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Cork and Waterford Harbours have problems

That the waters of Cork Harbour, Wexford Harbour and the estuaries of the rivers Suir, Slaney and Nore, are not in good condition, is very disappointing. The Suir and associated rivers join to create one of the largest estuarine systems in Ireland. The Environmental Protection Agency report issued this weekend points to coastal and estuary areas on the South/East and South coastlines as bad areas, where water quality has declined by up to 16 per cent. This impacts marine biodiversity and ecological values in those areas. The decline in water quality of rivers and lakes is relatively small, from one to three per cent, but only half are considered in “satisfactory condition.”

The scale of the declines in the estuaries and coastal waters is “alarming” according to EPA Director, Dr.Eimear Cotter. Agriculture, land drainage and dredging, forestry activities and discharges from urban wastewater are blamed. Water is a life-sustaining force, essential for the survival of all living organisms, humans included, on and in the oceans.

CAPE FERRY DEVELOPMENTS

Cape Clear Ferries is upgrading its West Cork Fleet and working with the island Co-op to develop maritime tourism. Having sold two of its vessels – the fast Ferry Dún na Séad II and the Dún Aengus, the company is buying the Spirit of Doolin from O’Brien’s Ferry Company in Clare. This will replace the previous fast ferry, while the Dún Aengus is being replaced by another purchase, the Carraig Mhór

KEEP ALIENS OUT

The GloFouling Partnerships, led by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in collaboration with the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), World Sailing and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has published a new Biofouling Management for Recreational Boating Report which is aimed to stop the spread of invasive alien species which can adhere to hulls and other areas of recreational craft, to windsurfing equipment and even angling gear. “Invasive alien species are one of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss and their management especially in marine environments is incredibly challenging. The most cost effective away of addressing their impacts is to prevent their spread to new areas,” says the IMO. The report was launched this week at IMO Headquarters in London at a forum and exhibition on Biofouling Prevention and Management for Maritime Industries. It has guidance and posters for best practice to prevent the spread of invasive species and can be downloaded at: https://www.glofouling.imo.org/publications-menu

435 MILLION-YEAR-OLD SHARK

Researchers in China have uncovered the remains of a 439 million-year-old shark-like fish with unusual features that “set it apart from any known vertebrate,” or animal with a backbone. The bizarre creature, covered in spines and “bony armor,” is the oldest jawed vertebrate ever discovered. It was found Scientists discovered the remains of the newly identified, extinct species at a renowned fossil site in Guizhou Province, Southern China. They collected thousands of fossilised skeletal fragments, scales and teeth to recreate what the ancient fish might have looked like. Their findings have been published online in the journal Nature .

‘GHOST’ FISHING

Fishing gear lost overboard goes on catching fish that are no use to anyone.
It’s known as “ghost” fishing and is a serious problem. More than 13 billion hooks and 16 million kilometres of fishing line are lost from vessels each year, according to a report issued by marine researchers at the University of Tasmania. Analysing international fisheries data, they identified five major types of fishing gear involved, including bottom trawl nets and long lines which are composed of hooks. Seven countries around the world that fish intensely with these types of gear were identified. – Iceland, USA, New Zealand. Peru, Morocco, Indonesia, Belize and 451 fishers from those countries interviewed about annual gear usage and losses. Adding ‘global fishing effort data, the total losses were estimated. The report is available on the Science Advances webpage

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