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All waters near Irish shores to be under pressure from climate change by end of century - report

The new research published today is designed to help support the selection of sites to be designated as Marine Protected Areas.

WATERS NEAR IRISH shores are on track to all be under pressure from climate change come the end of this century, according to a new report.

Researchers at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK, working with Irish marine conservation organisation Fair Seas, have identified the marine areas that, with some help, could be most resilient to climate change and protect biodiversity.

The new research published today is designed to help support the selection of sites to be designated as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). 

Maps projecting the future conditions of Irish inland waters (areas of sea close to the shore) show that they are likely to all be under various types of pressure from climate change by 2100.

Overall, there are some areas of Irish waters – mostly in offshore regions – that are more resilient than others to the effects of climate change and coud host ‘sanctuaries’ for biodiversity.

Fair Seas coordinator Dr Donal Griffin said the report should “help Ireland choose the areas that will benefit biodiversity the most in the face of ever-worsening impacts of climate change”. 

The threat of climate change to Irish waters came into focus last summer when a marine heatwave hit the North Atlantic near Ireland and the UK.

“The marine heatwaves that struck Ireland and across the world last summer are a stark reminder of the effects of climate change,” Dr Griffin said.

“Rising sea temperatures may cause fish and other species typically found in Irish waters to move out of our marine area to cooler northern latitudes. Marine Protected Areas provide a huge opportunity for us to preserve our biodiversity for future generations and we need to be smart about where they are located.”

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