Preliminary Survey Results Launch (Presentations)

Wed. 23rd November 2016; 12 noon –2 pm (Coffee 11.30 – Foyer of the Museum Building)

Trinity College Dublin – Museum Building, Room M4.

A group of Coastwatchers from across Ireland  North and South came together in Trinity College Dublin to examine preliminary Autumn 2016 survey result findings, draft conclusions and recommendations which would inform our 2017 work.

The agenda was set in three parts

An informal gathering in the Museum building front hall for surveyors and coordinators to meet.  This lively session included a ‘pass the parcel’ of micro litter pellets gathered by Paddy Houlihan on East Waterford shores, with guesses as to the origin and use of black pellets as shown in this photo by Dave from Lough Your Lough.  Since then, one participant – Patrick Veale of TCD – has come back with tentative origin as recycled plastic. (see here (Photo below by Dave and Olivia – Love Your Lough)



After a hearty welcome by Prof Brian Broderick, Head of Dept of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Trinity College Dublin, session 1 was introduced by Karin Dubsky who set out the aims:

  1. Give a summary of the Coastwatch autumn 2016 survey results and link to previous years.
  2. Provide snap shot local experiences which enrich the overview and allow those who did not do the Coastwatch survey to become familiar with it.
  3. Celebrate citizen science effort, the preliminary results and request feedback from surveyors.
  4. Outline and if possible agree some recommendations to help better implement and enforce EU and government legislation, especially in two areas: Marine litter and Biodiversity.


Some of the key findings of the Coastwatch citizen science work of autumn 2016 were summarised by Karin Dubsky international Coastwatch coordinator TCD and Angel Duarte, Technical Coordinator Coastwatch – see executive summary. Karin noted that seaweeds and sea grasses would be part of a separate Coastwatch seaweed policy launch and some survey sections will be left as core part of the final result launch in January.

Hold the date: Full Results launch and seminar will be hosted by Dublin City Council in their Wood Quay venue on Jan 19th or 23rd 2017 and accompanied by a one week exhibition which is to include the only 1000 photos surveyors submitted as evidence and illustration in this last survey. 

Bernie Connolly – Tyres in the Tide

Dr. David Mccormick – Illegal Dumping in Tralee Bay

Paddy Houlihan – Survey Feedback

Niamh Ni Cholmain – Native Oysters in Dublin

Roselyn Shaw – Fin whale stranding case and follow up. 

Dion Deacon – Honeycomb reef  in the Waterford estuary (VIDEO)

12.20 Litter and Waste on the shore, in harbours and in birds 

Chair Rory Keatinge, Coastwatch regional Coordinator Dun Laoghaire

  • 2016 litter section results, with some comparisons to previous years. Angel Duarte, International Technical Coastwatch Coordinator
  • A tyres case studyBernie Connolly, Cork Coordinator
  • Tipping and dumping. Dr David Mc Cormick, Tralee Wetland Centre & Kerry CW Coord. 
  • Micro plastics: ‘Plastic beads, fibres and pellets. Karin Dubsky international Coastwatch coordinatorand Paddy Houlihan, surveyor East Waterford.
  • Micro plastics in shellfish, sediments and nephrops, Dr Kevin Lynch Galway city coordinator, with research by Joanne Casserly, Fatimatuj Zohara Sonny, Jake Martin,Audrey Morley, Amy Lusher, Richard C. Thompson, Kevin Lynch

12.50   Discussion and recommendations 

13.00   Coastal Nature(flash presentations with immediate questions answered)

Chair Dr Fran Igoe, Regional coordinator LAWCO 

  • Overview of 2016 results- an unusual year for animal records-: Karin Dubsky 
  • Jellyfish at Valentia island– Diane Orr, surveyor 
  • Honeycomb reef  in the Waterford estuary- Dion Deacon, Meanscoil Gharman
  • Honeycomb  reef at Kilfaressy over time – Paddy Houlihan, East Waterford surveyor
  • Native Oysters in Dublin. Niamh Ni Cholmain, Dublin City Co  Biodiversity  Facilitator 
  • Fin whale stranding case and follow up. Roselyn Shaw, Wicklow CW coordinator

As time ran out, discussion and Recommendations were discussed over a Buttery lunch with participants. 

We wish to thank all speakers and chairs, the Water Section of the Department of Housing for grant support  which covered printing, travel and refreshments, Trinity College Dublin for the room and equipment and those speakers who  donated their travel as project co funding.


Karin Dubsky Dec 2nd 2016


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.