Monitoring Northern Ireland's marine environment

DAERA Marine and Fisheries Division works to protect the quality of Northern Ireland's coastal waters and to ensure there is no damage to our fragile marine ecosystems, so that the species and habitats in our oceans and around our shores are protected and can continue to provide us with valuable resources.

What is monitored?

Monitoring teams carry out various surveys and monitoring regimes around our coasts, to gather information about the quality of our marine environment and to ensure that good water quality is maintained, in order to protect both marine ecosystems and human health.

Working both within in-house teams and with other organisations, DAERA Marine and Fisheries Division survey, monitor and assess the marine and coastal environment of Northern Ireland with the aim of ensuring that:

  • habitats, species and biodiversity are conserved
  • ecological condition is protected
  • human-induced eutrophication and contaminants are minimised
  • the presence and spread of non-indigenous invasive species are controlled
  • marine food webs are in a healthy state
  • seafloor integrity is maintained
  • marine and estuarine water quality is at an acceptable level, including that in areas important as bathing waters and shellfish waters

How is our coastal water monitored?

Using a combination of boatwork, diving and shoreline surveys, as well as aerial surveys, the Department obtains baseline survey data and monitoring information about water quality and the ecological condition of our coastal ecosystems, as well as about the particular interest of the species and habitats and conservation issues around our coasts, both within and outside of sites designated under nature conservation legislation.

Monitoring at appropriate frequencies allows for the detection of changes and provide scientific advice so that timely and appropriate management measures can be implemented for protection of ecosystems, biodiversity and human health.

The Marine and Fisheries Division liaise with other teams within DAERA and with other country agencies, to ensure that we have a coordinated approach to monitoring water quality and maintaining an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas.

Further information

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