• Hydrography, Surface Geology and Geomorphology of the Deep Water Sedimentary Basins to the West of Ireland

      Vermeulen, N J (Marine Institute, 1997)
      This desk study involved the assembly, review and analysis of public domain and available data from an extensive deep water area offshore to the west of Ireland. All major bathymetric and sedimentary basins, in addition to associated shallow plateau and bank areas, were considered. Particular emphasis was placed on the Porcupine Seabight and Rockall Trough as these were considered to be the main areas of interest for the proposed 1996 AIRS (Atlantic Irish Regional Survey) project. Only relatively brief summaries are given for the Hatton Basin, Hatton Bank and the area further west. Also, as the GLORIA side-scan sonar system used in the project is effective only in deeper waters (continental slope and abyssal depths), a considerable portion of the shallow shelf has been ignored. The primary goal of this study was to assemble a large existing data base on the above areas and to present this in a concise format. An introduction for each area describes the geological location and bathymetric characteristics. This is followed in each case by a description of the hydrography, in particular the characteristics of the water column and bottom current dynamics. Finally, an overview of the main geological and geomorphological features is given. Little reference will be made to the pre-Pleistocene geology of the region, with the focus of the project being on the modern sediments. The water column over much of the study area is seen to be highly stratified, with a number of distinct layers of various origin evident. Vigorous bottom currents are also clearly present in many areas, often at significant depth, and undoubtedly have an influence on seafloor sedimentation patterns. Sediment influx related to the cessation of the last glacial cycle has had a profound influence on the sea bed geomorphology. In a number of areas, massive sediment drifts or accumulations are evident, in addition to large scale mass-wasting and slope failure features which determine slope and basin floor character. Vigorous early post-glacial sea bed currents probably determined the distribution of much of the glacial sediment, but currents capable of transporting fine sand to silt grade sediments have been recorded and are still active today.
    • Impact Assessment of Hand and Mechanical Harvesting of Ascophyllum nodosum on Regeneration and Biodiversity

      Kelly, L; Collier, L; Costello, M J; Diver, M; McGarvey, S; Kraan, S; Morrissey, J; Giury, M D (Marine Institute, 2001)
      This preliminary study assessed over an 18-month period the effect of mechanical and hand harvesting on seaweed regeneration and biodiversity while also assessing the costs and benefits of mechanical means of harvesting Ascophyllum nodosum in Ireland. Two study sites were used, one in Clew Bay Co. Mayo and the other in south Connemara, Co. Galway, each typical of different types of shore that harvesting takes place from. Sampling was quantitative, stratified by height on the shore and conducted before and after harvesting. According to the results of this preliminary study traditional hand harvesting was clearly more effective and cost efficient than the mechanical harvesting. However, it is recognised that this trial was a first of its kind for mechanical harvesting of seaweed in Ireland and as such could be expected to encounter various operational and design difficulties that with modification could result in greater harvesting efficiency in the future. Rare species of fauna were generally typical of sediment and sublittoral rather than Ascophyllum biotopes. Species richness differed between the Connemara site with 97 taxa and the Clew Bay site with 87 taxa, and varied from the upper to lower shore at both sites. Richness varied over time but an effect of harvesting was not detected. Ascophyllum nodosum cover decreased significantly after harvesting and was nearing recovery after 17 months in Connemara and 11 months in Clew Bay. No significant effects or changes in red algae or Fucus serratus could be attributed to harvesting. However, increases in ephemeral algae cover in the midshore after harvesting may have been facilitated by removal of the Ascophyllum canopy. Fucus vesiculosus significantly increased in cover after harvesting at both sites. At the Connemara site the abundance of the periwinkle Littorina obtusata increased in the control and decreased in the hand-harvested sections of seashore during the winter. The species was less abundant at the Clew Bay site and no significant seasonal or harvesting trends were apparent. The numbers and cover of other animals, both mobile and sessile, were low which limited analysis. However, the cover of sessile fauna was significantly variable over time in hand-harvested sections at both sites whereas controls were not.
    • Mapping and Assessment of the Seaweed Resources (Ascophyllum nodosum, Laminaria spp.) off the West Coast of Ireland

      Hession, C; Guiry, M D; McGarvey, S; Joyce, D (Marine Institute, 1998)
      The seaweed biomass survey was designed to gather important information on those seaweed resources that are extensively harvested at present (mainly Ascophyllum nodosum) and those that offer a significant potential for future development (Laminariaceae). The first major objective of the project was to measure the intertidal biomass of Ascophyllum nodosum at selected sites along the Irish west coast. A total of 258 survey sites of varying size were selected by the survey team. They were considered to encapsulate all of the important regions where Ascophyllum nodosum harvesting was currently practiced and/or could take place in the future. Sites were selected using existing harvesting records, detailed map and chart studies and on-site visits. The total coastal area surveyed has the potential to yield 74,845 tonnes (t) of Ascophyllum nodosum sustainably per annum. The total amount harvested in 1996 was 35,850 t or some 48% of the total annual potential. The location and classification of the major Laminarian (kelp) beds off the Irish west coast was the second major objective of the project. Laminarians form the most extensive community inhabiting sublittoral rocky coasts of the North Atlantic. There are five species of the Laminariaceae and Alarinaceae families common to Irish waters, namely; Laminaria digitata, Laminaria hyperborea, Laminaria saccharina, Alaria esculenta and Sacchoriza polyschides. A process of public and private consultation, in conjunction with a number of field studies, was used to determine the distribution and relative abundance of these species on the west coast of Ireland. An estimate of the area of coastline (from Malin Head, Donegal, to Galley Head, Cork), covered by laminarians indicated that they were abundant at 22% of sites, common at 23%, scarce at 11% and absent from the remaining 44% of sites surveyed. All of the information gathered from the seaweed survey was been entered into a custom designed Geographical Information System (GIS). The system is made up of two information 'layers'. The first layer comprises a digitised outline of the Irish west coast from Donegal to Cork at a scale of 1:10,000 (6 inch to one mile). The second information 'layer' derived from data collected during the survey, comprising such details as amounts of seaweed present, harvesting details, accessibility and harvesting potential.
    • Marine Ecotourism: A Marketing Initiative in West Clare

      Hoctor, Z (Marine Institute, 2001)
      Many definitions of ecotourism exist, but there is an emerging consensus that it is a subset of nature-based tourism and of sustainable tourism. Ecotourism is reputed to be the fastest-growing sector of the world tourism industry, with estimates of its rate of growth ranging anywhere between 10% and 30% per annum. It is reputed to attract high spending tourists, and estimates suggest it to be ‘worth’ between $10 and $17.5 billion worldwide (Fennell, 1999). Recognising its global importance, the United Nations General Assembly has declared the year 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism and Responsible Tourism. The focus of this document is on a particular form of ecotourism known as marine ecotourism, i.e. ecotourism activities that take place in the coastal zone, in the marine environment, or in both. While ecotourism is based on enabling people to experience the natural environment in a manner that is consistent with the principles of sustainable development, marine ecotourism is about attempting to establish and maintain a symbiotic relationship between tourism and the natural marine environment. Marine ecotourism activities may be water-based, land-based, or both. They may be formally organised or undertaken independently. They may form the basis of a specialist holiday or simply be an element of a conventional holiday. Examples of activities that could be marine ecotourism include: watching whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and other marine animals, seabird ornithology, diving and snorkelling, nature-based sightseeing trips by surface boat or submarine, rock-pooling, coastal footpath and beach walking and visiting seashore and sea life centres.
    • A Monograph Study of Offshore Fishing and Social Change in Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

      Collier, P (Marine Institute, 2001)
      This sociological study was financed by The Marine Institute following the presentation of a preliminary paper entitled 'Irish Offshore Share Fishermen - transposing artisan convention into commercial control' by Peter Collier Ph.D. This paper offered a theoretical framework for probing topics of change regarding offshore fishing convention and control techniques used by vessel owners in the Republic of Ireland. The study aims to present and interpret evidence dealing with human resources and offshore fishing in the Kilmore Quay local authority port, Co. Wexford. This evidence was collected over a two month period, August-September, 2000. The study concentrates on the profile of offshore fishermen and conditions of change related to increasing spans of control over the cumulative Kilmore fishing effort. The study is local in its framing plane. A general review of the status of Irish offshore crewmen is taken into consideration at the concluding stage of this report.
    • The nature and current status of Transgenic Atlantic Salmon

      Cross, T F; Galvin, P T (Marine Institute, 1997)
      This study was commissioned by the Irish Marine Institute in response to a Ministerial request from the Department of the Marine. The definition of Genetically Modified fish (GMO) that we use throughout this report is of fish that have a gene added from the same or another species, i.e. transgenics. This is a narrow definition, in that it excludes products of sex manipulation or ploidy manipulation, but is the one accepted by, for example, the European Union (Council Directive 90/220/EEC, Anon. 1990). We were asked to address a number of questions, viz. 1. Current "state of the art" in salmon genetic engineering. 2. What is available commercially and what commercial strains would be attractive to Irish interests? 3. What is the potential impact of transgenic Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in general? 4. What particular concerns would there be if a strain currently being reared in Scotland, were to be introduced to Ireland? 5. Are current ED Directives sufficient to protect Irish interests. If not what changes should be proposed? 6. What research is required to clarify the issues? This report was produced within twenty days of the initial request and thus we were confined largely to the literature that was available locally, though we were able to talk to some people who have various areas of expertise in the field and these people, who are listed in the acknowledgements, provided useful discussion and additional literature. One other point that should be made is that this is a very rapidly expanding field and the material described here will rapidly become dated.
    • The occurrence of Sea Lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis Krøyer) on Farmed Salmon in Ireland (1995 to 2000)

      Copley, L; McCarney, P; Jackson, D; Hassett, D; Kennedy, S; Nulty, C (Marine Institute, 2001)
      Lepeophtheirus salmonis is the most frequently recorded ecto-parasite on farmed salmon in Europe, and parasitises only salmonid fish species. It is regarded as being commercially damaging to farmed salmon, with major economic losses to the fish farming community resulting per annum. Lepeophtheirus salmonis is a member of the Family Caligidae and has a direct life cycle. Annual data from around Ireland are analysed, as well as per region and per bay. Data is compiled up to the year 2000 and results are based on lice inspections undertaken bimonthly for the months March to May inclusive, and monthly for the remainder of the year, with one exception, December/January, when only one sample was taken. Mean ovigerous and mean mobile lice levels are presented. These estimate, respectively, successful breeding females and successful infection. Results obtained indicate, to some extent, that control methods on different farms differ in the efficacy they have on sea lice infestation, and that depending on which treatment type is used rates of reduction can be different for various life cycle stages. Overall mean ovigerous and mean mobile lice levels were lower in the year 2000 than in 1999. It was apparent that lateral transfer of sea lice during harvesting did occur at a number of sites in the country. It was also apparent that some individual bays appeared to have a greater control over lice infestation levels than others, especially during the critical spring period March to May. The decrease in the control of infestation levels can possibly be attributed to changes in treatments that occurred during the study period, and also to difficulties in achieving effective treatments due to inclement weather and low water temperatures. Since the initiation of monitoring in 1991, improved control of sea lice infestation has always been one of the goals of the programme. Single Bay Management (SBM), introduced in 1993 by the Marine Institute, implemented new measures to minimise re-infection by these parasites, with protocols agreed by all salmon producers within each bay. These plans were later extended and incorporated in 1998 into the Co-ordinated Local Aquaculture Management System (CLAMS), aiming to optimise environmental conditions within each bay for all users of the bay.
    • Phase II: Strain hybridisation field experiments and genetic fingerprinting of the edible brown seaweed Alaria esculenta

      Kraan, S; Guiry, M D (Marine Institute, 2001)
      Under phase II of the Marine Research Measure several field trials were performed with five biogeographical dispersed North Atlantic strains and their hybrids of the edible brown alga Alaria esculenta at Ard Bay, Carna, Co. Galway. The weight, length, width, biomass per meter rope, growth rate and protein level were measured. The fastest-growing crosses were produced with female Norway gametophytes together with male gametophytes of other strains. The Canadian selfcross produced most biomass of over 45 kg per meter rope. The female Iceland x male Ireland crossing produced the second highest biomass figure of 13.75 kg wet weight per meter rope, while the Irish self cross using a strain from the Aran Islands produced 7.4 kg wet weight per meter. The Canadian selfcross expressed the highest protein level followed by the female Newfoundland x male Norway hybrid. These strains and hybrids are well suited to be included in a protein rich macro-herbivore diet. The Irish native strain showed a lower protein level of 8% of the wet weight. Genetic fingerprinting using RFLPs did not show any genetic differences amongst the strains in respect of the DNA examined. A detailed sequencing study on the Rubisco spacer region showed a negligible 3 bp difference between the Irish and Canadian strains In conclusion, the Canadian strain or hybrids derived from female Canada gametophytes or female Iceland gametophytes produce more biomass per meter rope and grow larger and wider in size compared to the native Irish strain. They Canadian strain also showed the highest protein values in the field trials and hence are most suited to be applied in Irish aquaculture of the brown seaweed Alaria esculenta.
    • A Profile of Boating Activity on the Irish Sea

      McDowell, N; Shields, Y (Marine Institute, 1998)
      This report is based on the results of a survey undertaken to profile the extent and nature of boating tourism on the Irish Sea between the East Coast of Ireland and the West Coast of Wales. From the data collected it is possible to draw conclusions about the type of action that will help to promote the future boating tourism potential of the Irish Sea.
    • Reconnaissance Survey of the Irish Continental Shelf/Shelf Edge - Atlantic Irish Regional Survey (AIRS) 1996: A GLORIA Survey of the Irish Continental Margin

      Unnithan, V; Shannon, P M; McGrane, K; Jacob, A W B; Readman, P W; Keary, R (Marine Institute, 2000)
      The Atlantic Irish Regional Survey (AIRS96) sidescan sonar survey was carried out in August 1996. Covering an area of 200,000 sq.km it represented the largest reconnaissance seabed survey of the Irish Continental Shelf region. It covered both margins, together with much of the basin floor, of the Irish sector of the Rockall Trough and extended into the northern part of the Porcupine Seabight. The objectives of this project were two fold: 1. Strategic: •to undertake, for the first time a preliminary reconnaissance survey of the Irish Continental Shelf/Shelf Edge, •to establish a strategic database on Shelf/Slope Edge conditions, •to provide training and experience to Irish researchers in state of the art marine surveying equipment (GLORIA) and data processing. 2. Scientific: •to document slope stability and mass wasting features on the margins of the Rockall Trough, •to map, where possible, occurrences of deep water carbonate mounds, •to investigate the sediment erosional, transport and depositional mechanisms that have shaped the present morphology of the region. The survey revealed a range of sedimentary features across the steep (i.e. >6º slope) margins and the basin floor in the Rockall Trough. Four classes of sedimentary feature are recognised: (1) mass failure, (2) canyon systems, (3) sediment fans, and (4) sediment drifts. The western margin is characterised by large-scale downslope mass movement features. The western and central parts of the basin floor in the Rockall Trough contain the Feni Sediment Ridge, a large Miocene-Recent contourite sediment accumulation draped by large sediment waves trending sub-parallel to the dominant modern current pattern. A large-scale downslope mass failure feature is recognised across 14,000 sq.km of the northeastern margin of the Rockall Trough. Smaller slides and slumps occur along the eastern margin in association with more prevalent canyon, channel and fan systems. A cluster of carbonate mounds was imaged in the northern part of the Porcupine Seabight. These represent part of one of the most extensive suites of deep-water carbonate mounds in the Atlantic Margin and are currently the subject of a number of new EU-funded research projects. Strong northward-directed bottom currents along the eastern margin are suggested to erode, circulate and re-deposit sediment on the basin floor and on the western margin of the Rockall Trough. The main terrigenous sedimentary input was from the Irish Mainland Shelf. A broad interplay of alongslope and downslope sediment transport processes shaped the morphology of the Rockall Trough, while tectonically-driven basin subsidence, Quaternary glaciations and glacio-eustatic sea-level fluctuations also influenced the overall sedimentation pattern in the Rockall Trough.
    • Report on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Salmon Task Force

      Marine Institute (Marine Institute, 1998)
      Following the publication of the Report of the Salmon Management Task Force, the Marine Institute was asked to prepare a technical report on all aspects of the recommendations made, in particular those regarding Total Allowable Catch, Quota, Carcass Tagging and predation control measures. A technical implementation group was established by the Marine Institute which consulted with the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards and other interested parties during the drafting stages. The report provides an overview (1.0) of a new management system and within this system how stocks can be protected (2.0) and fisheries managed (3.0). Section 4.0 details the requirements for enforcement and monitoring. Section 5.0 deals with fishery management plans within the context of overall catchment management plans and peripheral issues are dealt with (6.0-10.0). Section (11.0) makes an attempt to specify the areas in which extra costs will occur and a timetable for implementation is suggested in (12.0) for the period 1998 to 2000. Predation control measures are being dealt with separately in consultation with the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources.
    • Socio-Economic Evaluation of the Impact of the Aquaculture Industry in Counties Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork

      White, F; Costelloe, J (Marine Institute, 1999)
      As set out in the Terms of Reference of this study the aim at the outset was to put together a clear picture of how the development of the aquaculture industry in Ireland has socially and economically shaped the coastal communities in Counties Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork and where this development is likely to lead these communities in the future. Specifically the aquaculture industry was examined in the context of other influencing factors of economic and social wealth in each of the study regions to establish its role within the community. The hinterland of Kilkieran Bay, in southwest Co. Galway, was chosen as a suitable area in which to conduct a detailed case study of the impact of the industry in peripheral coastal areas. The 3 principal phases of the project comprised; 1. A comprehensive literature review and data collation exercise 2. An extensive consultation process involving representatives of the aquaculture industry, relevant government and semi-state departments, community development bodies, tourism operators, and aquaculture operators in each of the regions. 3. A detailed series of questionnaire surveys in the case study area.
    • A Socio-economic Study of Fisheries in Counties Cork, Donegal, Kerry and Galway

      Ó Donnchadha, G; Callaghan, T; Niland, C (Marine Institute, 2000)
      Ireland has an extensive continental shelf within its 200-mile Economic Zone and has contributed enormously to EU Common Fishery Resources. Irish access to these fisheries was decided under previous fishery agreements and it is felt that Irish coastal communities have been seriously disadvantaged under EU fishery policy. This report hopes to advance arguments that will persuade the EU that Irish fishing communities should have a more equitable share of contiguous fish stocks under the 2002 review of the CFP. Project No. 97.IR.MR.008 was undertaken by The Institute of Technology, Tralee and Aqua-Fact International Services Limited (Galway) to provide a Socio- Economic Evaluation of the impact of fisheries and aquaculture in Counties Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Cork. This report deals with sea fisheries. It covers Counties Donegal and Kerry in their entirety, County Galway excluding Galway City and the Coastal Rural and Urban Districts of County Cork. These districts of County Cork comprise the Rural Districts of Bandon, Bantry, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Kinsale, Midleton, Skibereen, Schull and Youghal No.1 and the Urban Districts of Clonakilty, Cobh, Kinsale, Midleton, Skibereen and Youghal. Galway City is included in the maps, not in the tables, figures or appendices. The study of aquaculture is published separately. The two studies share the secondary socio-economic data and complement each other.
    • Strain selection in the edible brown seaweed Alaria esculenta: Genetic fingerprinting and hybridization studies under laboratory conditions

      Kraan, S; Guiry, M D (Marine Institute, 2000)
      The genus Alaria presently includes 12 species, 11 of which are located in the cold temperate North Pacific and only one is found in the North Atlantic (Widdowson, 1971). The North Atlantic species Alaria esculenta has two northern forms, A. esculenta forma grandifolia and forma pylaii (Lüning, 1990). The study presented here will concentrate on the genetic fingerprinting of Alaria esculenta, the most common North Atlantic species, and hybridisation of members of the Laminariaceae.
    • A Study of Selected Maërl Beds in Irish Waters and their Potential for Sustainable Extraction

      De Grave, S; Fazakerley, H; Kelly, L; Guiry, M D; Ryan, M; Walshe, J (Marine Institute, 2000)
      Although maërl beds are both of economic importance and conservation interest, data on the distribution of beds and their associated communities are lacking in Irish waters. This report describes the spatial distribution and volume of the maërl resource (Lithothamnion corallioides, Phymatolithon calcareum) along the west coast of Ireland from Donegal to Cork. Taking an average thickness of 2m (range: 0.1 – 3m) the current study estimates that the total national exploitable maërl bearing resource is of the order of 3 x 10^6 metres cubed. The Report outlines guidelines for the exploitation of this natural resource, which because of its extremely low growth rate, cannot be considered a renewable resource in the strictest sense.
    • A Survey of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Shannon Estuary

      Rogan, E; Ingram, S; Holmes, B; O'Flanagan, C (Marine Institute, 2000)
      The bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus is a ubiquitous species found throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The bottlenose dolphin population that occurs in the Shannon is one of only six known resident European populations. Since 1994, a small dolphin watching industry has been operating in the estuary, with plans for expansion. The objectives of this were to a) assess the degree of residency of bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon; b) estimate the population size and assess the production of calves; c) examine the social structure of the population; d) study habitat use and e) examine the effects of boats on dolphin behaviour. Boat-based surveys and photo-identification techniques were used to derive a population estimate and to examine distribution and movements of individually identifiable dolphins over a two-year period. Land-based scan samples were used to examine behavioural activity and interactions of dolphins with all categories of boat traffic. Trips on dolphin watching boats examined whether these boats were interacting with the same individual dolphins on a trip, daily or weekly basis. Dolphins were recorded in all months of the year but with a seasonal peak between May and September. Many of the identifiable dolphins were resighted throughout the study indicating a high degree of residency. Using photo-identification and mark-recapture analyses, the population estimate for the Shannon is 113 dolphins (CV 0.14, 95% C.I. 94 - 161). The presence of neonatal calves only from July – September indicates that there is a marked breeding season for this population and that the area is important as a nursery area. Group sizes ranged from singletons to groups of 32 animals and while dolphins were seen throughout the study area, groups were frequently encountered in the narrow water at Kilcredaun and in the mouth of the estuary. A second area of concentrated sightings was identified further up-river around Moneypoint and Tarbert/Killimer. This group comprised a smaller number of individuals, and the re-encounter rate of these individuals in the same area suggests a degree of habitat partitioning. These dolphins may be more vulnerable to dolphin watching activities than the more diffuse numbers in the outer estuary. The influence of tidal cycle was recorded at Kilcredaun and at Killimer/Tarbert with a distinct peak in sightings in the four-hour period before low tide. The frequency distribution of association indices shows that there are few "strong" associations between individuals and supports the notion of a fluid and gregarious social structure. Dolphin watching boats were involved in 61.8% of all interactions with dolphin groups, higher than any other category of boat. At present, two operators make approximately 200 dolphin watching trips annually, carrying a total of 2,400 passengers per year. The operators are highly successful in locating dolphins (97%) and the tour boats rarely come into contact with each other on the water and generally search in different areas and watch different groups. The potential for land-based dolphin watching was examined and possible sites identified. The information from this study provides a basis from which sound conservation management strategies can be developed, in order to properly conserve the species and its habitat, to develop a sustainable dolphin watching industry and to develop/monitor other coastal zone industries such as oil and gas exploration and shipping development within the Shannon.