15th October

INFOMAR survey operations 2012

Eoin MacCraith, GSI

The 2012 survey season comprised a mixture of collaborative work and progress for the national mapping project. With four survey vessels at work by the end of the season on behalf of the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute (MI), bathymetric and geophysical coverage of the seafloor was significantly extended in a number of locations around the Irish coast.

RV Cosantóir Bradán and RV Keary alongside in Crosshaven. Note the tow-mount for the multibeam sonar on on the Cosantóir Bradán which is in the raised position

RV Cosantóir Bradán and RV Keary alongside in Crosshaven. Note the tow-mount for the multibeam sonar on on the Cosantóir Bradán which is in the raised position

Dundalk Bay was the first area to be surveyed at the start of the season as a continuation of the INISHydro INTERREG IVA project that had begun last year. INISHydro is a 3-year programme with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in the UK as lead partners.

Read more: INFOMAR survey operations 2012

Challenging times prevailed throughout 2012 but positive signs too on the horizon

A brief look back at some of the key topics reported by Inshore Ireland throughout 2012 confirms that despite persistent energy-sapping doom and gloom in the wider media about the state of the economy, for the aquatic environment at least, there is reason for optimism.

In February we wondered if Our Ocean Wealth document heralded the dawn of Ireland’s long-hoped for ‘maritime era’.  For the first time it seemed that here at last was a government that   was taking the marine sector seriously by actually seeking public input into creating a maritime policy.

And sure enough to the surprise of many, the government followed up in July with the launch of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.

Read more: Challenging times prevailed throughout 2012 but positive signs too on the horizon

Outdated legislation must precede approval of 145 turbine wind farm off Dublin coast Coastal Concern Alliance

Coastal Concern Alliance

The application by developers for a foreshore lease for construction of a large-scale wind farm, ‘Dublin Array’ in Dublin Bay and off Wicklow should not be assessed until the outdated legislation governing construction at sea is updated and a Marine Spatial Plan is introduced to balance competing interest in our seas.

The democratic deficit inherent in the management of our coastal waters under the Foreshore Act, 1933, has long been recognised and reform has been talked of for many years. These reforms, deemed necessary by Government, are currently under way.9.3YourView Dublin array View 1 Sandycove 80mm

Photomontage by ModelWorks Media.

The Background
The Foreshore Act, 1933, gives sole authority to one Minister to issue foreshore licences (for exploration) and leases (for construction) in Irish waters.  While the legislation requires that decisions be made ‘in the public interest’, over the past decade the absence of coastal and marine spatial planning, coupled with outdated legislation governing construction at sea, has enabled offshore wind farm developers to lay claim to large stretches of valuable near-shore Irish east coast waters without proper public scrutiny.   

Read more: Outdated legislation must precede approval of 145 turbine wind farm off Dublin coast Coastal...

PISCES project puts spotlight on stakeholder input

Sarah Twomey & Cathal O'Mahony CMRC

Life Project Increasing attention is now being given to the potential of our marine resources to provide badly needed economic stimuli; this however will throw up the familiar challenge of sustainability which involves balancing development and use of the marine environment with the safeguarding of its ecological value.

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) sets out the environmental priorities of Europe’s maritime policy, requiring Member States to put in place a process to achieve good environmental status (GES) for their marine waters by 2020, while also calling for countries to apply the ecosystem -approach to managing human activities at sea.

Read more: PISCES project puts spotlight on stakeholder input

Harbour porpoises under threat from seismic survey in Killiney Bay

Dublin Bay has the highest harbour porpoise density in Ireland. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore IrelandDublin Bay has the highest harbour porpoise density in Ireland. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

Shay Fennelly

Harbour porpoises in Dublin Bay could be significantly disturbed by a seismic survey planned later this month. Dublin Bay has the highest harbour porpoise density in Ireland (see sidebar)

A foreshore licence was granted to Providence Resources on September 27 to undertake site investigations and to drill an exploration well in the Kish Bank Basin. The site investigations include a 2D seismic survey of the Dalkey Island prospect which would take about 15 days, followed by 30-60 days of drilling from December.

The Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) submitted by Providence Resources is deficient as it did not assess the footprint of the seismic survey.

Read more: Harbour porpoises under threat from seismic survey in Killiney Bay

Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – the journey begins!

The launch by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny on July 31 of the Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth strategy roadmap will be seen by most of Ireland’s wider maritime community as a significant achievement by this government, and a welcome first step on the road to tapping into a global market estimated to be worth €1.20bn.

The six months process leading to last month’s launch can be traced back to February when Minister Coveney posed 10 questions that he hoped would stimulate the public into providing ideas and suggestions to generate sustainable growth in a thriving maritime economy.  

Read more: Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – the journey begins!

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