Thursday, 15 May 2008

Loss of Biodiversity Along the North Coast Shoreline

I was given a copy of some remarks by Professor Amyan McFadyen, Emeritus Professor Biology at the University of Ulster, Coleraine on the state of our coastline:

I have been a regular observer of the seashore fauna and flora for the last 37 years.

When I first came to the area the seashore was rich in most groups of invertebrate animals, especially Molluscs, such as Nudibranchs Gasteropods and Aplysioids, Echinoderms including Ophiuroids Echinoids and Asteroids and a wide variety of brown and red Algae with very limited amounts of green species.

Today few of these invertebrates can be found at all and there is a great predominence of green algae, generally regarded as indicators of excessive nutrients especially nitrates and phosphates.

Today if one lifts a stone in the rocky intertidal region anywhere from Portstewart to Ballintoy the likelihood is that one will encounter black mud and anoxic conditions inimical to any form of life requiring Oxygen

Over the years I have attempted to draw attention to the situation both with the National Trust, in connection with their "Enterprise Neptune" scheme and also the D.O.E. On one occasion I was quoted water analysis readings taken many miles offshore, which were totally irrelevant.

I believe that the combined nutrient load derived both from sewage and from farming runoff has caused severe eutrophication of the intertidal waters which is not surprising considering that organic wastes from both urban and farming sources have greatly, increased over the period under consideration.

Contributions on this theme can be sent to the NALIL blog address in the right panel.

Discharge at Portcoon

Discharge at Runkerry

Discharge at Portballintrae