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Evidence of micro plastics in the Irish marine environment

Presentation given at Coastwatch’s preliminary results launch on the 23rd of November regarding micro plastics in the Irish marine environment. Our thanks to all of those who participated today.

Evidence of micro plastics in the Irish marine environment

Joanne Casserly(1,2) Sonny Fatimatuj Zohara (1), Jake Martin(1), Audrey Morley(1), Amy Lusher(1,3) Richard C. Thompson(4), Kevin Lynch (1)

1) School of Geography and Archaeology, National University of Ireland, Galway

2) Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Co. Galway, Ireland

3) Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Protection

4) School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University, UK

Coastwatch Survey extended to Oct 22 in Ireland.

Surveyors please note – we have extended the survey time by one week to Oct 22nd with all data input by Monday 24th Oct. This way we will take in the lowest spring tide is expected Oct 18th and days around it. This new deadline is fixed to achieve a record time turnaround of result analyses. First results can then be presented in third week of November –Thursday Nov 24th (tbc)

Request and enticement:
To all those who have already surveyed – do you think you can get out again ? Check on our Coastwatch map if there is coast of interest which you might reach in these very low tides. We are sure to surpass last year’s coverage in several counties, but need extra support in others.
To anyone who booked but didn’t return data yet. Please don’t forget to input your results on line, or as fall back post them to us. If you booked but now realise you can’t get out, please let us know so we unblock the booked area.
If you need extra survey form hard copies or test kits please email as soon as possible to have them posted out.
We will also try to come out and support any last group training and survey planning of larger areas. Please contact your regional coordinator – see list– or Karin at 086 8111 684 or mail us
The micro litter app is being used by more and more surveyors. Great! We will give update in next news round. Just as reminder if you would like to download it here are the instructions . That is for use during your survey or on its own on the shore. It takes about 5 min first time. Once you have downloaded it, it’s there with you to report things like a spill of hard (raw) plastic pellets for example reported by Paddy Houlihan.


The Spirit of Oysterhaven sail vessel takes on Coastwatch materials and Citizen Science activities.

Start of a long Journey: On Wednesday 28th Sept. international coordinator Karin Dubsky, Cork regional coordinator Bernie Connolly and a group of surveyors will meet Oliver Hart and crew on the Spirit of Oysterhaven sailing boat at 10 am. The morning programme includes a Coastwatch survey of the shore as training session, material hand over to the sailing vessel and a good bye. In Portugal the Spirit will be welcomed by GEOTA the Portuguese Coastwatch partners who work with schools and groups right down the Portuguese coast.

On 16 November 1994 the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) came into force, which established a new legal framework for the right of the sea. Two countries with largest sea to land ratio – Portugal and Ireland – are planning a special collaboration in anticipation of the event this year.

The sail training vessel ‘Spirit of Oysterhaven’ which has done citizen science initiatives with Coastwatch is taking materials on board this Wednesday before sailing south with the swallows from Kinsale in Ireland to Lisbon in Portugal, then down along the Algarve coast to Faro. In early November she sets sail again bound for the Portuguese island of Madeira and on south to reach the Selvagens Islands  around Nov 16th the UNCLOS signing day.  Jacques-Yves Cousteau once said he found the cleanest waters in the world around these islands which are still only inhabited by 2 wardens.

That same day which is Portuguese ‘Day of the Sea’  GEOTA is hosting an international Coastwatch coordinator meeting in Lisbon and hope to make contact via the boat’s ‘ Yellow Brick’  satellite tracker while she is at anchor off the remote island.

The boat owner Oliver Hart said: This presents a wonderful opportunity to combine a great sailing adventure with some practical citizen science, helping to draw attention to the wealth of marine resources that flourish around our coast and their vulnerability to litter and pollution.  With marine biologists among the crew they will be carrying out some scientific work on route including Coastwatch marine litter and ‘eyeonwater’ research to track water transparency, litter and micro litter as they progress south. Along the shores, the annual Coastwatch survey is in full swing in Ireland and will just be starting in Portugal.