INFOMAR is concentrating on creating a range of integrated mapping products of the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed in Ireland's near-shore area.
What will INFOMAR achieve?
The INFOMAR programme aims to deliver a diverse and ambitious range of products. These include:
The INFOMAR programme will complete the mapping of the Irish Designated Seabed Area started by the INSS. This will be achieved in two phases – initially focusing on 26 bays and 3 priority areas, and then moving on to complete the remaining areas.
This mapping activity will lead to the creation of a number of mapping products:
- bathymetric maps
- seabed geology/ classification maps
- habitat maps
Standards & Best Practice
In addition to these maps, the INFOMAR programme will also produce a suite of best-practice standards. These standards will can be used to support future Irish bids for the performance of similar mapping exercises worldwide and will be published by relevant statutory licensing authorities in the marine area for national use.
The INSS database will be expanded to included additional baseline data to underpin the delivery of a range of requirements including management plans for inshore fishing, aquaculture, coastal protection and engineering works, environmental impact assessments related to licensing activity, Water Framework Directive requirements and to support evolving needs in the coastal zone management area.
Integrated Information Products
The INFOMAR programme will work to ensure that data from both the INSS and INFOMAR is easily available and integrated with other relevant national data sets in order to promote innovation and the development of value add products and decision support systems.
Where will INFOMAR survey?
Initially INFOMAR will focus on 26 bays and 3 priority areas in its first 10 years of operation. During this period the EU designated Biologically Sensitive area will also be surveyed on an opportunistic basis, e.g. where use of vessels such as the R.V. Celtic Explorer can be used to best effect by taking part of this area while also working on a priority area.
Surveying for 2007 began in April, concentrating on the biologically sensitive area off the South West coast of Ireland. In addition to this it is envisaged that Galway Bay, Bantry Bay, Dunmanus Bay and Waterford Harbour will also be surveyed in 2007. Most of the work for 2007 will be completed using the research vessels, Celtic Explorer and Celtic Voyager, using acoustic multibeam technology, single beam echo-sounders and sub bottom profilers. Inshore launches will be used to carry out acoustic surveying and sampling in shallower areas and Airborne LiDAR will be used to survey areas less than 10m in depth and particularly in areas where survey activities on launches are either hazardous or impractical.
Currently the plans for 2008 include Dublin Bay, Carlingford Lough, Donegal Bay and Sligo Bay. In addition to this some LiDAR work will be done on both Mulroy Bay and Killary Bay.