This web-site aims to provide up-to-date data on coastal water quality acquired from a network of remotely moored monitoring stations that telemeter data to a base station at AFBI, Belfast.
Monitoring of the offshore and coastal seas has historically been carried out at fixed estuarine and coastal sites during periodic surveys. Although providing good spatial coverage, sampling frequency is unable to resolve temporal variability adequately. As a result, the development of remotely deployed automated in-situ instruments capable of monitoring a range of physico-chemical and environmental variables has occurred. Systems developed by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and DARD have been remotely monitoring selected coastal sites around the UK for some years.
The North of Ireland Joint Agency Monitoring Programme brings together the efforts and investments of AFBI, the Loughs Agency and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to deliver a comprehensive in-situ monitoring programme around the Northern Irish Coastline. A second generation of instruments is now deployed in sensitive coastal and estuarine sites around the north of Ireland allowing near-real-time water quality monitoring. Data provided by this project will be available rapidly and will have many practical benefits such as:
- Better quality information for pollution control, water management and policy development
- Current high resolution data available for public and scientific scrutiny and use
These moored monitoring stations are supported by a programme of spatial surveying with extra focus being put on a certain Lough or area every 5 years, on a rotating basis. This allows a full review of the water body to be undertaken putting the fixed point “sentinel” mooring station in environmental context.