The characterization of the seafloor is a fundamental first step in informing resource management, marine spatial planning, conservation, fisheries, industry and research. Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource (INFOMAR), Ireland’s national seabed mapping programme, delivers freely available, high-resolution seabed imagery derived from multibeam echosounder data in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone. The European Union established the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) Geology data portal, which provides harmonized broad-scale seabed substrate information for all European seas and confidence assessments of the information that underpins the geological interpretations. A multi-scale product has been produced using INFOMAR’s high-resolution seabed substrate information at the 1:50 000 scale. As part of the Supporting Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Celtic Seas project, the EMODnet Geology seabed substrate data portal assisted in addressing the challenges associated with the implementation of the European Union’s Marine Spatial Planning Directive. The seabed substrate data in the EMODnet Geology data portal were identified as a valuable tool for guiding the selection of sites for offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea and their subsequent characterization. This paper outlines the approach to delivering a multi-scale seabed substrate dataset for the Irish offshore and its applicability to marine spatial planning and the development of offshore energy resources.
Questions this practice may help answer:
- What are the possibilities of development of offshore energy resources in Irish seabeds?
This article is part of the "Mapping the Geology and Topography of the European Seas (EMODnet)" collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/cc/EMODnet
Aspects / Objectives:
This paper outlines the approach to delivering a multi-scale seabed substrate dataset for the Irish Sea and its applicability to marine spatial planning and the development of offshore energy resources.
The seabed substrate data in the EMODnet Geology data portal were identified as a valuable tool for guiding the selection of sites for offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea and their subsequent characterisation.
Main Outputs / Results:
The high-resolution seabed imagery derived from MBES data for the Irish EEZ that is available from INFOMAR and the harmonised broad-scale seabed substrate information from the EMODnet Geology data portal are both crucial in robustly evaluating areas of seabed for ORE development.
This report is a study which focuses on the Irish Sea and cannot be transferred to other regions, but the method used can be taken as an example for different regions.
INFOMAR is a Government of Ireland project funded through the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and jointly managed by the Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute.