15th October

Ireland to ban products containing plastic micro beads

The UK ban on using plastic micro beads in cosmetics which came into effect on January 9 highlights the need for a more effective EU-wide response to the problem of waste plastic in the sea, says Dr Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute chief executive.

2018 plastic pollution

Plastics washed onto a beach on the west coast of Denmark (Photo KIMO); a handful of micro plastics on Hawaii (Photo Plastic Change)

Micro beads are tiny plastic circles the size of a grain of sand, and marine scientists are increasingly worried that ocean wildlife is being harmed through consumption.

Read more: Ireland to ban products containing plastic micro beads

Citizen science drive to reduce marine litter

The European Commission is seeking public input to a consultation on single use plastics and fishing gear in a follow up to the EU Strategy on Plastics in the Circular Economy (2015) scheduled for adoption this month.

Microplastic marine debris Connolly TRACHT BEACH AUG17

Marine litter on Tracht Beach, Co Galway                                                                              Photo Paul Connolly 

An Action Plan for a Circular Economy identified plastics, which represents hall of all marine litter, as one of five priority areas, due to low rates of reuse and recycling, along with littering.

Read more: Citizen science drive to reduce marine litter

Environmental monitoring of major redevelopment at Dublin Port

Marine data products and services provider, Techworks Marine Limited, is to provide environmental monitoring platforms during Dublin Port Company’s redevelopment of Alexandra Basin.

Techworks Dublin Port

Deployment of a Techworks Marine CoastEye Monitoring Buoy in Dublin Bay  

Assisted by Commissioner of Irish Lights Vessel, Granuaile, four CoastEye Monitoring Buoys will be strategically positioned around Dublin Bay to give real-time detailed sea-state data on turbidity, wave and current profiles. The buoys will also act as a platform for acoustic detection of whale and dolphin activity throughout the project.

Read more: Environmental monitoring of major redevelopment at Dublin Port

Ireland commits €6m towards global marine protection

At 'Our Ocean Conference' Malta (6/10), Minister of State Ciarán Cannon committed over €6m in marine research and development to support Ireland's contribution to promoting and protecting the world's marine resources. 

Ocean Energy 2017 Cannon

World leaders made over four hundred commitments towards developing opportunities for cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship; identifying marine protected areas; climate change; sustainable fisheries; marine pollution; marine security and developing a sustainable blue economy. 

Read more: Ireland commits €6m towards global marine protection

Microplastic pollution discovered on Irish continental shelf

Researchers from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway have discovered the presence of microplastic contamination along the western Irish continental shelf regardless of proximity to densely populated areas.

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, explains Dr Audrey Morley, senior author of the study and lecturer in Physical Geography at NUI Galway.

NUIG microplastic pollution

Microplastics found in Irish Marine sediments. A subset of recovered microplastics at 40-50x magnifications. (L) A frayed and tangled fibre from Galway Bay’s North Sound. (C) A heavily biofouled transparent fibre from the Aran Grounds. (R) A tangled ball of fibres identified during method testing from Galway Bay’s South Sound (52°57.722N, 9°33.358W). Photo:[Martin et al., 2017]


“The pervasive presence of microplastics on the Irish continental shelf bares significant risks for economically important Irish fisheries, for example the Galway Bay Prawn (Nephrops Norbegicus).

Read more: Microplastic pollution discovered on Irish continental shelf

Ireland's ocean test centre offers 'world class' capability

Four wave tanks replicating real ocean conditions that enable marine technologies and structures to be tested, is central to developing Ireland's offshore renewable energy industry.  Incorporated in the MaREI Centre in Cork, and located in the purpose-built Beaufort Building, these 'world class' facilities are available to industry, academia and government agencies. 

MaREI LIR 2017

Dr Jimmy Murphy general manager, LIR; Minister Denis Naugton and Georgina Foley, Commercial Manager, LIR at the wave and ocean test facility 

LIR is also the only facility with the capacity to link tank testing output to electrical test rigs, emulating power take off systems to determine power quality and possible grid intregration.

Denis Naughton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said the diversity of work at the LIR facility reflected the many commercial opportunities that offshore renewable energy presented. He also praised the "expert team" that works with industry, researchers and State institutions to achieve the best possible results. 

Diversity of the work at LIR reflected the commercial opportunities that offshore renewable energy presented, added Dr Jimmy Murphy, General Manager.

"We support companies by de-risking their technologies through our extensive testing capability, including towing, installation, performance and survivability testing."

The centre can also test structures at small scale and is therefore appealing to the broad marine sector, he added. LIR has tested oil and gas platforms; aquaculture cages; vessels, breakwaters and coastal erosion structures.  

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