18th December

Independent study says Ireland’s mapping project is value for money

According to Gareth Hetherington of Pricewaterhouse Coopers who carried out an options appraisal report into the INFOMAR mapping programme, their analysis over a 20-year period of the current value of benefits is estimated at €440m.

“This in ratio to cost is approx 4/5:1 so the return on the capital employed is quite good. We’re looking at industry as an exercise or project that can help generate economic activity in light of the recession. [These] are basically the types of projects which all governments say they want to fund,” he emphasised.

RV Keary was officially named by Barbara Keary, wife of the late Ray Keary, at the Poolbeg Marina in the heart of Dublin. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

RV Keary was officially named by Barbara Keary, wife of the late Ray Keary, at the Poolbeg Marina in the heart of Dublin. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

 “If the private sector was left to undertake the seabed mapping study, the cost associated [to deliver] a project of this nature would be so disproportionate to the financial benefits it wouldn’t be worth their while.” 

Gareth Hetherington was speaking at the ten-year celebration seminar of the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS) and INFOMAR.

Read more: Independent study says Ireland’s mapping project is value for money

Unique design to aid Ireland’s seabed mapping capabilities?

Running before dark skies that were building in the Irish Sea, a silver shimmer appeared on the horizon off Bray Head. It was the RV Keary – a purpose built, aluminium catamaran whose journey had begun 7,000 miles away in a boatyard in Cape Town almost two years ago.

High speed props, hydrofoil stabilising rams and the asymmetric hull combine to create a highly technical craft. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

High speed props, hydrofoil stabilising rams and the asymmetric hull combine to create a highly technical craft. Photo Gillian Mills/Inshore Ireland

The vessel is named after the late Ray Keary of the Geological Survey of Ireland who for years had quietly championed the value of Ireland’s marine resource. Finally his message was heard when the GSI received approval from government in 1999 to commence mapping Ireland’s seabed territory, an area that is nine times the size of its landmass.

Read more: Unique design to aid Ireland’s seabed mapping capabilities?

A snapshot of Ireland’s earth science agency

As director of the Geological Survey of Ireland for the last seventeen years, Dr Peadar McArdle has managed to steer the agency on a course that has given the public a wider awareness of the potential economic benefits of the marine environment.

After a primary degree in geology from UCD in the early 70s, McArdle continued with postgraduate research before heading to Africa where he gained invaluable experience as a young geologist with the national survey of Malawi. 

Peadar McArdle

On his return to Ireland he spent a short time in the private sector with Silvermines before joining the Geological Survey in 1975 where he was involved in the minerals area.

Read more: A snapshot of Ireland’s earth science agency

‘Star Trek’ technology for coastal surveys

Armed with a sophisticated hand-held Global Positioning System (dGPS) enabled data logger on board a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) in Cork Harbour, researchers in CMRC (the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre, UCC), have demonstrated that conducting detailed coastline surveys from the water is a cost effective alternative to traditional terrestrial surveys, reports Vicki O’Donnell, CMRC

Working with scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), with whom UCC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2003, the Geographical Information System (GIS) Group has developed tools to create a comprehensive database of shoreline features.

Read more: ‘Star Trek’ technology for coastal surveys

Need for national coastal management strategy

Over 90% of the population of the island of Ireland resides within 15kms of the coastline. This coastline, depending on the measuring technique employed, is between 1,500km and 9,750km in length.

The landscape of this land/sea interface is rich in diversity − from rugged cliff lines and limestone rock plateaus − to isolated pebble or sandy beaches and rolling pastureland.

Around the coast, unbroken visibility that can stretch for miles without interruption from industrial development and ‘relatively’ little urbanisation provides an experience that is almost unique throughout Europe.

Read more: Need for national coastal management strategy

All-inclusive management required for Clew Bay

Despite the many positive outcomes since the formation of the Clew Bay Marine Forum (CBMF) five years ago, the organisation believes a lack of coordination still exists between activities and agencies.

“Coordinated area strategies have not been developed, which has led to policy gaps, duplication and at times even conflicting policies,” the development manager Niall O’Boyle told Inshore Ireland.

The CBMF was established in late 2000 to represent a wider range of viewpoints on behalf of bay users. Activities include: oyster and scallop dredging; lobster, shrimp and prawn potting; shellfish farming of oysters, mussels and scallops; finfish farming of trout and salmon; ferry operators; marine services; seaweed harvesting and whelk picking and angling. Recreational activities include: sailing; adventure centre holidays; pleasure boating and diving.

Read more: All-inclusive management required for Clew Bay

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