Ireland’s largest marine citizen science project needs your help

Published by Ian Carey on

September 9th 2016

Coastwatch’s annual coastal survey is looking for volunteers.

The survey which run from between September 15th and October 15th aims to get a snapshot of what is on our coasts both the biodiversity and the rubbish.

Coastwatch are looking for 1,000 volunteers to take just 500 meters of coast each and using their special survey pack record what they find.

Volunteers are being sought from all walks of life families, environmental groups, workers on a community help day, surfers, bathers, fishermen, school kids, scouts, farmers, seaweed harvesters, and dog walkers.

If you are interested you can book your 500 meters of coast by contacting Coastwatch at When you book you will be sent out a pack which includes a list of set survey questions along with posters and guide notes to help you understand what you are seeing.  Water quality test kits are also available and the Coastwatch team will also help with training and queries.

Surveys are to be carried out at low tide and volunteers are asked to scan the area from the land to the waters edge.

The survey is a methodical audit of the shore. Past results of this citizen science project – coordinated internationally by Coastwatch in Trinity College Dublin – have contributed to official knowledge of the coast and been included in the NWW Marine Atlas and other reports and maps.

Most importantly it provides the base for follow up action on specific site issues highlighted and on wider policy. Coastwatch has proposed and pushed changes like the successful plastic bag tax in the past. The more coast is covered the stronger the data. This year the organisers are aiming for 1,000 sites.

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Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.