Wednesday, December 14, 2005



Ireland's impressive marine surveying achievements of the past few years are today being showcased at the Annual Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS) conference in Cork. Presenters from both the public and private sectors will demonstrate the progress of the world's largest marine survey. The massive survey covers the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone and is being carried out by the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) in co-operation with the Marine Institute.


After six survey years of survey work an area the size of Germany and Austria combined has been mapped offshore Ireland. According to Dr. Peadar McArdle, Director, GSI, "the conference will summarise the very successful first phase of the survey whilst we look forward to adding value to the data over the next number of years.


The conference will hear a range of presentations detailing scientific accomplishments of various projects supported by INSS data and important industry applications arising from them. Presentations will demonstrate how geoscience contributes to subjects as diverse as offshore windfarm site selection, marine aggregate resources, hydrocarbon seeps, cetacean surveys, habitat mapping and ocean modelling.


The conference will also see a significant announcement of scientific co-operation between Ireland and Canada. A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between GSI, on behalf of the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, and the Canadian Marine Acoustic Remote Sensing (C-MARS) facility at the University of Victoria. Speaking yesterday, Dr. McArdle stressed "this international cooperation represents a strategic opportunity to build trans-Atlantic bridges between both countries. It underpins the whole area of seabed mapping but with particular emphasis on seafloor sediment characterisation.


He pointed out that this research field has important applications in areas such as geohazard identification, shallow gas mapping, cable route selections, gas hydrates and fisheries. He explained "both GSI and C-MARS recognise that there exists a need for the application of acoustic seabed classification in oceanic environments. The application of this technology will lead directly to lasting economic benefits for the people of Canada and Ireland. This joint effort arises from the INSS, which reflects the Government's commitment to the geosciences sector."