confirms that 65 Farmed Salmon Have Been Caught in Five Rivers in Counties Galway and Mayo

11th October 2017: The affected rivers are the Delphi, Erriff, Kylemore/Dawros, Newport and Bunowen, in Counties Galway and Mayo. Inland Fisheries Ireland has been monitoring the situation since August stocks. Concerns regarding salmon farm management and oversight have also heightened as, at this point, Inland Fisheries Ireland understands that no escapes of farm salmon have been reported to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (the licensing authority) by salmon farm owners.

Salmon farm owners are obliged, as one of the conditions of the license to operate, to report all escapes to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Department has confirmed to Inland Fisheries Ireland that no such report has been received.

The Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland has issued the following statement: ‘Inland Fisheries Ireland has been charged with the protection of wild Atlantic salmon and continues to have concerns regarding the impacts of fish farms on Ireland’s precious wild fish. The licencing regime and best management practice should provide assurance to the State that controls are in place that safeguard our heritage. This does not appear to be the case in this instance. Inland Fisheries Ireland supports sustainable fish farming but cautions against the renewal and/or award of licences where conditions are not being adhered to. The Board recommends immediate strict enforcement and audit of existing licence conditions to ensure compliance and ultimately a sustainable resource for all’.

To date, 65 farmed salmon escapees have turned up on the Delphi, Erriff, Kylemore/Dawros, Newport and Bunowen rivers. The scale of the escape is not fully understood at this time as the majority of fish were caught by anglers who generally only encounter a small proportion of salmon in a river.

Inland Fisheries Ireland scientists are analysing captured fish in an attempt to identify the history and maturity status of the farmed salmon. The outcome from this analysis will assist in understanding the risks to our wild salmon stocks.

Of those examined to date, three males (out of six examined) were mature on capture and had the potential to spawn in the wild and impact the genetic integrity of native salmon stock.

Inland Fisheries Ireland is assessing the risk to wild salmon stocks associated with these escapes in the various catchments which are already under pressure due to significant decreases in salmon runs over the last twenty years.

All fish entering the Erriff are monitored in an upstream trap allowing for the removal of farmed fish. Unfortunately, there are no such trapping facilities available on the other systems (Delphi, Kylemore, Newport, Bunowen), resulting in free access to these catchments.

Inland Fisheries Ireland staff will continue to monitor the situation. However, it will be extremely difficult to assess the exact numbers of escapees potentially running the river systems without having appropriate information on escapes from any affected farms.

Dermot Conway

The Danger of Spin
Fisheries Solicitor Dermot Conway writes that it is “nothing short of appalling to watch TD’s accept at face value all sort of nasty assertions being peddled about the fishing industry, without any questioning” and “a disgrace to see public representatives forming opinions based on ‘fake news’.

Art Kavanagh

Unity is the Key
BIM held their Annual National Seafood Conference in Galway on 29th June and there was a good attendance. Overall it was a good day and there was general agreement at least from those I spoke with that the atmosphere was good and positive.

We need to talk about super trawlers ...
Liadh Ni Riada, MEP

"In an effort to highlight the seriousness of what may be about to happen as a result of the “so called” public consultation on reviewing our fishing boat licence policy, a number of us fishermen have decided that we can no longer remain silent while PO’s, governments and state agencies continue to mismanage Ireland’s fishing industry for the benefit of a small number of players in return for political advantage."

Rogues Gallery is back - see page 30 of our September 2017 issue to see if you made the cut ;0) Photo above courtesy of William Power

"Sea Strike" by MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy

MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy, in Cork recently released a short fun animation with a message of significant impact, reminding us about our engagement with the ocean. With the opening statement "what has the sea ever done for us?" the film reports on 'the sea threatening to take strike action and was last seen heading to the moon disillusioned by how it was being treated on Earth'

 

Highlighting the importance of learning more about the ocean, Ciaran Kelly, policy, innovation and research manager at the Marine Institute congratulated the project team on the short film. "It is a novel animation which reminds us of how we all enjoy the benefits from the ocean both socially and economically, directly and indirectly; yet the film also provides a stark reminder of the fact that the ocean is not an infinite resource".

As an island nation, Ireland has a marine area that is ten times the size of its land area above the sea, and the majority of Ireland's population lives with 50km of the ocean. With a humorous element added to the short film, it demonstrates how we rely on the ocean for food and that over 50% of the oxygen we breathe came from marine plants in the ocean called phytoplankton. The ocean also supports many industries from fishing, aquaculture to energy and is a means for trade and transport, as well as providing us with the benefits of social and leisure activities generating a significant tourism trade.

Shared via social media, the film simply conveys information on complex scientific issues such as climate change and marine pollution it engages its audience in a way that relates to their everyday lives around the world and in Ireland. "To 'bring back the ocean', the film reminds us of our rich maritime heritage in Ireland. It promotes how taking small actions can create big impacts, from getting involved in beach cleans, to being aware of how we shop, as well as supporting research and innovation, can all improve the impacts on the ocean resource," Kelly further said.

Supporting the national government strategy Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – an integrated marine plan for Ireland, along with the objectives of the EU Blue Growth Strategy and EU Strategy for the Atlantic focusing on ocean literacy, the Marine Institute has provided modest grants to a number of organisations to complete film projects about the ocean. The 2016 pilot media award grants for producing film pieces relevant to ocean literacy were also provided to:

Dearcán Media - John Philip Holland Documentary, English translation
Scannáin Inbhear - Bringing the "Atlantic" documentary to the classroom
University College Cork - Oceans of Life Animation
The animation "Sea Strike" was made with the support from the MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy and a Marine Institute Ocean Awareness Grant.

The Marine Institute is Ireland's national research agency for marine research, technology development and innovation, and is responsible for promoting the sustainable development of Ireland's resource through coordinated and focused research, leading to sound and accurate management advice for the Government, industry and the EU.


Scientists develop new technology to predict how marine life will fare in warmer seas

Using a novel system to conduct warming experiments in real marine habitats, scientists in Plymouth have demonstrated that seawater warming of the magnitude already experienced during ‘marine heatwaves’ causes major changes in underwater communities of microbes and animals.

Understanding the responses of populations and communities to climate change is a major focus of contemporary ecology. Most studies on the effects of ocean warming are based on observations in the natural world or on experiments conducted in highly controlled laboratory conditions. A research team, led by scientists at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in Plymouth, designed and developed a system that allows for precise control of seawater temperature in situ, in order to experimentally examine the effects of warming on a diverse range of marine organisms in their natural setting.

Heated panels were suspended in coastal water and were colonized by a range of marine life. The scientists looked in particular at marine microbes (bacteria and protists), and at larger attached invertebrates such as sea squirts and bryozoans. The ‘heated settlement panel system’ successfully controlled seawater temperature in a marine habitat for 40 days, and the responses of marine microbes and invertebrates was examined. Seawater warming of 3°C and 5°C caused major changes in the diversity and abundance of the marine organisms studied, showing that complex communities are potentially highly sensitive to increased temperature.

Dr Dan Smale, Research Fellow at the MBA said “the surprising finding of the study was how very different groups of organisms, ranging from bacteria to sea squirts, responded similarly to the warming treatments. This shows how important temperature is in driving the structure of communities and suggests that temperatures experienced during extreme warming events alter biological diversity in coastal habitats.”


Study Finds Microplastic Pollution is Increasing on Irish Continental Shelf

NUI Galway researchers provide the first assessment of microplastic pollution in marine sediments from the Irish continental shelf

Friday, 8 September, 2017: Researchers from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway have conducted the first study that investigates microplastic pollution of marine sediments on the Irish continental shelf. The study was published this week in the international journal Scientific Reports.

Pollution from plastic entering into the ocean is a global issue that impacts marine life at all trophic levels as well as economically important ecosystems. Microplastics (plastics smaller than 0.5mm) are widely dispersed throughout the marine environment. An understanding of the distribution and accumulation of this form of pollution is crucial for gauging environmental risk. In this study the researchers provide the first assessment of microplastic pollution in sediments and bottom waters collected from the Irish continental shelf. More specifically, this study investigated the history of microplastic deposition on the seafloor and examined how sedimentation regimes, proximity to densely populated areas, and maritime activities may impact microplastic pollution and deposition in marine sediments.

The results demonstrate that microplastic contamination is present along the western Irish continental shelf regardless of proximity to densely populated areas. The study found that a shallow layer of microplastics has formed along the Irish seafloor within marine sediments and their overlaying bottom waters. It also found a statistically significant trend of a rapid decrease in microplastic abundance with sediment depth within the fisheries near Galway Bay, which supports the assumption that microplastic deposition is increasing over time in this area. All recovered microplastics were classified as secondary microplastics as they appear to be remnants of larger items; fibres being the principal form of microplastic pollution (85%), followed by broken fragments (15%). The range of polymer types, colours and physical forms recovered suggests a variety of sources that may originate from plastic polymer fishing gear or land based contributions from nearby industry, water treatment plants, or households.

Dr Audrey Morley, senior author of the study and lecturer in Physical Geography at NUI Galway, said: “The pervasive presence of microplastics on the Irish Sea floor bares significant risks for economically important Irish fisheries, for example the Galway Bay Prawn (Nephrops Norvegicus). A previous study from Scottish fisheries has shown that prawns tend to ingest high concentrations of microplastic fibres when exposed to this type of pollution.

“Our results show that the Galway Bay Prawn fishery may be experiencing high exposure to this form of pollution with potential detrimental repercussions for this species, including reduced fitness and potential reproductive failure. However, more research is needed to understand the mechanisms influencing interactions of microplastics with individual species and ecosystems.”

This research was an NUI Galway student-led investigation by Mr Jake Martin, a graduate of the Masters Programme in Marine and Coastal Environments: Policy and Practice within the Discipline of Geography. For his achievements he has received the Professor Micheál Ó Cinnéide Award for Academic Excellence and is the lead-author of this publication.

This research was funded by a GSI Short Call from the Geological Survey of Ireland and a grant-in-aid for Ship-time on the RV Celtic Voyager from the Marine Institute of Ireland.

To read the full paper in Scientific Reports, visit: http://rdcu.be/vECw

Recent Archives

Investment of over €400,000 for 13 Coastal Community Projects across Louth, Meath and Dublin

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D. joined BIM, Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency and the North East Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin to announce grant aid of €219,310 to 13 distinctive maritime projects across coastal communities in counties Louth, Meath and Dublin that will deliver a total investment of €434,337.


FLAG West Fisheries Local Action Group Strategy announces support for 33 distinctive community projects across Clare & Galway to the tune of €411,099

Seán Kyne T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment with responsibility for Natural Resources, Community Affairs, and Digital Development today, Friday 14th July, travelled to Inis Oírr on the Aran Islands to announce the West Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) support for 33 projects along the Atlantic coastlines of counties Clare, Galway and the Aran Islands.


29 Local Community Projects to Deliver Investment of over €645,000 under EMFF South East Fisheries Local Action Group Programme

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D. announced the latest tranche of funding under the Southeast FLAG, Fisheries Local Action Group programme at a reception in the Arklow Bay Hotel in the coastal fishing town of Arklow in Co Wicklow this morning Monday 10th July.


South West FLAG Strategy - 10 Fisheries Local Action Group Projects to Deliver Investment of €162,000

Newly appointed Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with special responsibility for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D. announced the South West FLAG, (Fisheries Local Action Group) Strategy at a seafood breakfast in the award winning Jack’s Coastguard Restaurant in Cromane, Killorglin, Kerry.


153 Successful Projects Worth €3.6 million Under EMFF Fisheries Local Action Group Scheme

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D. visited the renowned Ballycotton Harbour today (Thursday 8th June) to announce a range of successful projects that will deliver a total investment of €3.6 million under the innovative and inspiring Fisheries Local Area Action Group (FLAG) Strategy for Ireland’s 7 coastal regions. The FLAG Scheme is co-funded by the Exchequer and the EU under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme 2014-20. Over the duration of the EMFF programme, the FLAG Scheme will deliver €12 million in funding to Ireland’s coastal communities.


President Higgins Supports the Island Communities
News from the offshore islands from
Rhoda Twombly,
Secretary Comhdháil Oileán nahEireann

Summer is always a busy time and there is plenty of activity from the smallest to the largest of our Islands. But first off, I'd like to thank President and Mrs Higgins for the wonderful garden party they hosted in June at Áras an Uachtaráin for 400 Islanders.


SeaFest 2017 nets 101,000 visitors

SeaFest sees 68% growth in visitors numbers in one year