Seabed Survey To Be Undertaken In Shannon Estuary

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Mon Jan 05 2009

Minister Killeen said the survey would help ensure shipping lanes are safely charted. The Clare T.D. added that the survey of the Estuary, which is a Special Area of Conservation and contains one of Europe’s largest populations of dolphins, would also aid the proper development of future offshore renewable energy projects.

Covering some 125,000 square kilometres of underwater territory, the INFOMAR project is producing integrated mapping products covering the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed. In the three years since it began, the project has conducted detailed surveys along the South and West coast and in the Galway, Sligo and Donegal Bays as well as other priority areas. The next phase of the project will include the Shannon Estuary, Dingle Bay and the completion of Dublin Bay.

Commenting on upcoming projects in the National Marine Mapping Programme, Minister Killeen said, "The Government remains committed to the continuation of the most valuable resource for marine research in Ireland and beyond. This is a world class undertaking which is providing crucial information towards the development of Ireland’s 220 million acres that lie under the sea."

He added, "Earlier this year, Minister of State at the Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Seán Power launched the INFOMAR website which aims to make the vast amount of data collected available, at no cost, to as wide an audience as possible. I was very please to hear that to date, more than 200 research projects have utilised the data available which further reinforces the importance of the project."

"The decision to continue the project was taken following a full independent review of its first three years. The review, undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers, concluded that the benefits to the state of completing the project are between 4 and 6 times the cost," Minister Killeen concluded.

INFOMAR follows on from the Irish National Seabed Survey, which mapped all of Ireland’s deeper waters between 1999-2005, and taken together they represent one of the largest such projects undertaken anywhere in the world.
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