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The Marine Institute and the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway are conducting a survey of marine and marine-related businesses as part of the regular reporting on Ireland’s Ocean Economy.

Although the CSO and other State organisations provide some data on marine related economic activity, the Marine Institute says there is a need to supplement this data with company surveys across a number of sectors in the growing blue economy.

These include advanced marine technology products and services, offshore renewable energy, marine commerce and legal services, marine manufacturing, construction and engineering.

The survey began this month and will continue in July, with the results published later this year. In addition to general economic figures collected, this year’s survey includes a section on the impact of COVID-19 and other external factors effecting marine businesses.

Queries regarding the survey should be directed to Marie-Christin Lanser, scientific technical officer with the Marine Socio-Economic and Social Data Programme at [email protected] or Prof Stephen Hynes, director of SEMRU at NUIG at [email protected]

Published in News Update

The State agency responsible for the conservation and protection of freshwater fish, habitats and sea angling resources is asking angling enthusiasts who have fished the Currane catchment in Co Kerry for their views.

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) new online survey aims to gather anglers’ knowledge via the FLEKSI method, which was developed by IFI to help give a deep insight into the status of fisheries.

Over recent decades populations of sea trout and salmon throughout Ireland are facing serious challenges from various ecological changes.

IFI’s Currane STAMP programme is already assessing fish populations within their freshwater and marine phases, to report current status and provide scientific advice to support the development of appropriate conservation management measures.

The data gathered in the FLEKSI survey has the potential for citizens to get involved and provide important insights to guide fisheries management in the future.

This survey is for all anglers who fish in the Currane catchment for various species. IFI says all responses will help to build an understanding of the history and ecological status of your fishery.

FLEKSI — which stands for Fisher’s Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators — aims to capture anglers’ knowledge and hands-on experience to help track changes in fish stocks and ecosystems.

Dr William Roche, a senior research officer with IFI and manager of the STAMP project said: “Anglers are keen observers of nature and are aware of changes within their fisheries. We are looking for anglers to share their knowledge and contribute to the conservation and management of this important sea‑trout and salmon fishery.

“The Currane fishery is particularly highly regarded by anglers, but there is grave concern about the health of its fish stocks in recent years.

“By capturing these observations, which inevitably span an individual angler’s entire angling career, we believe their unique insight into the fisheries environment will help us to track and understand changes in Currane’s sea trout stocks and the ecosystem as a whole.”

The Currane catchment in Co Kerry is Ireland’s most important sea trout fishery, with a long history of high-quality fishing, particularly for larger sea trout. The fishery is renowned internationally and has been the cornerstone of sea trout and salmon fishing in the southwest of the country since the 1900s. 

IFI says the FLEKSI survey will give anglers on the Currane catchment an exciting opportunity to share their knowledge as citizen scientists and to make a valuable contribution towards fisheries management on the fishery.

If you fish the Currane system, you are invited to fill out the online survey HERE.

Each participant also can opt to enter into a prize draw for angling tackle, with one €200 voucher and one €100 voucher to be won.

Published in Angling

Sea swimmers around Ireland are encouraged to give their input via an online survey to inform bathing water policy, as Independent.ie reports.

The national Bathing Water Expert Group wants to find out more information about where, when and why people are swimming outside of the summer season — from 1 June to mid September — to help inform potential options for helping to protect winter swimmers’ health.

The 15-minute questionnaire is available until next Friday 6 May. Indepdenent.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sea Swim

On behalf of Waterways Ireland, KPMG have created an online survey to capture canal boaters’ views on use of Ireland’s inland navigations, with a particular focus on sustainable on-water living.

“The purpose of this survey is to capture the experience and knowledge of users of the canals and the views of long-term residential moorings on the canal navigations’ ‘liveaboards’,” it says.

All permit holders should already have received this survey directly. If you did not receive it or if you do not hold a permit for the canals, you can still complete this survey by including your Shannon vessel registration number in the permit number box.

“This survey is completely anonymised and no responses can be identified, the permit number is just used a verification for eligibility,” it adds. “This is to encourage survey participants to provide responses which are completely transparent and which reflect the interests, views, outlooks and recommendations of survey respondents in an honest way.”

The closing date for the completion of the survey is next Thursday 17 February at midnight.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

The Department of Transport advises that an analogue survey consisting of multibeam, side-scan sonar and magnetometer will be carried out off the South Coast of Ireland by the Marine Institute on behalf of Providence Resources from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 October, weather permitting.

In addition to the analogue survey, seabed samples and camera imagery will be acquired at approximately 10 stations in the survey area.

The survey will be conducted in Block 48/24 Barryroe, in the North Celtic Basin, around 45–50km from the south coast of Ireland, and will be undertaken by the RV Celtic Voyager (callsign EIQN). The vessel will be towing a side-scan sonar and magnetometer from time to time with cables of up to 300m long.

As this vessel will be restricted in its ability to manoeuvre when surveying, other vessels are requested to keep a wide berth. The vessel will display appropriate lights and signals.

For details of coordinates of the survey area, see Marine Notice No 55 of 2021 which is available to download below.

Published in News Update

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is relying on the knowledge and experience as a ‘citizen scientist’ anglers in a new survey about less well-known fish species.

Some migratory fish species like salmon and lesser-known species such as shad and the extremely rare sturgeon, among others, are in decline in many European countries. These species spend much of their lifecycle at sea and periods in riverine habitats.

As part of the multinational European project DiadES, IFI and other project partners are assessing the recreational fishing interest in several of these species including shad, thin-lipped mullet, smelt and flounder via an online survey which will also record the economic benefits that the species support.

Dr William Roche, senior research officer at IFI, said: “We are urging anglers who fish for these species to participate in this online survey as it will help us get a more comprehensive view of these less common species in Irish waters.

“In this way we can contribute to providing better information to inform future policy and management of these species, and the economic, social and cultural activities associated with them.”

Future predictions suggest that some of these species will see northward and southward changes in distribution under climate change scenarios, IFI says.

This may increase or decrease their availability to recreational fishing and the economic benefits they bring to businesses in local areas, as well as the enjoyment and associated health and social benefits for fishers.

The online survey consists of questions about fish-catching activities and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

In Ireland the DiadES case study area comprises the Suir, Nore and Barrow Rivers and the Waterford Harbour catchment but IFI is also seeking details on the named fish species generally within Ireland.

Published in Angling

A new online survey aims to collect changes in sea anglers’ catches in Ireland’s coastal waters over time.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says anglers participating in the survey will contribute towards understanding changes in angling species here.

Ireland’s sea angling resource ranges from tope in the Irish Sea to bass on the surf beaches of the Dingle Peninsula.

These fisheries attract many local anglers along with visitors from around the world. The new survey aims to track and inform possible long-term changes in the coastal fish populations targeted by anglers.

Dr William Roche, senior research officer at IFI, said: “We are looking for sea anglers of all ages and experience to take part in our new survey programme to help us to understand possible trends and changes in catch over the years.

“We know that anglers have expert localised knowledge from spending time outside observing nature and the fish they catch.

“Over a sea-angling career, this experience becomes a unique insight into the state of coastal fisheries and we want to reach out to those who have localised knowledge and care about the future of our fisheries resource to help us to understand how it has changed.”

IFI says the success of the study “relies on the knowledge, experience and observations of citizen scientist anglers. The survey has been carefully formulated to capture this knowledge and allow it to be expressed as indicators of the current state of our important fish populations.”

Each unique respondent will also be entered into a prize draw to win a voucher of up to €200 for their local angling tackle shop.

Published in Angling

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) to mark International Women's Day, has revealed its results of the first survey to examine the representation of women across the maritime search and rescue (SAR) sector.

The #WomenInSAR survey, which was supported by Trinity House, attracted more than 1600 participants from women and men in 48 different countries. The research sought to explore the challenges and barriers faced by women in maritime SAR, along with their personal aims, any experiences of discrimination, and factors affecting recruitment and retention.

Theresa Crossley, CEO, IMRF said: “The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘choose to challenge’. It’s remarkably appropriate, as most of the women and men who completed the survey felt that one of the biggest barriers to more women entering maritime SAR, was the perception that it’s a man’s world.

“Male dominance remains a fact in the maritime sector in general and maritime SAR is no different.  This can have an indirect discriminatory effect, for example in terms of the facilities and equipment provided.  Many of the respondents said that ‘you need to see it to be it’ -  there are still not enough women in senior roles, or not enough pictures of women in SAR recruitment, training and promotional materials – perpetuating the myth that SAR is just for men.  As one respondent said: ‘We don’t need men or women - we just need crew.’”

Captain Ian McNaught, Deputy Master of Trinity House added: “Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers and we have been providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community for more than 500 years. Women and men working in maritime search and rescue save the lives of those in trouble at sea, providing a vital service. In today’s world, it is only right that women should be equally represented across all roles and we are proud to support this initiative.”

For the majority of women who responded to the survey, the reasons for becoming involved in SAR were generally the same as for male respondents and a significant majority of women questioned did not report any experience of direct gender discrimination.  However, a significant minority of women respondents reported that issues related to both direct, or indirect, gender discrimination were among the most challenging aspects of their SAR work. Quite a few women still felt the need to outperform men to be taken seriously.  

The IMRF launched its #WomenInSAR initiative in June 2019, to increase the representation of women in maritime SAR and provide support for women and girls involved in the sector. The results of this survey, the first of its kind, will help the IMRF to focus its efforts on improving awareness of, and access to, the opportunities available to women in maritime SAR.

The IMRF is now planning a #WomenInSAR STEM event to highlight the opportunities open to women, showcasing international female trailblazers and intends to introduce a mentoring scheme for women in SAR.  The organisation is also calling for nominations to be submitted for the IMRF Awards, specifically the #WomenInSAR Award which is presented to someone who has made a major contribution to improving opportunities for women in the sector.  

Theresa Crossley concludes: “Over and over again, it’s been proved that organisations with an equal balance of men and women are more successful. Maritime SAR has been traditionally a male preserve. Although much has changed over recent years, we’ve still got a way to go.  Gender diversity makes sense on every level – we need to make it happen.  We’re ‘choosing to challenge’ the perceptions and aiming for equality.”

The report was launched via an online webinar open to anyone in the industry, and is free to download from the IMRF website here.

The IMRF as the only maritime SAR organisation with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), will be sharing the results with the IMO in support of its Women in Maritime initiative.

Published in Coastguard

Mariners off the South-East Coast of Ireland are advised of subsea cable survey operations currently under way, subject to weather conditions.

The survey was scheduled to begin this past Thursday 26 November and continue for at least eight days and up to two weeks.

It follows a route south-west from the 2m contour at Ballyteige Bay before veering south to the 12-nautical-mile limit.

The DNV-classed wind farm service and survey support vessel Fastnet Pelican (Callsign 2FNX7) is conducting this survey using a multibeam echo sounder and sub bottom profiler as well as a towed array with a sidescan sonar and magnetometer.

The vessel will have active AIS and will display all relevant lights and shapes.

Due to restricted manoeuvrability, other vessels are asked to maintain a distance of at least one nautical mile from the Fastnet Pelican.

Full details of this survey, including all relevant coordinates, are included in Marine Notice No 54 of 2020, a PDF of which can be downloaded below.

Published in Marine Warning

The people of Ireland are being invited to share their views on Irish coastal seascapes.

And the feedback gathered will inform Ireland’s Seascape Character Assessment Report, a key technical study for the National Marine Planning Framework.

The new survey follows an online poll this past summer to help classify and describe the essential character of Ireland’s coastal areas and communities.

The responses gathered have informed a draft assessment on which the Marine Institute is now seeking public input — from today, Wednesday 7 October, to Friday 30 October.

“Seascapes are very much about the relationship between people and place and how humans have settled and interacted in and along our coastline — from the earliest inhabitants on this island right up to today,” said Caitríona Nic Aonghusa, manager of marine spatial planning at the Marine Institute.

“By identifying, classifying and describing our seascape character in a holistic way, we can provide a baseline to better inform the planning and management of our seascapes.”

In addition to the public survey, a series of online workshops will be held for those interested in further discussion of the draft assessment.

These will take place next week, on Monday 12 October from 2pm–3pm and Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 October from 8pm–9pm. To attend any of these online workshops, email [email protected]

And to celebrate and raise awareness of International Landscape Day on Tuesday 20 October, the Marine Institute is also encouraging people across the island of Ireland to share photographs of seascapes on social media.

Post your photos of Ireland’s seascapes on that date on social media with #IrishSeascapes and tag the Marine Institute on Twitter or Facebook.

Published in Environment
Page 1 of 8

Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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