Press release, Thursday 11th October, 2012

Minister O’Dowd commends marine research partnership between state entities

Minister commissions an Cosantóir Bradán in her new role as a seabed survey vessel at INFOMAR’s 2012 annual conference.

At a leading marine research conference in Cork today, Minister for Natural Resources, Fergus O’Dowd, will re-launch the Inland Fisheries Ireland vessel, the Cosantóir Bradán, in her new role as a marine survey vessel. The Cosantóir Bradán will now be employed as part of INFOMAR, the national marine mapping programme, being conducted by the Geological Survey and Marine Institute and funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

The INFOMAR Annual Conference “Enabling our Ocean Management” takes place at University College Cork (UCC) on Thursday and Friday October 11-12th. In addition to the vessel commissioning, the two day seminar includes a range of talks across areas such as ocean energy, hydrography and survey operations, aquaculture and fisheries, applied research, environment and heritage.  A full programme of talks is available at www.infomar.ie.

According to the Minister, “I am particularly pleased to be able to attend the INFOMAR 2012 seminar to carry out the re-launch of the Cosantóir Bradán, which showcases the re-use and resultant cost saving made through the re-assignment of a state asset, in line with the changing requirements in areas where the department has responsibility. The Cosantóir Bradán, will now become part of providing the baseline mapping infrastructure in Irish nearshore waters, upon which future fisheries and government marine policy decisions will rely.”

Ciaran Byrne, CEO of IFI pointed out, “The Cosantóir Bradán is now available for redeployment due to the changing requirements for the protections of our inshore salmon fisheries. As a result of the cessation of drift net fishing at sea operations have switched to the use of faster inshore vessels which are more focused towards policing the fishery. We are delighted to be able to facilitate the INFOMAR mapping programme, particularly as recipients and users of the updated maps being produced”

The INFOMAR Conference marks the end of a busy survey season for the INFOMAR programme with survey data acquired from all four of Ireland’s coastlines including; Dundalk Bay, Co. Louth (with the InterReg IVA INIS HYDRO Project), Bunmahon, Co. Waterford, Inish Bofin and Inish Turk, Co. Galway (with BIM) and Burtonport, Co. Donegal, (with Underwater Archaeology Unit at DoEHLG) and offshore, mapping with the Marine Institute’s Celtic Voyager in the Celtic Sea  as well as completing the Priority Irish Sea area.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

INFOMAR Seminar detail

The first day of talks begins with the INFOMAR programme highlights for 2012 specifically data acquisition, data management, data integration and interpretation, in addition to value added applications. The Ocean Energy session will see a focus on marine renewable energy with talks from the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster, UCC, in addition to site selection examples from offshore Mayo, Clare and Galway. Irish company RealSim, specialising in integrating high resolution survey data with the simulation power of games engine technology, will present two simulated marine environments, one for a new harbour development, and another for a conceptual off-shore wind turbine site.  Each shows different applications of game engine based physics to aid the planning and development process in marine environments.  Presentations under the ‘Environmental and Habitat Mapping’ theme will highlight the EU’s Green Paper “from seabed mapping to ocean forecasting”, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the UK marine conservation zone and an overview of INFOMAR data being used in an international context. Under “Aquaculture and Fisheries” various topics will be presented including a representative from an Bord Iascaigh Mhara who will discuss deep sea fish farming, the use of INFOMAR data for modelling and site selection will be presented along with a presentation from a member of the Norwegian’s seabed mapping and environmental programme – MAREANO. The final talk of the day will showcase INFOMAR’s latest survey vessel, the Cosantóir Bradán.

New addition to INFOMAR vessel fleet

The addition of a new inshore survey vessel, the Cosantóir Bradán will be highlighted at the Conference. Previously the Cosantóir Bradán had been used by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) as a salmon protection vessel. She is a shallow draught 17m monohull fibreglass vessel with aluminium topsides, built in Cork by Aquastar, and normally operated by a crew of four. The vessel has been transferred to the INFOMAR programme under a Memorandum of Understanding with IFI. This vessel was refurbished in 2012 by the team at the Geological Survey of Ireland for use as a seabed survey vessel and is equipped with a RESON 7101 multibeam echosounder system. The conversion to a survey vessel was approved by the Maritime Safety Office at the Department of Transport as of the 1st of May 2012. Vessel tours of the Cosantóir Bradán and RV Keary will take place in Cork on Friday afternoon, October 12th.
For more information on the INFOMAR Annual Conference see www.infomar.ie

INFOMAR Project

The INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s MARine Resource) programme is a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute and is the successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS). INFOMAR project will produce integrated mapping products covering the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed. The surveys are carried using a range of platforms, including the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager, inshore launches and Airborne LIDAR. The programme uses ship-mounted acoustic multibeam sonar and geophysical technology to provide vital information on water depth for safe shipping, as well as analyse the properties of the seabed for information that can guide fishing, ocean renewable development, environmental protection, and marine archaeology. See www.infomar.ie and www.gsi.ie
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), is the state agency responsible for the protection, management and conservation of Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources. IFI was formed on July 1, 2010 following the amalgamation of the Central Fisheries Board and the seven former Regional Fisheries Boards into a single agency. Ireland has over 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams and 128,000 hectares of lakes which fall under the jurisdiction of IFI, in addition to 7,500km of coastline for which IFI have responsibility in the context of tourism angling.
. http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/

RV Celtic Voyager

The Celtic Voyager is a 31.4m multi-purpose research vessel. The vessel is based in Galway, which is ideally located as the gateway to the Atlantic and geographically close to the main working areas. The vessel has wet, dry and chemical laboratories, which are permanently fitted with standard scientific equipment and can accommodate 6 - 8 scientists with a maximum endurance of 14 days. The vessel is manned by a very experienced crew who are highly skilled with the handling and deployment of scientific equipment.  The Celtic Voyager facilitates the collection of fisheries, geophysical, oceanographic and environmental data and provides practical training for the next generation of marine scientists. This research is of crucial national importance, to ensure the development of Ireland's vast natural resource in a sustainable manner.