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Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly

Feasibility Study


Donegal County Council

June 2006
Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Document title Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly

Feasibility Study
Document short title

Status Interim Report (No. 1 of 2)

Date June 2006
Project name Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly

Project number 9R3417.A0

Author(s) Eric Huyskes, Andrew Cooper, Michelle van Duin, Luc
Lakeman, Kevin O’Connor.
Client Donegal County Council
Reference 9R3417.A0/R004/EJH/Irel2
Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Donegal County Council and Buncrana Town Council wish to investigate the feasibility of a Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly in Co.
Donegal which is to have combined functions in tourism, public education and marine research. As such the centre is to be a catalyst for integrated coastal
zone management in the future (ICZM). We (Royal Haskoning and University of Ulster) have been appointed as consultants by Donegal County Council’s
Marine Leisure Division to assess the feasibility of the proposal and to provide an implementation plan if viable.

The report before you (report 1 of 2) constitutes our assessment of feasibility. We find the educational and tourism aspects of the proposal to be feasible,
subject to careful business planning and the availability of investment. We do not consider the research proposal on ICZM to be viable as originally conceived
but, following consultation with experienced research agencies in Ireland and abroad, we consider that the centre can be a focus for the development of
marine spatial planning at a local level. We recommend that the latter be pursued by Donegal County Council and the University of Ulster before further steps
are taken to develop the centre1. We recommend that our report on implementation (report 2 of 2) be postponed until the outcomes of the current EU
consultation process on new Maritime and Tourism policies are published. Report 1 is set out in five chapters as per the table of contents. These are
summarised below.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Sets out the consultants’ terms of reference and study objectives.

Chapter 2: ICZM in Practice

Provides a review of integrated coastal zone management policy and practice in Ireland and abroad. The key lesson for Lough Swilly is the need to involve all
relevant stakeholders including commercial operators, the community and state agencies in agreeing a sustainable management plan for the Lough. This
could be led by Donegal County Council in partnership with key statutory bodies and local stakeholders.

Chapter 3: Opportunity Mapping

Identifies and maps (using geographic information techniques) key financial-economic criteria and activity that may influence the potential for a successful
centre. Presents twelve maps of scored criteria showing spatial distribution and relevance: these were then combined in a final “opportunity” map to identify
potential locations for the centre. This indicates that Buncrana has the potential to be a suitable venue for the proposed coastal centre. Buncrana’s potential
improves relative to the final map when qualitative account is taken of its proximity to Derry City. This potential needs to be fleshed out in detail through

Update note April 2009: Publication of this report (no.1) was postponed by the Marine & Water Leisure Division of Donegal County Council due to this recommendation, pending follow-up by the
Division and University of Ulster. This follow-up has resulted in the award of Interreg funding to develop a Marine Spatial Plan for Lough Swilly over the period May 2008 to October 2011 in
partnership with a wide range of academic institutions and public authorities across the EU (IMCORE Project). This development has enabled the consultants to complete an implementation plan
(report no.2) for the Swilly Centre encompassing tourism, public education and marine research as originally requested by Donegal County Council. This has been further facilitated by the publication
in June 2008 of a new Marine Strategy Framework Directive by the European Commission. Reports 1 and 2 should be read in tandem.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study
concept design and business planning. The chapter also sets out the outcome of local public consultation on the proposal, resulting in general support for the
concept and suggestions on the location, role and operation of the centre.

Chapter 4: Concept Development

Outlines discussions with a range of regional, national and international agencies with experience in marine research & management as well as in education &
visitor services. The advice received indicates that the centre is unlikely to be viable as a major ICZM research base but could function effectively as a field
station inputting to wider regional, national and international research on marine spatial planning (MSP). Examples of successful coastal education and
tourism initiatives are given, lending support to the concept of a centre on Lough Swilly serving as a focal point for local agreement on a marine spatial plan
and interpreting the natural processes of the Lough for students and tourists. It is suggested that boat tours of Lough Swilly would add to its visitor appeal and
that a gap in the market exists for a substantial vessel. There is also considerable potential to link to research agencies and similar centres in Ireland, UK, EU,
USA and Canada. Further evidence to support Buncrana as a suitable location is described but a final decision on a suitable site within the town is left to
Buncrana Town Council and planning officials. The working title “Marine Discovery Centre Lough Swilly” is suggested for use in the implementation plan in
order to appeal to research bodies, schools, tourists and prospective investors.

Charter 5: Conclusions and Recommendations

Three key conclusions are made together with recommendations in each case to take the project forward. These are as follows:


1. Centre is feasible for education and tourism and, if properly planned and financed, Await the outcome of impending European Commission maritime policy directive.
is capable of attracting substantial custom. A more innovative marine research Work with University of Ulster to develop a marine spatial planning (MSP) proposal
concept is required. that will give the centre a plausible research function. Appoint a project officer to drive
MSP and the development of the centre.
2. ICZM is at an embryonic stage in the Republic of Ireland and consequently the MSP can be viewed as a starting point for ICZM. Donegal Co. Co. and Buncrana
Swilly Centre is not suited to perform a lead role in its development. Expensive Town Council should work with the project officer to develop a Lough Swilly MSP.
laboratory facilities are not viable and would not attract sufficient users (institutions Linkages should be established with key research agencies in both parts of Ireland.
who already have such facilities). Explore the possibility of working with and learning from the ICZM process underway
in Northern Ireland. Explore funding opportunities via national / international research
partnerships. Work with Council planning officials to develop skills in MSP.
3. Due to the large number of schools in the wider hinterland surrounding Lough Focus on showcasing the Swilly’s natural Marine and Coastal Environment. Develop
Swilly, the centre can focus on educating the younger generation on marine practical and interesting interpretations of nature and the uses of the Lough. Work with
processes, threats and good management practice. It can create an interesting experienced research bodies and key government agencies in Ireland and abroad to
tourism attraction for up to c.60,000 visitors p.a. based on similar centres elsewhere in develop innovative exhibits and educational material (both physical and computer-
Ireland and abroad. There may be a market gap for a substantial tour vessel on Lough based). Begin with a relatively small facility similar to the Portrush Coastal Centre.
Swilly. Establish a tour vessel for c.50 passengers to work with the centre.

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Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


1.1 Terms of Reference 1
1.2 Objectives of Consultants 1

2.1 Review of policy 3
2.2 Review of lessons learnt for ICZM at Lough Swilly 9
2.3 Review of ICZM practice in (Northern) Ireland 10
2.4 Review of ICZM practice in selected countries 12
2.5 Recommendations on ICZM for Lough Swilly 14

3.1 Why Opportunity Mapping? 16
3.2 Methodology 16
3.3 Key Interrelationships 19
3.4 Spatial Developments 20
3.5 Natural Processes 21
3.5.1 Geomorphology 21
3.5.2 Water quality 23
3.6 Overview of Functions and Uses 26
3.6.1 Tourism 26
3.6.2 Leisure and Sports 36
3.6.3 Work 37
3.6.4 Population / Housing 40
3.6.5 Infrastructure 43
3.6.6 Education 50
3.6.7 Aquaculture 52
3.6.8 Fishing 54
3.6.9 Cultural Heritage 58

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Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study
3.6.10 Archaeology 60
3.6.11 Nature 62
3.7 Overview of Lough Swilly Stakeholders 64
3.8 Workshop 64
3.9 Opportunity and Constraints Maps 64
3.10 Conclusions on Opportunity Mapping 67

4.1 Introduction 69
4.2 Potential Research & Education Partners and Activities 69
4.3 Potential Tourism Partners and Activities 72
4.4 Experience Elsewhere 73
4.5 “Location, Location, Location” 73
4.6 ICZM Role of the Centre 75
4.6.1 Environmental Backdrop: 75
4.6.2 Information as a Catalyst for Change: 77
4.6.3 Vision for a Better Future: 77




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Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


1.1 Terms of Reference

Donegal County Council and Buncrana Town Council wish to investigate the feasibility of a coastal research & education centre at Lough Swilly in Co.

The main aims of the centre, which is to have combined functions in commerce, public education and research, are likely to be the following:
- to conduct research in support of integrated coastal zone management (ICZM);
- to be a focus for research activities for a range of research organisations in the northwest;
- to showcase research findings for public education purposes and thus raise public awareness;
- to provide a focus for tourism development.

As such the centre is to be a catalyst for integrated coastal zone management in future. Within this context it is therefore essential that the feasibility
study and anything that may follow from it is carried out in a way that is consistent with good ICZM practice.

The report that lies before you constitutes the feasibility assessment that has been carried out in the period September 2005 to June 2006. The study
was undertaken by Royal Haskoning and the University of Ulster.

Depending on the findings of the feasibility study, we have been requested to make recommendations on the development of the centre including:
- research functions;
- educational functions;
- tourism functions;
- implementation plan;
- business plan.

If the proposal is found to be feasible, our implementation proposals are to be set out in a separate report.

1.2 Objectives of Consultants

Our objectives are as follows:

1. Provide insight in what constitutes good practice in ICZM at a regional/estuary level, i.e. what lessons have been learnt so far with respect to
Lough Swilly and what is good practice in ICZM elsewhere in (Northern) Ireland or Internationally?
2. Provide a framework for ICZM (opportunity mapping) to include:

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

- Identifying criteria for the various functions that are directly relevant to the proposed Centre (e.g. tourism);
- identifying opportunities for development, for and in relation to the Centre;
- identifying social, economic and environmental costs and benefits associated with the development of the Centre;
- consulting with stakeholders.
3. Identify the best location(s) for the centre and describe the potential functions that may be associated with the centre. The draft proposals for
these should be shared with relevant stakeholders to include their input and allow for further optimisation.
4. Detail an implementation plan.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


2.1 Review of policy

Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has been defined in many ways by different authors. Two typical definitions are presented below.

“A dynamic and continuous process of administering the use, development and protection of the coastal zone and its resources towards common
objectives of national and local authorities and the aspiration of different resource user groups” (Knecht and Archer, 1993)

"The multidisciplinary process that brings all those involved in the development, management and use of the coast within the framework which
facilitates the integration of their interests and responsibilities. The aim is to achieve common objectives and to provide programmes for the protection
and sustainable management of coastal resources and environments." (Cordah, 2001)

Central to these definitions is the concept of considering often competing uses of coastal resources in a single framework to achieve optimum benefit.
The mechanisms used in attempts to achieve ICZM are varied and range from informal local partnership approaches to fully legislated and resourced
national initiatives. This section considers policy relevant to ICZM in Lough Swilly at European, Irish and County level.

EU Policy

The main driver of integrated coastal zone management at the EU level is the European Parliament and Council Recommendation on the
implementation of ICZM (COM 2002/413/EC). This Recommendation sets a context and guidance for the development of ICZM at national level in
member states. While it allows for substantial variability in the style of ICZM, recognising that varying systems of government and administration exist,
it identifies the following eight principles that should be embraced at national level.

• A long term view

• A broad holistic approach
• Adaptive management
• Working with natural processes
• Support and involvement of all relevant administrative bodies
• Use of a combination of instruments
• Participatory planning

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

• Reflecting local characteristics.

The recommendation also specifies a set of actions and associated timetable for the adoption of ICZM principles at national level. These steps include
a national stocktake of legislation, institutions and stakeholders involved in coastal management and, based on this, to develop a strategy. The
strategy is to cover the following:

• Identify the roles of administrative stakeholders and appropriate mix of instruments

• Develop policies that address marine and terrestrial waters together
• Identify measures to promote local and regional initiatives and public participation
• Identify sources of durable funding
• Identify mechanisms for co-ordinated implementation of EU legislation
• Identify systems for monitoring and disseminating information about the coastal zone
• Determine how national training and education programmes can support the principles of ICZM

The timetable associated with these actions is that national strategies should be developed and a report on implementation submitted to the European
Commission by February 2006 in advance of a review to take place in December 2006. The report is to include the following:

• Information on the national stocktake exercise

• Strategies proposed at national level for implementation of ICZM
• Summary of actions to implement the national strategy
• Evaluation of the expected impact of the strategy on the status of the coastal zone
• Evaluation of the implementation of EU legislation and policies that have an impact on coastal areas

There are several other elements of EU policy and legislation that impact substantially on the development of ICZM. Policies that are relevant include
the following:

• EU structural Funds
• Common Agricultural Policy
• Common Fisheries Policy
• Sixth Framework Environmental Action Plan
• European Spatial Development Perspective
• Trans-European Transport network Policy

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

A number of the associated policy documents specifically recommend the implementation of national strategies in these areas within the context of
ICZM. For example, a September 2002 EU Communication from the Commission to the Council and Parliament: a strategy for the sustainable
development of European Aquaculture contended that “Future aquaculture development should be based on Integrated Zone Strategies and
Management Plans which consider aquaculture in relation to all other existing and potential activities…”

There are also a number of EU directives (transposed into national legislation) that impinge upon national-level ICZM plans. These include:

• Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive

• Water Framework Directive
• Shellfish Waters Directive
• Nitrates Directive
• Bathing Water Directive
• Habitats Directive
• Birds Directive
• Environmental Impact Assessment Directive
• Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive

The Lough Swilly SPA and SAC, designated under the Birds and Habitats Directives, respectively, comprises most of the inner part of the Lough. It
extends from below Letterkenny to just north of Buncrana.

National Policy

At the National level, a now-dated report (Brady Shipman, Martin, 1997), Coastal Zone Management – A draft policy for Ireland was published as a
discussion document. That document and its recommendations appear to have been superseded by subsequent EU-level developments and
management of coastal resources remains a largely sectorally-based activity (although the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural
Resources has a geographically-based, cross-sectoral remit for the marine territory seaward of the Mean high Water Mark).

National level governance is divided sectorally usually at the land-sea interface or Mean High Water mark. The main Government departments who
have an input into the management of the coast are the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, the Department of the
Environment and Local Government, and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. Obviously other departments will also have
concerns within the area, for example, the Department of Tourism, Sports and Recreation is involved in marine leisure activities

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources has jurisdiction from the Mean High Water mark seaward. The seaward extent of its
jurisdiction depends on what is being managed, however, it is generally accepted that this is the territorial or 12-mile limit. The department has the
following core mandates (DMNR, 1998):

• development and regulation of the maritime transport sectors (ports and shipping);
• development and regulation of the fisheries and seafood sectors;
• development and regulation of the marine coastal zone for economic, leisure and tourism purposes;
• protecting and saving lives at sea;
• protecting the marine environment;
• development of Ireland's marine and natural resources research and technology development capability;
• development and regulation of the forestry sector;
• promotion of minerals and hydrocarbons exploration and development for the optimum benefit to the Irish economy, consistent with the highest
standards of safety and environmental protection.
• is the sole regulatory authority of marine aquaculture and shares responsibility for land-based and freshwater fish farming with the relevant local

The department also oversees the work of 14 State agencies, 8 Port Companies and 18 Harbour Authorities. Included in this are the Central Fisheries
Board, seven Regional Fisheries Boards, Bord Iascaigh Mhara [Irish Sea Fisheries Board], the Marine Institute and the Salmon Research Agency

Other departments with national-level responsibility for aspects of coastal management include Department of Local Government, department of
Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Department of Defence, Department of Agriculture and Food, Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism
(Cummins et al., 2004)

Aside from the implementation of national sectoral law and of European Directives, a number of important national policy documents reflect explicity or
implicitly the need for coastal development to proceed within an ICZM context. Such policies include the National Development Plan, Sustainable
Development Strategy

The then DMNR gave a commitment in its Strategy Statement 2001-2003 to developing a strategy in ICZM in cooperation with other Departments
(DMNR, 2001). The 2003-2005 strategy statement includes commitment to publication of a Coastal Zone Management Bill in 2004 and to the
preparation of a stocktaking report and strategy for ICZM in accordance with the EU Recommendation.

The Marine Institute is currently preparing a Strategic Research and Innovation Strategy 2006-2012 for among others the water-based tourism and
leisure sector.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The National Spatial Strategy for Ireland 2002-2020 is a strategy for balanced social economic and physical development across the country. It
includes a commitment to taking forward a national strategy for ICZM. “The need for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is accepted by the
government as a commitment in its Action Programme for the Millennium…”

The National Biodiversity Action Plan of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the islands (DAHGI, 2002) calls for a National ICZM strategy
that makes provision for the aims of biodiversity.


Cummins et al. (2004) note that local authorities have been slow to incorporate the concepts of ICZM into their County Development Plans and that
none has developed a separate strategy for ICZM to date. Donegal is singled out in that report as the only local authority to have a Coastal Officer.

At the regional (County Donegal) level there is a commitment to ICZM within the County Development Plan. The plan makes specific reference to
ICZM and to the specific implementation of coastal zone management plans at recreational beaches.

The Draft Co. Donegal Development Plan 1998 (Donegal County Council) deals with 3 priority areas of activity:
• Urban and Rural Planning and Development
• Provision of Economic and Social Infrastructure
• Heritage Management and Conservation.

When the 1988 Development Plan was under consideration, a key issue was the lack of development of many of the County’s natural resources, i.e.,
the potential for afforestation, aquaculture and development of peatlands. Since then, the volume and rate of activity in these areas has increased
considerably and problem issues have emerged. Developments in the aquaculture industry both finfish and shellfish was one activity which was not
considered to any great extent in 1988 (Donegal County Council, 1998). In the section on “the Marine Resource”, however, the council vows to
“support the consolidation and further development of the fishing industry (including aquaculture) through development of an "Integrated Fisheries
Infrastructure Development Programme" over a 10 year period based on a comprehensive review of all landing places in the County (Donegal County
Council, 1998).

The draft County Development Plan 2005 covers 10 topics (all of which have coastal implications) and 56 associated policies, several of which impact
on ICZM directly or indirectly.

Topics covered in the 2005 draft Development Plan are:

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

• Urban and rural Development

• Natural Resource Development
• Access and Communications
• Environmental Services and protection
• Housing
• Conservation of the Natural and Built Environment
• Employment, Manufacturing and Service Sector Infrastructure
• Tourism
• Culture and Recreation
• The Marine Resource

The plan has made significant advances in embracing the development of ICZM. For example, it contains a specific policy under its natural resource
development Topic (Policy NRD52) to “Identify appropriate strategies for Integrated Coastal Zone Management frameworks and implement these
frameworks at selected locations”. In addition, the Plan contains an intention (Policy NRD53) to “Ensure the inclusion of aquaculture as an integral
part of such ICZM frameworks”. More specifically, the draft plan also contains (Policy NRD67) a commitment to minimise impacts on Blue Flag

In terms of tourism, several of the main identified product development areas (marine leisure, walking routes, angling projects, Island development)
have a distinctly coastal focus. Policy TOU4 is also of relevance for beaches. According to this it is council policy to “seek the undertaking of beach
management projects on a number of other beaches around the county” and “to increase the number of Blue Flag Beaches in the county”.

The County Strategy (An Straiteis), prepared by the county Development Board set out a number of objectives in supporting the economic, social and
cultural development of County Donegal 2002-2012. Two of the six priority areas identified in 2005 included two that are directly relevant to ICZM:
Economic development and Economic Infrastructure to support job creation; and Environmental actions to support both conservation and how to
exploit comparative advantage in County Donegal.

A Framework for Development of Tourism and Leisure on the Marine and Inland Waters of County Donegal was published by the Marine Institute in
2001. That was followed by the establishment of the Marine and Water Leisure Programme within the County Council and the pursuit of several
initiatives in the field

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

2.2 Review of lessons learnt for ICZM at Lough Swilly

General lessons learnt

In a review of the state of play in Lough Swilly (Cooper and O’Hagan, 2002), a number of issues were identified that reflect the current lack of ICZM
implementation in the Lough. Individual, sectoral policies were being pursued without reference to other, potentially competing interests. This
situation largely reflected the lack of a national policy for ICZM and potentially conflicting national policies in specific sectors. The study concluded that
a lack of information and a lack of integrated planning was largely to blame for the conflict that existed between different user groups on the Lough.
This was leading to sub-optimal exploitation of the Lough’s resources.

Efforts on the part of some sectors, e.g. the CLAMS initiative (Co-ordinated Local Aquaculture Management Systems) to assimilate information on
other uses were not regarded as ICZM because the motivation was to advance the goals of the Aquaculture industry. Such organisation is also
perceived as a threat by less organised sectors.

Specifically, the varying degree of information regarding different sectors appeared to be problematic as different sectors could not be compared on an
equal basis in terms of their economic and social significance. A carrying capacity assessment was recommended as the basis for future development
of the lough’s resources within an ICZM Framework.

One of the key lessons learnt, is the need for involvement of all players in any Integrated Coastal management initiative. This needs to include
representatives of those government bodies (national and regional) that have responsibility for aspects of coastal management. Obviously each of
those bodies is following a particular strategy and objectives. Conflict exists when these are at odds with each other or with local opinion. The main
objective of an ICZM approach is to help identify all the beneficial uses of the Lough and its hinterland, and to examine strategies for implementation
for the most economically, socially, environmentally and culturally acceptable uses. Obviously not all of these will necessarily concur but if discussions
start from that base, with the maximum sustainable benefit being derived from the resource, then various development scenarios can be explored,
even including synergistic linkages between the sectors.

Any ICZM initiative established would thus require the involvement of all stakeholders and in particular of government departments with management

Lessons learnt that would be specific to establishing the Swilly Centre

The centre would ideally provide:

• a neutral venue for discussions on the implementation of ICZM in the Lough

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

• a base for undertaking research into carrying capacities

• a base for disseminating information on the resources and facilities
• facilities for exploitation of the Lough’s resources

One key need is that the ICZM initiative be led by a neutral or non-sectoral party in order to avoid being seen as a vehicle to pursue the interests of
one or more particular groupings.

2.3 Review of ICZM practice in (Northern) Ireland

General lessons learnt

The framework currently in place in Northern Ireland reflects the sectoral nature of coastal management and is dominated by central Government
Departments rather than Local Authorities as is the case in the rest of the UK. The problems associated with a lack of effective coastal management have
been highlighted by the recent demise of an important habitat associated with Modiolus (horse Mussel) beds within Strangford Lough. Despite a series of
National and International designations on the site, the presence of an ICZM structure (the Strangford Lough Management Advisory Committee) and a
monitoring programme to assess the Modiolus status, the habitat has been severely impacted. This situation highlighted the need for more than simply
national legislation and consultations with advisory bodies to achieve ICZM.

In the 1990’s the European Commission funded a “Demonstration Programme” on ICZM including two projects in Northern Ireland: Integrated Management of
Down Coast (Down District Council) and the “Life” Project on Irish Dunes (Co. Down and Co. Donegal). These and other projects around the EU provided the
basis for the recommendation to implement the principle of ICZM in Europe which was adopted by the EU in May 2002. Northern Ireland acted on this
recommendation and launched “An Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategy for Northern Ireland 2006 – 2026” in June 2006.

The Department of Environment is leading the delivery of the NI ICZM strategy, which because of its integrated nature impacts on most government
departments and requires their collaboration.

The strategy’s action plan includes the following:

o Identification of the roles of different organisations and ways of co-ordinating these roles;
o Identification of the mix of techniques required to implement ICZM taking into account the EU’s ICZM principles;
o Development of national, regional or local programmes to address the marine and land areas of the coastal zones;
o Identification of measures to promote public participation;
o Identification of sustainable funding sources for ICZM;
o Identification of the mechanisms required to ensure full and co-ordinated Implementation and application of community legislation and policies that
have an impact on coastal areas.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

o A monitoring system and dissemination of information to the wider public

o Appropriate national training and education requirements.

The strategy is not a statutory document and does not impose any new duties on Government Departments or public bodies. The intention is that all relevant
bodies will use their powers better in order to implement the actions listed above to which they have all agreed. The strategy is intended to form the basis for a
new approach to the management of the Northern Irish Coast.

Establishment of the Northern Ireland Coastal Marine Forum was an important step in implementation of the strategy by providing stakeholder input into
strategic policies, raising awareness of ICZM, providing expert advice, co-ordinated research and support in order to achieve the objectives of the strategy.
The forum is made up of representatives from local government, business, agriculture, community fishing and environmental bodies. It is responsible for
monitoring the government’s progress in Implementation of the NI Strategy and reporting against the targets and objectives contained therein.

ICZM has also been added to the British-Irish Council’s Environmental Sectoral Group’s work programme. An official level working group was established in
2004 with representatives from DEFRA, the devolved administrations, and the Irish Government to consider how ICZM strategies from each region could be
linked. Information is shared and exchanged at meetings in relation to the strategic approaches being taken to develop ICZM, the various projects underway
and the common themes/ issues that have been encountered especially in relation to the Irish Sea.

The group has identified the following issues as potential areas for the common focus within the developing country strategies:
o Funding for local ICZM networks/partnerships;
o The integration of ICZM into policies/programmes and planning regimes for the coastal zone;
o The need for improved public and institutional awareness of ICZM;
o The development of common indicators to assess on a consistent basis progress in moving down the ICZM “road”.

Lessons learnt specific to establishing the Swilly Centre

The recent lessons of Strangford Lough indicate that any ICZM initiative based in the centre needs to link closely with responsible government
departments and to be in a position to interact with those decision-making bodies. It could serve as an early-warning mechanism for potential
problems identified by users of the lough and would provide a ready-made grouping for participation in development of future County-level plans.
There may be scope for the proposed centre at Lough Swilly to link with ICZM initiatives in Northern Ireland along the lines identified by the British-Irish
Council’s Environmental working group above.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

2.4 Review of ICZM practice in selected countries


With roughly 20 percent of Europe’s population living in or near the coast line, coastal zones provide space for (large) urban settlements, harbours and
industrial areas, agriculture, physical infrastructure, natural and fisheries areas and last but not least intensive tourism areas. In combination with
climatic changes and corresponding sea level rise, Europe’s coastal zones are increasingly threatened. The concept of Integrated Coastal (Zone)
Management was developed from the mid 1980s in an effort to cope with less sustainable developments of large parts of Europe’s coastal zones (see
Box 2.1).

Box 2.1: European Community Demonstration programme

In 1996 the Directorate Generals Environment, Regional Development and Fisheries jointly launched the European Community Demonstration programme on
ICZM. The programme’s objective was to lead to a proposal for a European strategy for ICZM. The programme included 35 demonstration projects. In general,
major conclusions of the programme were that:
- Management of the coast lacks vision and is based on a very limited understanding of coastal processes and dynamics with scientific research and data
collection being isolated from end-users;
- ICZM is a process which should have a strategic dimension;
- There has been an inadequate involvement of the stakeholders in formulating and implementing solutions to coastal problems;
- Inappropriate and uncoordinated sectoral legislation and policy have often worked against the long-term interests of sustainable management of coastal
- Rigid bureaucratic systems and the lack of co-ordination between relevant administrative bodies have limited local creativity and adaptability;
- Local initiatives in sustainable coastal management have lacked adequate resources and political support from higher administrative levels;
- ICZM should be issue driven;
- Legal definitions of the coastal zone should be flexible enough to reflect the complex dynamic nature of the coast;
- Harmonisation between policies and regulatory systems is essential;
- Building up public support is indispensable.
The conclusions of the Demonstration programme have led to the formulation of an EC Recommendation and Strategy for ICZM which consists of a series of
concrete actions building upon existing instruments, programmes and resources. It aims to improve their use through better coordination and through ensuring
that instruments are appropriate for coastal zones. This Strategy must be treated as a flexible, evolving instrument, designed to cope with the specific needs of
different regions and conditions.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The necessity for an integrated approach to coastal zone management, however, is recognised in various other parts of the world. In particular, the
threat of sea level rise due to climate change acts as in important catalyst for new (more active) approaches to coastal zone management.

In the appendix a brief overview is provided of the implementation of ICZM in various countries around the world. A short description of the general
lessons learnt is given for the following countries: The United Kingdom, Netherlands, Romania, Norway and Australia.

General conclusions

It is evident that coastal areas often face social, economic and environmental challenges. In this context, ICZM has been recognised as a coherent
framework in which to manage coastal areas (more) effectively. There is no unique methodology or process by which ICZM can be implemented. The
implementation of ICZM will vary according to the diversity of geographic conditions and environmental problems of coastal zones as well as the
complexity of institutional set-ups. What may be required is a new mechanism to bring the different sectors to the co-ordination and negotiation tables.

With the exception of Romania no European State has formulated specific legislation with regards to ICZM. In general, existing instruments are used
to accommodate the implementation of ICZM within an individual country's national borders even to the extent of working cooperatively with
neighbouring states. Although legislation on ICZM is not required by European rules, it could facilitate implementation of ICZM.

Experience suggests that most of the ICZM initiatives are meeting significant constraints which relate to continued institutional and traditional ways of
thinking, the prevalence of a sectoral approach towards management issues, a lack of involvement of all stakeholders, and constraints with full public
participation. Various dimensions of integration need to be addressed in order for ICZM to take place successfully:

1. Intergovernmental integration, or vertical integration, which means integration between the various levels of government;
2. Intersectoral integration, or horizontal integration, meaning that land-based and marine sectors need to take their policies into account and take
corrective measures where needed;
3. Spatial integration;
4. Science – management integration, cooperation with universities;
5. International integration, implying that nations have to address transboundary issues and the impacts of climate change.

Moreover, in the knowledge that collaboration cannot be enforced, genuine cross-sector co-ordination and collaboration in ICZM can only be achieved
on the basis of:

- Willingness of stakeholders to collaborate;

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

- Capacity of the coordinating bodies to guide and steer and of the sector agencies to integrate planning and actions;
- The technical feasibility of alternative options and financial capacity to take corrective actions.

One of the key lessons learnt is that horizontal / vertical integration is both the keystone in the practice of ICZM as well as its largest challenge.
Governments need to learn that integration and collaboration (a) need to be done on a voluntary basis and (b) will create the benefits for society for
which they also bear responsibility. Forced integration has its political costs because agencies coerced into “a new ICZM regime” can be expected to
find ways out, actively undermine or even oppose integrated and co-ordinated implementation.

Although the EU has adopted a Recommendation concerning ICZM, the underpinning principles are very broad and, at best, provide only a framework.
In itself, this framework will not prevent the further degradation of coastal habitats and biodiversity. Each country has been called upon to develop a
national strategy for the implementation of ICZM and the countries are just beginning the process of stocktaking prior to the development of such

2.5 Recommendations on ICZM for Lough Swilly

ICZM Objectives

Many organisations (local and national) play a role in the management of Lough Swilly. Each has responsibility for one or more sectors, but
discussion and consultation between these bodies is limited. Most organisations strive to achieve specific sectoral goals. This institutional sector-
based arrangement is an impediment to lateral thinking and multi-resource multi-user management. Integrated Coastal Zone Management, by
definition, seeks to bridge the gaps between sectorally-based organisations.

The objectives of any ICZM initiative at Lough Swilly would ideally be identified by the participants in the initiative. However, in anticipation of this
happening the following is suggested as a list of initial objectives.

ƒ To identify opportunities for sustainable development of Lough Swilly and its resources, both natural and human;
ƒ To identify constraints upon future development (carrying capacity);
ƒ To promote sustainable development of Lough Swilly and its resources for the benefit of all stakeholders (through the agreement of a
sustainable management strategy);
ƒ To identify existing conflicts between users through a process of dialogue and consultation involving all stakeholders (including statutory
ƒ To achieve integration between objectives of statutory bodies and various commercial and non-commercial users.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The proposed education & research centre, focussing on ICZM, can aid this process by:
- providing a venue to address issues;
- carrying out research that tackles and resolves issues;
- raising awareness regarding key issues.

ICZM Structure

As a contribution to achieving ICZM for Lough Swilly and its environs, a body should be established that is representative of all interested groups and
activities (including: conservation, commercial fishing, aquaculture, agriculture, recreation, shipping, tourism, regional development etc). The group
should comprise local organisations as well as government departments. The ideal lead agency to co-ordinate the group would be Donegal County
Council. A balance would have to be drawn between creating a structure that is too large and unwieldy and one that is seen as representative of all

It is critical to the success of any such initiative that a link be established to the relevant statutory authorities at national as well as regional level.
Those organisations have two important roles: firstly they can provide information on the current legislative and policy framework and secondly they
are the bodies that have the statutory authority to effect any changes that may be identified as desirable via the ICZM body.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


3.1 Why Opportunity Mapping?

Donegal County Council and Buncrana Town Council wish to investigate the feasibility of a coastal research and education centre. Apart from
research and educational functions, the centre will potentially also have a tourism function.

In order to decide on the most suitable location for such a centre, various financial-economic criteria need to be taken into account. Such criteria will
vary geographically. To optimise on these criteria, the so-called opportunity mapping approach can be used. By mapping each of the criteria the
suitability can be defined geographically for that criteria. By subsequently identifying interrelationships between the various criteria, the overall
suitability can be defined geographically, i.e. the opportunity map thus generated can indicate to what extent a certain area is suitable for establishing
the centre.

In the following sections of this chapter, the opportunity mapping approach and the results will be presented. Opportunity mapping is here used to
determine the attractiveness of the locations in Buncrana and Dunree for establishing the centre; however it could also well be used to address other
ICZM issues.

3.2 Methodology

To decide on which criteria are relevant, initially an overview is given of potentially relevant criteria for ICZM issues. The criteria used in this study have
been divided into the following three groups:

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Groups Criteria
1. Spatial Development Spatial Developments
2. Natural Processes Geomorphology
Water quality
3. Functions and Uses Tourism
Leisure and sports
Population / housing
Cultural Heritage

Table 3.1: Groups and criteria used in opportunity mapping

Within this feasibility study, the criteria that influence the suitability of a location for the Research & Education Centre are of particular interest. These
criteria would for example be of a financial-economic nature, thus allowing us to determine the feasibility of a Research & Education Centre.

Based on the selected criteria, subsequent steps can be undertaken. Some criteria can be displayed in an objective way, such as the distance to the
existing National Primary roads. Other criteria are less suitable for objective display. The selection and assessment of criteria is virtually always a
subjective process and can have a negative influence on the credibility of the results.

In order to maintain credibility it is important to keep the method of working transparent and the subjective steps approved by a wide variety of
interested parties / stakeholders. In this project we have maintained regular contact with the client and have carried out a workshop with the
stakeholders. It is also important to examine “function and use” criteria in a wide area beyond Lough Swilly to ensure that the proposed centre will be
competitive, e.g. in competing with other visitor attractions in Donegal and beyond.

In Figure 3-1, the methodology used is outlined and clearly shows which elements are objective and which are subjective.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Process step subjective objective

Define criteria
• Infrastructure (= accessibility)
1 • Tourism Define relevant criteria.
• etc.

Spatial display within area of

2 Determine weighing factors
Use of weighting to give
balanced comparison of criteria.

Feasibility map on the basis of

selected criteria.

Zoom in on and describe
possible locations.

4 2
Determine priority ranking Priority ranking possible

Figure 3-1: Outlined methodology

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The proposed methodology makes use of a Geographic Information System (GIS). A GIS is a database in which spatial information is stored. The
stored information can be compared on basis of pre-set criteria. Both the number of parameters and the type of information used can be determined by
the user. The accuracy of the end results is dependant on the quality and scale of the basic information and the problems defined by the user.

3.3 Key Interrelationships

Before making any opportunity map it is crucial to come to a clear understanding of the key interrelationships between Integrated Coastal Zone
Management (ICZM) for County Donegal in general and the Research & Education Centre in particular.

In the following figure, Figure 3-2, the interrelationship between ICZM general and the Research & Education Centre have been visualised. The blue
(darker) circle represents ICZM general and shows all the functions and uses that have to be taken into account to arrive at an “ICZM-proof” result.
The yellow (lighter) circle represents the functions and uses that are of importance for the establishment of the Centre as a visitor attraction and
focuses on the economic opportunities: Work, Population, Infrastructure, Tourism, Education and to a lesser extent Leisure & Sport are the main
influences in choosing a location for the Centre.

Cultural Heritage / Archaeology, Water Quality,

Geomorphology, Fishing / Aquaculture and Nature have
limited influence on location of the centre and therefore
will only briefly (qualitatively) be taken into consideration,
i.e. these criteria are relatively consistent throughout Co.
Donegal and are not critical to choosing the best location.

Figure 3-2: Interrelationship ICZM and Centre

The meaning, extent and significance of the

interrelationship will become more evident during the
opportunity mapping process (see sections 3.5 and 3.6

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.4 Spatial Developments

When deciding on a location for the Research & Education Centre, it is essential that foreseeable developments and strategies are taken into account.
A review of the County Donegal Draft Development Plan 2005, Donegal County Strategy 2002 – 2012 and the National Spatial Strategy 2002 – 2022
was undertaken. The following shows the relevant factors for the establishment of the Centre:

- 90% of County Donegal’s land border is with Northern Ireland. As such the Draft Development Plan 2005 acknowledges that Northern Ireland and
Derry City in particular have a significant impact on the economic prospects of Donegal.
- The Draft Development Plan 2005 addresses infrastructural constraints, proposing the strengthening of the links within the County as well as with
Derry, Sligo, Belfast and Dublin.
- The Draft Development Plan 2005 addresses the decline of traditional industries, with an emphasis on rural diversification, eco-tourism and
promoting start-up businesses.
- Letterkenny / Derry are designated as “linked” gateways and as such will promote economic and social developments in that region.
- The Draft Development Plan 2005 sees opportunities for strengthening Buncrana at a sub-gateway level thus contributing to the critical mass of
the gateway whilst retaining and developing the town’s existing functionality.

- A strategic corridor has been defined linking Letterkenny with Derry, however this includes the road to Buncrana (R238).
- Much of the route to Sligo (e.g. N13 and N15) as well as to Derry (N13) is currently being upgraded and will provide significantly improved access
in future to towns such as Buncrana.
- Improvements to transport networks to and from Donegal (Carrickfinn) Airport will be pursued.
- On a national scale various major improvements are underway involving the N2 (Dublin – Letterkenny / Derry), N3 (Dublin – Ballyshannon) and
N4 (Dublin – Sligo).
- Improvements will be made regarding networks supporting ferry ports, including Buncrana and Greencastle.

- Tourism is an important contributor to the Donegal economy and in recent years a more pro-active approach to product development and
marketing has been adopted.
- Various initiatives are underway and will be carried out to develop the tourism potential, with marine tourism as one of the key elements.

In overall terms, improved accessibility, the potential of the Letterkenny-Derry gateway, and the adoption of a more strategic approach to marine
tourism will provide opportunities for Lough Swilly to develop its potential. Given Buncrana’s strategic location on the Lough and within the gateway
area, it stands to benefit significantly from investment in infrastructure and tourism.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.5 Natural Processes

3.5.1 Geomorphology

Lough Swilly is a long sea lough covering an area of 158km2. It contains up to 170m of Quaternary and recent sediment in a bedrock valley cut by ice
during successive Quaternary glaciations (Evans, 1973). The bathymetry decreases gradually from the mouth (30m) towards the head of the estuary
where it is largely intertidal (Cooper & O’ Hagan, 2002). At low tide, extensive sand and mud flats are exposed, especially at the mouths of the Swilly
and Lennan rivers. Mudflats are particularly extensive in the upper reaches and intertidal areas become more sandy towards the mouth of the lough.

A survey carried out by the British Geological Survey (BGS) showed that the lough bed is composed of gravelly sand at the mouth (between Dunaff
Head and Fanad Head), clean sand between the mouth and just north of Buncrana and muddy sand further upstream (BGS, 1986). The coastline is
characterised by rocky shores and a number of sandy and gravel beaches. These include Kinnegar Strand, Stocker Strand (Portsalon), Drumnacraig
Strand, Lehan Bay, Crummie’s Bay, Stragill, The White Strand and Lisfannon.

Most of the beaches comprise a fixed volume of sand and are contained within small bays and enclosed by rock outcrop. These appear to undergo
seasonal fluctuations in response to changing wave conditions. The beaches at Buncrana-Fahan, in contrast, appear to be part of a longshore drift
system that transports sand south towards Fahan Creek. This is likely to lead to long term erosion in the north and accretion in the south.

There has been some reclamation of intertidal areas in the upper reaches of the Lough and the lake behind Inch Island was formed when causeways
were constructed linking Inch Island to the mainland. These have reduced the tidal prism in the creek and likely contributed to sediment readjustment
at the mouth of Fahan Creek. Several stretches of the coast have been armoured to prevent erosion, notably at the Lisfannon Golf Course and on
White Strand, Buncrana. Between Rathmullan and Ramelton, an area of formerly reclaimed land is now being inundated and reverting to salt marsh
following breaching of the earth embankments.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-3: Geomorphology

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.5.2 Water quality

Water quality within Lough Swilly has to meet the necessary standards for a range of activities, including aquaculture, bathing and fishing. In August
2001 it was reported that its water quality was downgraded in terms of its shellfish water quality. Lough Swilly is deemed to have a short retention time
for water and a high turnover rate (Bass, 2002). It has however, been downgraded in terms of its water quality from previous years.

Blue Flag status is conditional on a range of environmental and safety criteria, one of these environmental conditions is good water quality and this is
assessed in accordance with the European Directive on Bathing Water Quality. County Donegal was awarded 12 Blue Flags in 2005, establishing the
County as one of the highest ranking. The successful beaches in Lough Swilly were Portsalon and Lisfannon.

The inflowing rivers to the lough are also monitored by the EPA These include Owenerk (unpolluted),
Aghaweel (moderately polluted), Cashelnacor (unpolluted), Mill (unpolluted), Burnfoot (unpolluted), Drumbarnet Stream (seriously polluted),
Dooballagh Burn (unpolluted), Corravaddy Burn (unpolluted), Swilly (unpolluted), Lennan (unpolluted), Glenalla (slightly polluted), Drumhallagh
(unpolluted) and Glenvar (unpolluted). Bass (2002) studied the nutrient water chemistry of the Swilly and noted that the short retention time of water
within the lough rendered nutrient accumulation non- problematic.

A range of organisations carry out water quality monitoring within the lough (Table 3.2).

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Table 3.2: Water quality monitoring currently performed in Lough Swilly

Organisation Programme No. Sampling sites Frequency of sampling
Environmental Estuarine & Coastal 24 2/year (Summer)
Protection Agency Waters Quality 1/year (Winter)
Monitoring Programme
Directive 91/271/EEC &
Directive 91/676/EEC
DMNR/Marine Institute Phytoplankton 1 Monthly (Jan.-Mar.)
/CLAMS Group Directive 91/492/EEC Weekly (Apr.-Jun.)
Monthly (Jul.-Sept.)
Weekly (Oct.-Dec.)
DMNR/Marine Institute Biotoxin & Bacterial 4 Weekly
/CLAMS Group Sampling (twice weekly for
Directive 91/492/EEC mussels)
Donegal County Council Quality of Bathing Water 4 Every 2 weeks (May on)
Marine Harvest Ireland Water Quality1 5 See notes below
Marine Harvest Ireland Water Quality 1 See notes below
Data compiled from: Lough Swilly CLAMS Report, 2001
Water Quality – tests for nitrate, nitrite, total ammonia, dissolved reactive phosphorus & chlorophyll are carried out bimonthly along with sediment RedOx potentials and benthic macro fauna
Water Quality – monitoring of water temperature and oxygen is carried out daily; phytoplankton monitoring is performed during the Spring and Autumn seasons.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-4:
Water quality

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6 Overview of Functions and Uses

3.6.1 Tourism

In 2000 the Northwest region had 608,000 overseas visitors, an increase of 14% in the period 1996 to 2000. County Donegal accounts for 42% of
overseas visitors to the Northwest region (255,360 overseas visitors).

Donegal is breathtaking with misty mountains, serene lakes and dramatic coastlines. It also has some interesting archaeological sites dating back
many years.

At the mouth of the River Lennon, where it enters a bay on Lough Swilly, lies Rathmelton (Ramelton). Rathmelton is a Heritage Town, a planned
village of 17th century origin.

Besides the popular activities of walking, golfing and fishing, the major attractions of County Donegal are listed below in Table 3-3. The location of the
attraction, the entrance fee, the number of visitors, the origin of visitors and the period the attraction is open has been presented if known.

Table 3-3: Main tourist attractions Co. Donegal

Attraction Location Entrance Visitors per annum Origin visitors Comment
Workhouse Dunfanaghy Dunfanaghy No data available 25,000 – 30,000 40% NI -
20% Co. Donegal and other ROI counties
20% British
10% EU
10% overseas tourists
Folk Village Glencolmcille Adult €2.75 30,000 – 40,000 Predominantly ROI and NI. The rest from -
Child €2.00 EU and US.
Student/Senior €2.30
Family €9.50
Fort Dunree Military Burnfoot, Adult €5.00 8,000 55% from NI Currently re-developing the
Museum Buncrana Child/ Senior €3.00 20% overseas facility with a new wildlife centre,
rest from neighbouring counties walks and café. Hope to increase
visitor figures by 50% next year.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Attraction Location Entrance Visitors per annum Origin visitors Comment

Glenveagh National Glenveagh Visitor Centre, exhibition, 75,000 No data available -
Park gardens and walks are all
Fee for Castle Tour:
Adult 3.00
Child/Senior 2.00
Groups 2.00 per person
Donegal Craft Village Donegal Town Free Entry 70,000 – 80,000 Ratio 4:1 -
Overseas Tourist : Local/ Irish Tourist
Issac Butt Visitor Centre Cloghan, Free Entry No data available No data available -
Tory Island Tory Island Ferry crossing (on foot) No data available No data available -

Adult €20.00 return

Child €10.00 return
Under 5’s free
Abbey Mill Wheel Ballyshannon Free Entry Approx. 8,000 50% local -
50% overseas
Flights of the Earls Rathmullan Adult €5.00 3,500 – 4,000 Predominantly from Co. Donegal and -
Heritage Centre Child €2.00 (excl. school tours) surrounding counties but a very small %
Student/Senior €3.00 are from overseas.
Family and group rates
Donegal Ancestry Rathmelton No data available No data available Majority from US, Canada and Australia -
Very few EU visitors. Coach tours from NI
also popular.
The Old Courthouse Lifford Adult 5.00 2,500 Predominantly from ROI and NI -
Seniors 3.50
Dunlewy Visitor Centre Dunlewy Rate varies depending on 70,000 Predominantly from ROI and NI, fewer -
attraction sought i.e. play from England, Scotland and rest of EU,
area, petting zoo, boat with the smallest group from the US.
trips, tours.
3.50 – 9.50 Adult
3.25 – 6.00 Child
3.25 – 7.50 Student/Senior

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Attraction Location Entrance Visitors per annum Origin visitors Comment

11.00 – 22.00 Group
Inishowen Maritime Greencastle Adult 5.00 8,900 28% ROI -
Museum Child 3.00 43% NI
Student/Senior 3.00 15% Europe
Group rates available. 12% USA
(Double price for 2% Other
Donegal County Letterkenny Free entry 7,000 – 8,000 School visits account for a large % but -
Museum many overseas visitors also.
O’ Donnells Castle Donegal Town Adult 3.50 38,000 5% Irish, -
Senior Citizen 2.50 95% Overseas, predominantly US and
Child/Student 1.25 Europeans.
Family 8.25
Irish National Knitting Buncrana Free entry 1,000 Very seasonal. Mainly from US or coach -
Centre (in summer months) tours from UK.
An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny Varies depending on 60,000 Predominantly from Co. Donegal. -
Doagh Island Visitor Doagh Island, Adult €6.00 No data available In the summer season the genealogy -
Centre Inishowen Child €4.00 interest sees the bulk of tourists from US,
(Summer Season) / (Price includes EU, Australia and NZ. Smaller % from ROI
Lapland (Winter tea/coffee/soda / NI.
Season) bread/biscuits) Winter season sees families from all over
ROI and NI. Very few overseas visitors.
Doe Castle Creeslough No data available No data available No data available -
Donegal Railway Donegal Town No data available Approx. 4,000 pa. Around 65% are from UK. Christmas theme in winter
Heritage Centre season attracts locals.
County Donegal Rossnowlagh Free entry No data available No data available -
Historical Society
Lough Derg Exhibition Pettigo Free Entry to visitor Small visitor centre is Predominantly a pilgrimage. See
Centre centre. unmanned, therefore attached document re. visitor
no visitor figs no.s to pilgrimage.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Attraction Location Entrance Visitors per annum Origin visitors Comment

Grianan Aileach Visitor Burt No data available No data available No data available -
Straid Gallery Glencolmcille Free entry 1,000 Half Irish, Half Overseas. -
Tullyarvan Mill Buncrana Free entry Up to 15,000 pa but No data available -
this includes people
attending concerts,
plays etc.
Corn and Flax Mill Letterkenny Adult €2.75 No data available No data available -
Student/Senior €2.00
Child €1.25
Family Rate €7.00
Colmcille Heritage Churchill, Adult €2.00 No data available No data available -
Centre Letterkenny Student/Child/Senior
The Gallery Dunfanaghy Free entry No visitor numbers 95% of visitors are from NI -
Bundoran Water World Bundoran Adults €8 85,000 pa No data available -
Children u8 €6

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Strengths of Co. Donegal for tourism are the beautiful scenery with the mountains, rivers, lakes and coastlines. This creates a good environment for
walking and fishing tourism. The main weakness of the area is the remoteness and accessibility. Major cities like Dublin and Belfast are approximately
250 and140 kilometres away respectively and with limited stretches of motorway. An opportunity for County Donegal would be to create and pursue a
theme that is unique or typical for the county. The threats however lie in the competition from neighbouring counties.

Key indicators

Key indicators to map tourism and its relationship to the establishment of a Research & Education Centre are the following:

Key indicators Parameters

1. distance - distance to tourist attractions (e.g. nature parks, walking
routes, beautiful scenery / views, heritage sites)
- distance to accommodation
2. visitors - number of visitors per tourist attraction
- number of visitors per accommodation
- origin of visitors (local / Donegal or rest Republic of
Ireland / Northern Ireland / International)
3. finance - income and costs tourist attraction per season
- income and costs accommodation per season

Table 3-4: Key indicators and parameters for tourism

Map: Tourism

Information regarding tourist accommodation (distance, visitors, finances) and the finances per tourist attraction are not fully known and have therefore
not been taken into account. The distance from each tourist attraction has been mapped in relation to the number of visitors per tourist attraction. The
number of visitors per attraction tells us something regarding the popularity of the attraction. Tourists will be more likely to travel further for a popular or
highly recommended attraction than for a less popular attraction.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The relationship made between the distance to get there and the number of visitors per attraction is shown in Table 3-5. In the table the distance to the
tourist attraction is divided into three groups: closer than 20 km, 20 to 40 km and 40 to 80 km. For a distance larger than 80 km we have assumed no
score. As such the scores indicate the degree of potential synergy that may be derived between tourist attractions.

The number of visitors is divided into eleven groups: less then a 1,000, 1,000 to 5,000, 5,000 to 10,000, etc. We have assigned each visitor group a
weight. The weight of each visitor group is the highest number of visitors divided by 1,000. That is:

first group: visitors = 0 – 1,000

highest number of visitors = 1,000
weight = 1,000 / 1,000 = 1

second group: visitors = 1,000 – 5,000

highest number of visitors = 5,000
weight = 5,000 / 1,000 = 5

By means of the weighting of visitors as well as distances a score can be given to each group of visitors at a certain distance from the tourist attraction.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

No. Visitors Weight Score Group

1 2 3
40 – 80 km 20 – 40 km 0 – 20 km
0 – 1,000 1 (1 x 1 =) 1 (1 x 2 =) 2 (1 x 3 =) 3
1,000 – 5,000 5 (5 x 1 =) 5 (5 x 2 =) 10 (5 x 3 =)15
5,000 – 10,000 10 (10 x 1 =) 10 (10 x 2 =) 20 (10 x 3 =) 30
10,000 – 20,000 20 (20 x 1 =) 20 (20 x 2 =) 40 (20 x 3 =) 60
20,000 – 30,000 30 (30 x 1 =) 30 (30 x 2 =) 60 (30 x 3 =) 90
30,000 – 40,000 40 (40 x 1 =) 40 (40 x 2 =) 80 (40 x 3 =) 120
40,000 – 50,000 50 (50 x 1 =) 50 (50 x 2 =) 100 (50 x 3 =) 150
50,000 – 60,000 60 (60 x 1 =) 60 (60 x 2 =) 120 (60 x 3 =) 180
60,000 – 70,000 70 (70 x 1 =) 70 (70 x 2 =) 140 (70 x 3 =) 210
70,000 – 80,000 80 (80 x 1 =) 80 (80 x 2 =) 160 (80 x 3 =) 240
80,000 – 90,000 90 (90 x 1 =) 90 (90 x 2 =) 180 (90 x 3 =) 270

Table 3-5: Establishing score per tourist attraction

Figure 3-5: Score per zone around (a) one tourist attraction and (b) two tourist attractions.

Tourist attraction A
Tourist attraction A

Tourist attraction B

(a) (b)

Score 120 Score 30

Score 80 32
Score 20
Score 40 Score 10
Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Where zones of different attractions overlap, the score has to be tallied. This results in the tourism map as presented in Figure 3-6.

Tourist attraction A

Score 120
Score 80 Score 90
Score 50 Tourist attraction B
Score 40 Score 60
Score 30
Score 20

Score 10

Figure 3-5 contd.: Sum of scores in case of two tourist attractions with overlapping zones

The origin of the visitors has not been included on the map in figure 3-6 as accurate data is not available.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

It should be noted that this approach for tourism does not take into consideration accessibility of all areas. The distances are not presented based on
the existing road infrastructure. Combination of the tourism map with the infrastructure map is therefore essential.

Furthermore this approach does not acknowledge the differences in the types of tourist attractions.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-6: Tourism (synergies between visitor attractions)

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.2 Leisure and Sports

Throughout Donegal there are numerous sports facilities such as Soccer Clubs, GAA Clubs, Tennis Clubs, Leisure Centres, Community Centres, etc.
Around Lough Swilly, Letterkenny has the most facilities for leisure and sport with at least 22 facilities after which the town of Buncrana follows with 9
facilities. The only Sailing Club in Lough Swilly is about 10 minutes south of Buncrana.

Locals Everybody Other Total

Soccer GAA Community Tennis Leisure Golf
Clubs Clubs Centres Clubs Centres Courses
Letterkenny 5 2 1 1 3 1 9 22
Buncrana 2 1 2 0 2 2 0 9
Rathmullan 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 4
Rathmelton 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 4

Table 3-6: Number of sport and leisure facilities.

Both Buncrana and Rathmullan have a designated bathing area and Blue Flag beaches are present in Lisfannon, 10 minutes south of Buncrana, and
in Portsalon, 15 minutes north of Rathmullan.
Besides the above mentioned activities, the Lough Swilly area also provides for activities such as boat angling, sailing, waterskiing and sea angling

The definite strength of Co. Donegal in sport and leisure is evident from the quality of its facilities. Although numbers are relatively limited, the
capacities are ample to deal with current demands. The beautiful scenery can further strengthen this. Especially for facilities such as sauna’s, golf
courses, etc. there lies an opportunity to combine the two. A weakness might be that there are not enough facilities to attract people solely for leisure
sports. Threats come again from neighbouring counties. These counties are less isolated and might offer the same or better facilities.

Key indicators
Key indicators to map sport & leisure and its relationship to the establishment of a Research & Education Centre are the following:

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Key indicators Parameters

1. distance - distance to sport and leisure facilities (e.g. leisure centres,
golf courses, sailing clubs, walking routes)
2. visitors - number of visitors per sport and leisure facility
- origin of visitors (local / Donegal or rest Republic of
Ireland / Northern Ireland / International)
3. finance - income and costs per leisure and sport facility

Table 3-7: Key indicators and parameters sport & leisure

Good as they are in terms of quality, it is expected that these facilities will have a limited beneficial relationship to the Coastal Centre in terms of spin-
off tourism and, as such, no further actions were undertaken to collect and map data.

3.6.3 Work

In County Donegal 48,379 people are at work and the county shows a growth in employment of 21.5% over the period 1996 – 2002. Table 3-8 shows
the numbers employed by industry.

Industry Employed
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 4,042
Industry 13,741
Services 30,596
TOTAL 48,379

Table 3-8: Numbers employed by industry

The main means of agricultural employment are cattle and sheep farming, while the most important manufacturing sectors are textile and food,
beverages & tobacco.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The strength of the area is the relatively cheap prices for ground and the lower labour costs. Because of the relative remoteness and poor accessibility
of the area, work in County Donegal cannot benefit easily from neighbouring economically successful cities and towns. An opportunity for County
Donegal would be to become more accessible and therefore more interesting for businesses.

Key indicators
The key indicators for mapping work in relationship to the establishment of a Research & Education Centre are presented in Table 3-9.

Key indicators Parameters

1. profession - number of people working in certain disciplines (e.g.
manager, self employed, agriculture, industry, etc)

Table 3-9: Key indicators and parameters work.

Map: Work

The number of people working has been divided into five socio-economic groups: high (is higher professional), skilled, unskilled, own account workers
and others. Per town or municipality these numbers are presented in a pie chart. The total number of people working per town or municipality has been
mapped in different colour shadings (see Figure 3-7). Each colour shading corresponds to a score. In the table below the score per number of total
population is given.

Total population working Score

< 500 0
500 – 1,000 1
1,000 – 2,500 2
2,500 – 5,000 3
> 5,000 4

Table 3-10: Scores in totals of working population.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-7: Work

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.4 Population / Housing

County Donegal is one of the least populated counties in Ireland with only 137,575 inhabitants (125,112 in 1981; 128,117 in 1991; 129,994 in 1996
and 137,575 in 2002). It is a predominantly rural county, with only a few towns having a total recorded population of more than 3,000 inhabitants. The
County's largest town is Letterkenny with a population of 15,231 (2002), followed by Buncrana with a population just over 5,271 persons (2002).

The population density is 27 persons per square kilometre.

In 2002 an analysis of the age structure was performed and highlighted a significant percentage of the population in the younger, 0 – 14 years, and
older, 65+ years, age bracket. This means that a large group is dependent on a relatively small group, compared with the national average. Table 3-11
presents the population of several towns in Co. Donegal.

Population (2002)

Letterkenny 15,231
Buncrana 5,271
Ballybofey / Stranorlar 3,603
Ballyshannon 2,715
Donegal Town 2,453
Bundoran 1,842
Carndonagh 1,673
Moville 1,465
Killybegs 1,396
Lifford 1,395
Bunbeg-Derrybeg 1,388
Ramelton (Rathmelton) 1,051
Convoy 1,028
Rathmullan < 1,000
TOTAL 137,575

Table 3-11 Population County Donegal and per town

Over 1996 to 2002 the annual population growth rate of County Donegal has averaged just over 1%.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The population and population density in county Donegal is very low, which results in lower costs of living and substantial room for economic growth.

Key indicators
The key indicators for mapping population / housing in relationship to the establishment of a Research & Education Centre are presented in Table

Key indicators Parameters

1. population - population per age group per town
- population per town

Table 3-12: Key indicators and parameters population / housing

Map: Population / housing

On the population / housing map all the above mentioned parameters have been mapped. The population is divided in the following three age groups:
Group < 25 years / Group 25 – 65 years / Group > 65 years

Per town or municipality these numbers are presented in a pie chart. The total population per town or municipality has been mapped in different colour
shadings (see Figure 3-8). Each colour shading corresponds to a score. In the table below the score per population is given.

Total population Score

< 500 0
500 – 1,000 1
1,000 – 2,500 2
2,500 – 5,000 3
> 5,000 4

Table 3-13: Scores total population per town / city

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-8: Population

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.5 Infrastructure

County Donegal is approximately 240 km from Dublin and 150 km from Belfast. Table 3-14 gives an overview of the distance from Buncrana to several
towns in County Donegal, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Without crossing country borders, County Donegal can only be reached by land
through County Leitrim. On the eastern side, County Donegal can be reached by land by crossing one of the following Northern Irish counties: Derry,
Tyrone or Fermanagh.

Miles from Buncrana Kilometres from Buncrana

Carndonagh 12 20
Derry 14 23
Letterkenny 25 41
Moville 27 44
Strabane 28 45
Lifford 31 50
Convoy 31 50
Ramelton (Rathmelton) 32 51
Ballybofey / Stranorlar 35 56
Rathmullan 38 62
Coleraine 43 69
Donegal Town 52 83
Bunbeg-Derrybeg 57 91
Ballyshannon 64 103
Bundoran 69 110
Killybegs 70 112
Belfast 87 140
Dublin 158 254
Galway 184 296
Waterford 260 419
Cork 288 464

Table 3-14: Distances from Buncrana

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The county does not have a motorway but has however the following National Primary, National Secondary and Regional roads:
- National Primary roads: N3, N13, N14 and N15;
- National Secondary road: N56;
- Regional roads: R-231 to R-234, R-236 to R-242, R-244 to R-255, R-257, R-258, R-260 to R-266.

The National Primary Network in County Donegal is 159 km long and makes up approximately 2.4% of the total road class in the County. In addition to
the above mentioned roads County Donegal has a number of local roads which service the rest of the County. In
Table 3-15 an overview of traffic flows on the National Primary and Secondary Roads in Donegal is given.

Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) % Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCV)

N14 – Letterkenny 17,206 8.2
N13 – Bridgend 11,657 7.5
N13 – Stranorlar to Bridgend Approx. 9,000 Approx. 10.2
N15 – Bundoran Approx. 8,500 Approx. 10.0
N15 – Ballyshannon 8,496 10.5
N56 – Letterkenny 8,179 7.5
N14 – Letterkenny to Lifford Approx. 7,500 Approx. 8,5
N15 – Castlefin 6,294 8.3
N56 – Kilmacrennan 6,208 7.5
N15 – Ballybofey to Ballyshannon Approx. 6,000 Approx. 15.0
N15 – Ballybofey Approx. 5,500 7.2
N56 – Creeslough to Kilmacrennan Approx. 5,500 Approx. 8.6
N56 – Donegal Town to Ardara Approx. 5,000 Approx. 10.0
N15 – Lifford 4,766 10.5
N56 – Dungloe 4,308 5.3
N56 – Ardara 4,166 12.8
N56 – Dunfanaghy 4,027 6.0
N56 – Dungloe to Falcarragh Approx. 4,000 Approx. 12.0
N3 – Ballyshannon 3,368 20.3
Table 3-15: Traffic flows on National Primary and Secondary Roads in Co. Donegal.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The following table gives an overview of the average driving times from Buncrana.

Driving times from Buncrana


Carndonagh 20

Derry 25

Moville 30

Convoy 40

Letterkenny 40

Ramelton (Rathmelton) 50

Ballybofey / Stranorlar 60

Lifford 60

Rathmullan 60

Donegal Town 80

Ballyshannon 110

Bunbeg-Derrybeg 110

Bundoran 110

Killybegs 110

Table 3-16: Driving times from Buncrana

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Bus Éireann has an Express Network running throughout Ireland. The following 3 lines service County Donegal:
Dublin – Donegal – Killybegs
Galway – Letterkenny – Derry
Letterkenny - Dublin

Besides the Express Network serviced by Bus Éireann, County Donegal has a number of privately run bus companies servicing the area (McGeehan
Coaches, Coyles Coaches, Lough Swilly Bus, Busanna Feda, John McGinley, NorthWest Busways).
In the western part of County Donegal, in Carrickfinn, lies the only civil airport of County Donegal, the Donegal International Airport. The airport has a
regular daily return service to Dublin airport and services Glasgow Prestwick three times a week, both with AerArann. The closest other civil airport is
just over the eastern border in Derry, the City of Derry Airport. The Derry Airport has frequent flights to Dublin, Glasgow, Liverpool, London,
Manchester and Nottingham. In the south of Donegal at the border with Leitrim lies the military airport Finner Camp.
Donegal is without any railway service and the nearest stations are Derry and Sligo.
The introduction of local car ferry services has shortened the journeys. The two car ferries in the County are Buncrana – Rathmullan and Greencastle
– Magilligan.

County Donegal has two main weaknesses regarding infrastructure, the lack of a railway and the lack of a motorway. Opportunities for Donegal lie in
the realisation of these infrastructural works. Especially the realisation of a motorway improving speed of travel from cities like Dublin and Belfast to
Donegal would mean a huge improvement to the mobility of Irish people and visitors. Travel times would be reduced and County Donegal would
become more attractive to live in, also for people who work in other counties.
Projects and plans are however underway to improve accessibility within and of Donegal.
The main strengths of the infrastructure in Donegal are the 2 civil airports and the reasonably good secondary connections by road to neighbouring

Key indicators

The key indicators for mapping infrastructure in relationship to the establishment of a Research & Education Centre are the following:

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Key indicators Parameters

1. distances (accessibility) - to national primary and / or secondary road

- to airports
- to ferries
- to railway stations
- to motorways

2. traffic flows - per national primary and / or secondary road

- per airport
- per ferry
- per railway station
- per motorway

Table 3-17: Key indicators and parameters infrastructure

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Map: Infrastructure

Since there are no railway stations or motorways in County Donegal distances cannot be mapped. The distances to the two ferries have not been
mapped since one of the ferries is mainly a means of transport for tourists, since it is very slow and the influence of the other is relatively slim
compared to the importance of National roads and airports.

Mapping the traffic flows would go into too much detail and therefore have not been mapped.

On the Infrastructure map (Figure 3-9) below the following parameters have been mapped:
- distance to National Primary and / or Secondary road;
- distance to airports.

For presentation of the distances to national primary and secondary roads and to airports the following scores have been used:

Parameter Score

0 1 2 4
Distance to national primary and / or secondary road >30km 10 – 30km 5 - 10km <5km

Distance to airport >70km 50 – 70km 30 – 50km <30km

Table 3-18: Scores in distances to national primary and secondary roads and airports

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-9: Infrastructure

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.6 Education

The highest concentrations of primary schools in Donegal are centred on Inishowen and Letterkenny. In the border areas of Northern Ireland there are
43 primary schools in Londonderry, 19 in Limavady and 33 in Strabane.

Secondary schools are distributed throughout Donegal, but the largest concentration is in the central and northern parts of the County. Carndonagh,
Buncrana and Letterkenny all have secondary schools with >800 pupils while the largest is at Carndonagh (>1600 pupils). In the border areas of
Northern Ireland there are 15 secondary schools in Londonderry, 4 in Limavady and 9 in Strabane.

At tertiary level there are a number of institutions in the region including the Letterkenny Institute of Technology LYIT (2000 students), Northwest
Institute of further and Higher education (>20,000 students) (Londonderry and Strabane campuses), Limavady Institute of further and Higher Education
and Coleraine Institute of Further and Higher Education. The University of Ulster (UU) has campuses at Magee (Londonderry) and Coleraine. The
National Fisheries College at Greencastle provides deck, engineering, fishing and aquaculture training.

LYIT has a marine research interest in marine biology and biotechnology. The Centre for Coastal and Marine Research at UU has a research focus
on coastal and marine geology, habitats and coastal zone management.

There is a dense distribution of educational establishments in the area around Buncrana on both sides of the border and within easy travel distances of
Lough Swilly. There is therefore an opportunity for the lough to be used to demonstrate aspects of marine science, history and archaeology and for its
heritage to be interpreted for this audience. The potential for the site to be used for research is also high given its proximity to research centres (but
see final recommendations on research at section 5).

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-10: Education

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.7 Aquaculture

In terms of aquaculture Lough Swilly is an important area especially for the production of salmon, mussels and Pacific oysters. Recent research has
suggested a large potential for development of this industry. The possibility of tripling production levels over the next fifteen years has been suggested
(DMNR, 2000).

The types of farming ongoing within the Lough are: bottom mussel, Pacific Oyster, rope mussel farming and salmon farming. Bottom mussel farming
has been in operation in the Lough since the beginning of the 1980’s (Lough Swilly CLAMS, 2001). The aquaculture activities in the lough are
concentrated in the upper reaches where most licences have been grated and are pending. According to the Lough Swilly CLAMS document (2001)
bottom mussel (Mytilus edulis) farming within Lough Swilly is a form of extensive culture. Seed is transferred from naturally occurring wild seed mussel
beds to culture pots/ licensed areas. No structures are used for the culture of bottom mussels and most of the beds are sub-tidal, therefore, the
general public is not aware of their existence (Lough Swilly CLAMS, 2001). Mussel farming has been in operation in Lough Swilly since the early
1980s. Farming developed around a co-operative system, which individuals have since evolved to develop their own specific areas and some have
even diversified into different species.

Rope grown mussels (Mytilus edulis) in Lough Swilly are farmed using a suspended culture system. This involves the placing of naturally collected
mussel seed into mesh stockings, which are then suspended from floating rope long-lines in the water column of the growing areas.

Oyster farming within Lough Swilly began in the early 1990s but is now a form of intensive culture. Cultivation of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas)
is carried out by growing oysters in bags placed on trestles. Farms within Lough Swilly are positioned between Mean Low Water Spring and Mean
Low Water Neap, allowing 2.5 to 3.5 hours exposure depending on prevailing weather conditions.

Cage-farmed salmon licences have been granted in the lower, more marine reaches of the lough. Marine Harvest Ireland (formerly Fanad Fisheries)
was set up in 1979 and has operated a salmon (Salmo salar) production site at Anny Point on the western side of Lough Swilly since 1985.

Aquaculture has become an emotive issue in Lough Swilly. Arguments for its development include economic ones (employment, revenue generation
particularly in rural locations), environmental ones (aquaculture needs good water quality and provides additional leverage to obtain it), and potential
tourism benefits (visits to aquaculture operations). Arguments against development include concerns regarding impacts on water quality from
aquaculture activities, impacts on the landscape with adverse impacts on tourism, navigation for fishing and recreational craft, impacts on
conservation-designated sites and protection of native species amongst others.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-11: Aquaculture

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.8 Fishing

Commercial fishing is an important activity both inside and around the periphery of Lough Swilly. The viability of this commercial fishing fleet is
determined by its ability to alternate between species depending on the time of year and the availability of stock. Boats from Greencastle undertake the
majority of the fishing while the fleet within the Lough remains relatively small due to high levels of wave exposure and the poor port and pier
infrastructure. Although Rathmullan and Buncrana are used as landing centres they do not have a fishing tradition and do not support a substantial
fishing fleet (Table 3-19).

The surrounding rivers support commercial salmonid fisheries. Among these are the Rivers Crana, Lennan, Mill and Swilly, the Crana River being the
most productive in terms of angling. Across the Lough the salmon fishery employs a number of techniques including loop, drift and draft net fishing,
however, in recent years these fisheries have declined with increasingly low productivity.

Shellfish fisheries are also important within the lough. The species fished include crustaceans (shrimp, crab and lobsters), bivalve molluscs (mussels,
oysters and scallops) and cephalopods (squid and octopus). The principal shellfish harvested within the Lough are bottom mussels. Oysters are
fished throughout the year except from May to August and native oyster beds occur from the channel of the Leannan River where the Leannan joins
Lough Swilly at White Head south to Ballygreen Point, and then east to Drumboy Point into the estuary to Ballylawn Point (Lough Swilly CLAMS,
2001). There are only nine of these natural sites across Ireland.

A large number of species are targeted by anglers within Lough Swilly. The most common target species at various locations are shown on the map
(figure 3-12).

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Table 3-19: Fishing boats by harbour and main types of fish caught.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Species Season

Crabs All year round (best from August – December)

Lobsters May – September/October

Skate May – July (but variable)

Salmon drift netting June-July (banned from 2007 on)

Salmon draft netting June-July

Herring November, December, January & February

Table 3-20: Seasonal Patterns of fishing activity.

Landing figures for piers in Lough Swilly have been allocated to either Rathmullan or Buncrana, although much of the catch is derived from other sites
(e.g. Inch). Pelagic species (herring, mackerel and horse mackerel) are fished outside the Lough but landed at Rathmullan by boats based in
Killybegs. Boats which fish out of Inch and Leenan often land into Greencastle on Lough Foyle. As a result of this the value of fisheries within Lough
Swilly is difficult to estimate with accuracy.

Herring and sprat are the most important pelagic species caught in Lough Swilly. Fishing for such species is seasonal and lasts from November to
February (Table 3-20). At the peak of the season up to twenty boats (ranging in size from 25ft to 65ft) from Lough Swilly and nearby Greencastle in
Lough Foyle rig their boats for mid-water and trawl using either pelagic trawls, purse seines, driftnets and/or longlines. Mackerel is also fished in the
Lough from approximately May to June (Lough Swilly CLAMS, 2001).

Demersal fish caught in Lough Swilly include plaice,sole, brill, turbot and cod. Plaice is the most important of these as it is available throughout most of
the year. Trawling in the Lough is exercised mainly from Fanad Head east to Dunaff Bay, from there south to Macamish Point, across south-east to the
Saltpans Light, and from there east to Buncrana. Within this delimited zone trawling is carried out over most of the sea area except in rocky areas
where it is not possible to trawl.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-12: Fishing

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.9 Cultural Heritage

The area around Lough Swilly includes a Gaeltacht area in the west around Portsalon (Glenvar) and around Fanad Head.

Sites of cultural importance include the Flight of the Earls centre at Rathmullan that interprets the departure of Hugh O'Neill and Rory O'Donnell in
1607 and the political developments surrounding the event.

At Fort Dunree military museum, the 20th century military heritage is interpreted on the site of a former army base.

Ramelton Heritage Centre interprets the influence of Francis Makemie (born there in 1658) who founded the American Presbyterian church.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-13: Cultural Heritage

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.10 Archaeology

Virtually all of the bed of Lough Swilly would have been dry about 10,000 years ago during the Mesolithic. Indeed sea level has only been at the
present level for about the past 6000 years around the NW Irish coast. Investigations elsewhere indicate the presence of a submerged land surface in
shallow water along the N. Irish coast and it is likely preserved under the Swilly.

Lough Swilly contains numerous shipwreck sites, some of which are frequented by divers. Fifty eight wrecks are recorded in the Duchas shipwreck
database in Lough Swilly. The earliest record is of a ship that sank in 1744 while most of the wrecks occurred in the 19th century. Wrecks of WW1
and 2 are also represented. The best known of the Swilly wrecks is probably the Laurentic because of its cargo of gold.

The margins of the lough also contain a number of sites of archaeological interest that have yet to be systematically investigated. The Donegal
Archaeological Survey (Lacy, 1983) lists a large number of archaeological sites in and around the Swilly. Of these, a late Mesolithic flint-working site
recorded at Dunaff Bay in a raised beach deposit is among the oldest. A study of Mesolithic and Neolithic implements around the Swilly was
conducted by Kimball, 2000.

Neolithic-Bronze Age court tombs are recorded at five locations adjacent to Lough Swilly, as are three portal tombs, one of which is on Inch island.
Three Wedge tombs are also located adjacent to Lough Swilly. A cist tomb was recorded from the Swilly 5-6 miles from the Grianan of Aileach.
Coastal kitchen middens which represent Mesolithic to Neolithic human habitation sites are recorded near Buncrana, at Dunaff Head and in the
Rathmullan area.

Three possible stone circles probably belonging to the Bronze Age have been identified near Rathmullan and a number of standing stones have been
recorded around Lough Swilly. The Grianan of Aileach that overlooks Lough Swilly is a partly rebuilt hill fort of the Late Bronze –Early Iron Age that
has a probable much longer history. Four of the large stone enclosures that occur mainly on the Inishowen peninsula are located on the lough Swilly
side of the Peninsula. 14-15 cashels occur around the Lough on both Fanad and Inishowen as do 6-7 earthen Ringforts (raths). There are four coastal
promontory forts around Lough Swilly: two south of Dunaff Head, one on Inch Island and one near Portsalon.

A variety of piers and landing places constructed at various times and in various states of repair occur around Lough Swilly. A recent survey of
Inishowen (Construction Service 2001) recorded 13 such sites between Dunaff Head and Letterkenny.

A variety of 19th and 20th century defensive structures surround the Swilly. Of these, the Dunree Fort has the highest profile, being open to the public
as a visitor attraction with an associated museum.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-14: Archaeology

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.6.11 Nature

The extent of nature conservation designations is taken as an indicator of the importance of natural habitats and species in the region. A number of
nature conservation designations exist around Lough Swilly. These designations recognise important nature conservation values ranging from
landscape elements to the presence of various species of plant and animal. The designations include both national (Natural Heritage Area, NHA)
designations and European designations (Special Area of conservation, SAC and special protection Area, SPA). Generally, the European
designations are a subset of the national designations ( coastalrep/designation.htm).

The uppermost reaches of the Lough have been designated as SPA on account of the birdlife associated with the intertidal flats and with the artificial
freshwater Lake at Inch Island. The recently formed dunes and tidal wetlands at Lisfannon are a rare example of an accreting coast where a diverse
set of habitats has developed over the past 50 years as a result of sediment accumulation.

The entire area of Lough Swilly upstream of Buncrana is an NHA. The seaward margins of the Lough lie within the North Inishowen SAC and
Ballyhoorisky Point to Fanad Head SAC which contain important cliff habitats.

Locally dolphin and porpoise sightings have been recorded as well as basking sharks and killer whales at the mouth of the Lough during Summer
months. Grey seals (Hilichoerus grypu) and common seals (Phoca vitulina) have been observed within Lough Swilly

The distribution of nature conservation designations indicates the large extent of high quality natural environments in the area. A number of threats to
designated sites are listed by the Heritage Council (1999), all of them associated directly or indirectly with human activity (dumping, pollution, grazing).
The challenge will be to maintain the integrity of these sites whilst utilising them for economic benefit. Opportunities undoubtedly exist to enhance the
tourism potential of these sites of high conservation value.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 3-15: Nature

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.7 Overview of Lough Swilly Stakeholders

Based on experience, Donegal County Council and Buncrana Town Council compiled a list of persons / organisations that have an interest or stake in
the coastal zone of Lough Swilly and would have an interest in ICZM in general. These persons / organisations were invited to a workshop hosted by
the consultants.

A list of stakeholders who accepted the invitation is given in Appendix C. Some 80 persons from various stakeholder groups were invited of whom
some 45 attended, representing c. 18 organisations and the general public. The evening proved lively and the ideas and study findings put forward
were generally well accepted. While many who were invited did not attend, we are satisfied that the workshop extracted substantial information from a
relevant audience, greatly informing the outcome of this study.

3.8 Workshop

The workshop was held in Buncrana on 2nd November 2005. The main objectives of the workshop were as follows:
- to introduce and explain the notion of a Coastal Research & Education Centre at Buncrana or Dunree;
- to discuss general findings regarding ICZM issues;
- to present the opportunity mapping approach and get feedback on findings;
- to get feedback on the proposal to establish the centre.

The main conclusions / findings are presented in Appendix D.

3.9 Opportunity and Constraints Maps

Using the key interrelationships described in section 3.3 as most relevant to the feasibility of the Research & Education Centre together with the maps
derived, an overarching opportunity map can be drawn. To arrive at the opportunity map, a weighting has to be defined to reflect the influence of
various parameters on the successful establishment of the Centre. This first set of weights has been chosen by using our own ‘expert’ judgement and
experience. The sum of all weights equals 100%.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Groups Criteria Weighting

1. Spatial Development Spatial Developments NOT TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT

2. Natural Processes Geomorphology 0%

Water quality 0%

3. Functions and Uses Tourism 32.5%

Leisure and sports 0%
Work 5%
Population / housing 10%
Infrastructure 20%
Education 32.5%
Aquaculture 0%
Fishing 0%
Cultural Heritage 0%
Archaeology 0%
Nature 0%

Table 3-21: Groups and criteria used in opportunity mapping.

Based on this weighting an overarching opportunity map is derived below.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Fig. 3.16: Opportunity Map

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

3.10 Conclusions on Opportunity Mapping

The opportunity map in principle gives an indication of the potential suitability of an area to establish a Centre capable of attracting tourists. It can be
used to support choices regarding location of the centre and linkages to other uses / activities in the area. The map is not an absolute or definitive tool
in indicating suitability. For example, a change in weighting to reflect the distribution of tourist accommodation in the county would alter the findings.
However, the opportunity map derived clearly demonstrates that a relatively small number of areas in Donegal are suited to development of the centre.

When analysing the potential suitability around Lough Swilly, the following scores were found for a number of selected locations (in order of strength):

Location Potential Suitability

(scale of 1 low to 4 high)
Buncrana 2.6
Rathmelton 2.5
Dunree 1.8

One of the main drawbacks of the opportunity map derived is that it does not include the impact of neighbouring counties. Further information was
collated to compensate for this, among others using feedback from stakeholders at the Workshop.

The main impact of neighbouring counties can be summarized as follows:

- Donegal and Inishowen in particular have strong ties with Northern Ireland; the proximity of Derry is a major asset in this respect and will continue
to be so in future; Inishowen and Buncrana in particular will benefit from this.
- The ferry link to Greencastle is a major asset for Inishowen. In a period of just over three years the ferry has had over 1 million passengers.
- The Derry-Letterkenny-Sligo link is being upgraded and will also improve accessibility from the South.

Based on this (mainly proximity to Derry / presence of ferry) it may be concluded that the suitability of Buncrana will improve relative to the opportunity
map given.

A second drawback of the opportunity map is that it can only be based on current information. Future developments and trends have not been

Development policy and plans for the future, e.g. the Draft County Development Plan 2005, underline the potential of the linked gateway Letterkenny /
Derry. Buncrana is to be developed as a sub-gateway and as such is also part of the Letterkenny / Derry Corridor. In addition, on a socio-economic

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

level, policy is aimed at supporting local economies (e.g. support for small businesses). Based on this (linked gateway), there is further support for

The following general conclusions can thus be derived:

1. Opportunity Mapping is a GIS tool that can be used to support policy, design and business decisions;

2. The Opportunity Mapping approach has been used to identify the suitability of locations in Donegal based on selected financial-economic criteria;

3. The Opportunity Map shows that Buncrana can be categorised as an attractive location for the Centre. Dunree is less attractive. During the
workshop, this finding was supported by those present;

4. Within this study, the Opportunity Mapping approach has focussed on Donegal alone. Impacts of other counties can only be accommodated
qualitatively (when taken into account, these impacts provide further support for Buncrana);

5. Although Buncrana has a favourable score in the opportunity map, subsequent phases of the project (concept development & business planning)
will have to further substantiate the feasibility of locating the Research & Education Centre there;

6. While tourism, education, infrastructure, population and work were the main criteria scored in deriving the final opportunity map at county level,
the other criteria outlined (geomorphology, water quality, leisure & sports, aquaculture, fishing, cultural heritage, archaeology, nature) were
assessed specifically for the area around Lough Swilly. These ‘local criteria’ are important in reaching final proposals on concept design, e.g.
educational themes of the centre or visitor displays. They also provide useful baselines for research.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


4.1 Introduction

In Chapter 3 the suitability of establishing a coastal research & education centre was investigated via the opportunity mapping approach. The results
show that Buncrana and to a lesser degree Dunree can be seen as promising locations for the centre. It should be noted however that the basis for
this is at a relatively abstract level of detail, i.e. the analysis was aimed at spatial distribution of financial-economic criteria at a regional to national

To determine the feasibility more accurately, an in-depth look at the day-to-day functions of the centre needs to be added. A first step to achieve this is
to tease out the concept on paper. This chapter sets out the starting points for this exercise, which will subsequently be used to write an
implementation plan for the final proposal. The most important factors underlying the concept are:

- Potential research partners and research activities;

- Potential education partners and education activities;
- Potential tourism partners and tourism activities;
- Experience of similar centres elsewhere;
- Potential sites for the centre;
- ICZM role of the centre.

4.2 Potential Research & Education Partners and Activities

In order to assess the potential interest in the research and educational component of the Centre, the following parties were approached:

- Letterkenny Institute of Technology
- Northwest Institute
- Limavady College
- University of Ulster

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

- Marine Institute
- Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM)
- Northern Regional Fisheries Board (has a national policy influencing role in association with the other regional boards, the Central Fisheries
Board and its parent government department).

- Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) – USA
- St. Andrews Biological Station – Department of Fisheries and Oceans – Canada
- The Dutch National Institute for Research of Seas (NIOZ) – The Netherlands
- The Dutch Institute for Coasts and Sea (RIKZ) – The Netherlands
- Alterra Institute in Den Helder, The Netherlands
- The Technical University of Delft (TUD) – The Netherlands

Responses are summarised below (Appendices E, F and G contain a more detailed account of responses given).

The regional respondents were tertiary educational and research bodies in Donegal and Northern Ireland. Responses were obtained from Letterkenny
Institute of Technology and University of Ulster. Both institutes have expressed their interest in a centre at Buncrana and see opportunities for
research for students and post-graduates. The University of Ulster also proposes that the Centre appoints a co-ordinator to pursue research funding
opportunities for the centre for regional inter-institutional research. On a slightly negative note, a marine biologist at the University of Ulster in
Coleraine pointed out that he could collect samples in Lough Swilly and be back in his own lab in approximately 90 minutes. This time frame is even
shorter for Letterkenny Institute of Technology. The Coleraine respondent concluded that a Buncrana lab would only be attractive to him if it offered
something that his own lab does not have, in this case a pumped seawater facility. Northwest Institute and Limavady College did not respond.

On a national level, we approached Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Marine Institute and the Regional Fisheries Board.

The general conclusion by BIM is that it would have an interest in the Centre but did not see a day-to-day involvement in the centre for it as BIM
recently upgraded a number of its own marine research facilities. Examples given were the National Fisheries College at Greencastle and two offices
at Killybegs.

The Marine Institute expressed support for the centre but saw relatively little scope for research, which it felt can be adequately dealt with by national
agencies and academic research bodies. However, the Institute considers that local authorities are key players in the development of integrated
coastal zone management and marine spatial planning strategies. In this context, it recommended that Donegal County Council should give

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

consideration to the appointment of a Marine Spatial Planner to: (1) lead the education role of the centre; (2) establish and convene a coastal zone
forum of local users of the coastal resource around Lough Swilly to examine best practice in management and conservation; (3) using both of the
above, develop consensus on a marine spatial plan for Lough Swilly (perhaps extending to other coastal areas in due course). The Institute stated that
in this context it would be happy to work with the Donegal local authorities to input to the educational aspects of the Swilly Centre, e.g. by making
marine data, maps, survey information, photographs and so forth available for the information of a marine spatial planning forum or visitors to the

The Regional Fisheries Board expressed an interest in having access to collaborative research done through the centre but did not see a day-to-day
role for it. The Board holds substantial information on fish species found in the Lough and has been involved in some schools educational programmes
that might be re-designed for Lough Swilly.

The international parties included research and education parties in North America and the Netherlands.

Regarding North America, further to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) and the St. Andrews Biological Station, various parties were visited
during a study tour to the USA / Canada in November 2005. The tour, sponsored by Interreg, was designed to facilitate transatlantic discourse on
coastal management experience. The Irish party included representatives from Cross Border Agencies, Marine Institute, BIM, Regional Fisheries
Board, Loughs Agency, County Development Board, University of Ulster and Royal Haskoning. The general conclusion was that none of the facilities
visited in the US or Canada could be duplicated directly to Lough Swilly. While Buncrana might well have all three of GMRI’s core functions, the
American facility was large, expensive to run, and focussed on specific research issues that arise in the Gulf of Maine. For example, GMRI’s
educational and convening functions appear to be entirely focussed on marine biology and/or the economic activities based on it and do not deal with
important coastal management issues such as coastal erosion or terrestrial planning. More fundamentally, GMRI does not have a tourist function, i.e.
the general public visiting the Portland area cannot walk in and be informed on marine matters. This interpretative function is a must in a seaside resort
town like Buncrana where tourism is an increasingly important aspect of the local economy. In terms of funding, GMRI is sustained by very generous
donations from philanthropic persons and organisations; a situation unlikely to occur in Donegal. On a positive note, GMRI does have a very
impressive education programme covering all primary schools in the State of Maine, which includes a visit to the centre by each child with ongoing
access thereafter via the internet. The computer equipment and software used cost about $1million. In addition, GMRI has a custom built lecture
theatre to facilitate school visits. The study party considered that both the educational programme and the lecture facility could provide models for the
Swilly Centre.

Perhaps the most contentious issue is the degree to which the Swilly centre could realistically operate as a research facility. Both GMRI and the St.
Andrews Biological Station have a hierarchy of lab provision ranging from expensive highly specialised labs, through general purpose labs, to rooms
with good office facilities and computer access. On cost effectiveness grounds alone, it is clear that the Swilly centre would have to be sure of its ability
to attract coastal and marine researchers before it could justify the high expense involved in providing specialist labs or research facilities.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

This raises the question of just how much incentive researchers in Ireland would have to lease lab space in the Swilly centre. Organisations like the
Fisheries Boards, BIM, the Marine Institute and the Universities already have their own research facilities, so are unlikely to lease space in the centre.

The general conclusion drawn from the North American experience was that while the Swilly centre could be designed to permit future expansion of a
research function, its best chance of success is to concentrate on education, tourism and the facilitation of a marine spatial plan for Lough Swilly.

GMRI does see opportunities to join forces with the proposed Centre in Donegal. This would need further consideration at design stage, e.g. to include
some of the computer hardware and software systems used for schools’ education programmes at GMRI. Likewise, the St. Andrews Biological Station
(part of the Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada) sees potential for transatlantic co-operation in the field of ICZM or Marine Spatial Planning and
would be interested in becoming a partner with the Swilly Centre under one of the internationally funded R&D programmes at some point in the future.

The parties in the Netherlands are positive about co-operating in research matters with a centre at Lough Swilly. Various parties already pointed out
that fruitful ties with for example the Marine Institute already exist and a centre at Lough Swilly could further enhance this.

4.3 Potential Tourism Partners and Activities

At this stage no concrete steps have been taken to identify parties that may have a commercial interest in the centre. As such it has only been possible
to identify tourism product gaps and requirements in general terms. The main input for this was provided via the Public Workshop held at the beginning
of November 2005. The main things highlighted at the workshop were:
- The centre should be located in Buncrana;
- The centre should be multi-functional and have benefits for the local population;
- The centre should be combined with other local initiatives such as a One-Stop-Shop for Government Services and/or a Tourism Office, etc.
- The centre should have a pier or launch facility for boat trips on Lough Swilly.

Based on our examination and mapping of tourism criteria in Donegal along with our observations of visitor centres elsewhere (see section 4.4 below
together with detailed accounts of this at appendix H) we think that a successful visitor centre could be established to showcase the marine
environment of Lough Swilly. As suggested by participants at the workshop, there appears to be a market gap for a tour vessel on the Lough. There is
also an obvious opportunity to attract schools to a marine / coastal education programme in the centre if well thought out and linked to school curricula.
The data and maps contained in chapter 3 also provide information and ideas that could be used to form an appealing visitor attraction. There are
strong indications from the existing regional and national agencies we spoke to that they hold interesting information and research data that could be
showcased in the centre. However, the final shape of any tourism proposition needs to be spelled out in the implementation plan and benchmarked
against the existing market. This plan should then be used to attract partners and investors from both the public and private sectors.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

4.4 Experience Elsewhere

When investigating the feasibility of a new visitor concept, it is essential to make comparisons with similar ventures elsewhere in order to learn from
their successes and failures. To achieve this, we approached the following parties:

- Portrush Visitors Centre, Northern Ireland;

- Space Expo in Noordwijk, The Netherlands;
- Darling Marine Center, Maine, USA;
- Huntsman Aquarium, St. Andrews, Canada;
- New England Aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Please refer to Appendix H for detailed accounts of our findings.

The key conclusion is that it is possible to draw a substantial number of visitors (both tourists and school children) to a relatively small centre, provided
it presents interesting ideas and information and is managed in a professional way by staff with relevant expertise.

4.5 “Location, Location, Location”

All real estate agents agree, these are the three most important things about any property, whether private or commercial. The success of the coastal
centre in attracting visitors will depend critically on selecting the right site, e.g. ease of access from main roads and tourism routes, parking for cars
and buses, proximity to other visitor attractions / activities or to visitor services such as shops and restaurants.

Following discussions with the public at the workshop as well as with officials of the County Council and Town Council, three locations in the Buncrana
area have been identified as being “possibly suitable”. However, no local consensus emerged on the best location. Therefore, as consultants, we are
not in a position to definitively recommend a particular site. However, in figure 4.1 below, we have set out broad criteria that may be of assistance in
making a final selection about the three locations we were shown. This, of course, will be heavily influenced by local discussions on a new local area
plan (which may also identify new sites for consideration).

The following three locations have been viewed by us and are considered in some detail below. These are:
- Adjacent to Buncrana Harbour;
- Adjacent to Leisure Centre, Buncrana;
- Adjacent to Fort Dunree Military Museum.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

The first location is on the South side of Buncrana and is situated near the Ferry landing point. The second location is near the centre of Buncrana and
lies on the shore of Lough Swilly. Much of the town could be easily assessed on foot from both of these locations. The third site is near the Fort
Dunree Military Museum, some 15 minutes drive North of Buncrana. This latter setting is very rural, scenic and natural but access is difficult.

These three locations have been evaluated below based on the following criteria: accessibility; distance from other towns / cities; presence of local
population; presence of accommodation; proximity to other attractions. In scoring the locations a scale of 1 to 4 has been used, based on the following:

- 4 if very favourable / 3 if favourable / 2 if impact neutral / 1 if unfavourable.

CRITERIA AdjacentHarbour, Adjacent Leisure Centre, Adjacent Fort Dunree,

Buncrana Buncrana Dunree
Accessibility 4 4 2
(easy by car or boat) (easy by car & on foot) (only by car)
Distance from other towns / cities 3 3 2
(Derry & Letterkenny) (Derry & Letterkenny) (Buncrana and to lesser extent
Derry & Letterk.)
Presence of local population 3 3 1
(Buncrana) (Buncrana) (limited except Buncrana nearby)
Presence of accommodation 3 3 2
(various) (various) (various in Buncrana)
Proximity to other attractions 3 3 2
(Golf, Leisure, Tullyarvan Mill) (Golf, Leisure, Tullyarvan Mill) (near Fort)
Tourist potential 3-4 3-4 2
(near to town centre and ferry, on LS (very near to town centre, on LS (near Fort, spectacular setting)
shore) shore)

Figure 4.1: Possible criteria for final selection of the most suitable location of the Swilly Centre.

Based on this it is suggested that Dunree is the least suitable site. Either site in Buncrana could be used. This accords with the opinion expressed by
the public at the workshop. Taking account of these findings, a final decision should be taken by Buncrana Town Council in consultation with its

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

4.6 ICZM Role of the Centre

4.6.1 Environmental Backdrop:

Over the years it has become apparent that many coastal resource users are increasingly experiencing difficulties with the sustainable usage of those
resources. Over the last century rapid economic development and population growth has taken place in the coastal areas of many countries which,
combined with technological advances in methods for marine resource exploitation, has led to greatly increased pressure on coastal resources and
those who depend on them (Govan et al, 1995). Conflicts with other coastal resource users are not uncommon as the pressure on those resources
continues to grow.

Various agencies around the world are calling for intervention and measures to counteract negative trends affecting the coastal zone and marine
environment. The following gives an overview of some of the more significant changes and impacts in the coastal and marine environment.

- Population growth and demographic dynamics

- Decreasing marine biodiversity
- Deterioration of the marine environment
- Diseases and pathogens
- Deteriorating fish stocks
- Pressure on coastal resources due to urban development
- Adverse effects on job opportunities
- Pollution and others threats.

The figure below clearly illustrates that coastal zones are amongst the most highly impacted regions across the globe and that expectations are that
those impacts will continue to increase. In particular, the extent to which habitat change and pollution are impacting the biodiversity along the coastal
zones is to be regarded as alarming. Without a concerted effort by all, coastal and marine environments are likely to be under increasing pressure over
the next decade.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Figure 4.2: Biodiversity impact matrix (source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment).

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

4.6.2 Information as a Catalyst for Change:

If the generations to come are to be granted the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the wonders and splendours of the seas and oceans, joint
responsibility will have to be taken now by society to conserve and protect the resources that remain. The concerns expressed above emphasize the
need for a deliberate and conscientious approach to managing the coastal resources that still remain and, as far as possible, restoring negatively
impacted areas and species. The mood and concerns described above are not unique to the Lough Swilly area. Around the globe numerous initiatives
have been and are being undertaken to satisfy this need: bay management (Portland, USA), marine planning initiative (St. Andrews, Canada), Kust
2002 Plan (Belgium), Schémas de Mise en Valeur de la Mer (France), Mediterranean Action Plan (Greece), Life-project RICAMA - Rational for
Integrated Coastal Area Management (Abruzzo, Italy), Integrale kustvisie (The Netherlands), etcetera. These approaches share a common goal: to
maintain, restore or improve the quality of coastal and marine resources and the societies they support by defining common objectives and providing
programmes for the protection and sustainable management of coastal resources and environments. Over the years this approach has become most
commonly known as Integrated Coastal Zone Management, ICZM in short.

4.6.3 Vision for a Better Future:

ICZM, specifically tailored for the community and the resources of Lough Swilly, could become a platform for the sharing of ideas and opinions,
educating and informing the community. The coastal education centre, as a physical entity, could act as a focal point or catalyst to facilitate this
approach, both for the community and visitors, providing facilities for education and convening. Therefore, the centre can be a showcase for the Swilly
coastal resource and simultaneously be a platform for the sustainable management of that resource.

The centre can have both direct and indirect economic benefits to the region. Direct benefits will be generated through schools and tourists visiting the
centre. The centre itself will also create direct employment. In the long term, indirect economic benefits will be generated through the education of
children visiting the centre, ultimately contributing to sustainable use of coastal and marine resources in Co. Donegal.

Finally, it will be important to choose a suitable name for the centre: one that takes account of the need to stand out in a crowded tourism market and
at the same time resonate with research bodies, schools and users of the Lough as a centre that makes a real input to marine / coastal education and
management. If a title such as “Coastal Research & Education Centre Lough Swilly” is used it runs the risk that many visitors will not realise it is a
tourism centre. While a consensus needs to be reached with the local community, we suggest that a working title such as “Marine Discovery Centre
Lough Swilly” be used for the implementation / business plan. A title of this type suggests tourism, education and research functions and this, or a
name along these lines, should be acceptable to local stakeholders, prospective investors and customers.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Through trial and error, experience has been built up over the past decade regarding ICZM and the establishment of facilities similar to the Coastal
Centre envisaged for Lough Swilly. Our report has endeavoured to extract key lessons from this experience in reaching conclusions on the best way to
advance the project. The following are our three main conclusions on feasibility with attendant recommendations to take the project forward.

Conclusion 1 – Overall Project Feasibility

In overall terms, the Centre is feasible. Buncrana is a very suitable location. Lough Swilly is one of the finest examples of natural estuarine-marine habitat in
Ireland and is undoubtedly a very attractive visitor destination that to date is relatively unknown in international tourism terms.
o Question marks hang over the viability of building a large expensive centre that includes research facilities such as a laboratory, wet rooms, storage
tanks, seawater pumping facilities, quarantine, disease control facilities and so forth. It is difficult to see a Research Centre at Buncrana as anything other
than duplication of existing research facilities elsewhere.
o If the right site can be found, Buncrana appears to be a very suitable venue for a shore-based facility linked to a tour vessel. It may be prudent to split the
necessary investment into phases, e.g. start with a small education centre and accompanying tour vessel with scope to expand after five years or so if
sufficient demand emerges.
o Implementation will depend on financial support, particularly under the NDP tourism and environment programmes 2007-2013. The EU Commission is
expected to publish proposals for a new maritime policy in 2006/7, and it is anticipated that this will include major support for ICZM and Marine Spatial
Planning (MSP). It is also anticipated that this will be framed as an EU Directive after a period of consultation with national governments, linked to
existing environmental regulations under Natura 2000 and the EC Water Framework Directive. In this context, we feel that the implementation plan for
the Swilly Centre should be postponed until the details of the Commission’s Maritime Policy and the forthcoming NDP are known. In the meantime,
Donegal County Council should work with the University of Ulster to explore funding opportunities to develop a cross-border project on Marine Spatial
Planning including the appointment of a project officer to drive it.

Recommendation on Project Implementation

A. Await the publication of the EC Maritime Policy before deciding on the final form of the Swilly proposal.
B. The Centre should concentrate on education and tourism. There is insufficient scope for a research function at this stage (see conclusions 2 and 3 below for
further detail on this).
C. Donegal County Council should work with the University of Ulster and other interested parties to develop an MSP framework for Lough Swilly, including the
appointment of a project officer to work with local stakeholders (to develop the Council’s planning function in the coastal environment) and to drive the
development of the Swilly Centre as a maritime education and tourism facility.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Conclusion 2 –Feasibility of Research Proposal

Valuable lessons regarding the implementation of ICZM approaches have already been learned through numerous initiatives around the world. Based on
those experiences, three key areas of best-practice influencing the effectiveness of ICZM can be distinguished as follows:

- Policy, planning, management and decision making:

o Integrate decision-making between different departments and sectors to ensure that policies are focused on protection of coastal and marine
o Include sound management of coastal and marine resources in all regional planning decisions;
o Establish additional protected areas, particularly in coastal and marine systems, and provide greater financial and management support to those
that already exist;
o Use all relevant forms of knowledge and information about coastal and marine resources in decision-making, including the knowledge of the local
- Individual behaviour:
o Provide public education on why and how to manage coastal and marine resources;
o Give people access to information about ecosystems and decisions affecting their services;
o Grant people the opportunity to take responsibility by allowing them to participate in the decision making process.
- Technology and know-how:
o Invest in science and technology aimed at improving the management of coastal and marine resources with minimal harmful trade-offs;
o Restore degraded ecosystems;
o Promote technologies that positively contribute to the preservation, restoration and management of coastal & marine resources.

Recommendation on ICZM and Marine Spatial Planning

A. Lough Swilly does not currently have the basis for an ICZM strategy as only limited aspects of the 3 key areas of best-practice outlined above are
currently in place.
B. The Swilly Centre is unlikely to attract tenants to use research facilities as good labs already exist in Letterkenny, Derry, Coleraine, Galway, Dublin etc.
Therefore, in our opinion, the building should not include expensive laboratory or research facilities.
C. Marine Spatial Planning is the primary starting point in the development of ICZM. Hence, we recommend the appointment of a Project Officer to work
with Donegal County Council, Buncrana Town Council and Local Stakeholders to develop a marine spatial plan for Lough Swilly. Subsequently, this can
be merged with terrestrial land-based planning to develop an integrated plan for the coastal area around Lough Swilly and beyond, i.e. an ICZM plan;
D. Linkages should be developed with marine research bodies (e.g. Marine Institute, University Ulster, BIM, Letterkenny IT, EPA, etc) to develop the
concept of ICZM on Lough Swilly. An effort should be made to link with the Northern Ireland ICZM process;
E. Opportunities for international, interregional and national funding to assist in implementing these recommendations (preferably in advance of building the
centre) should be pursued with suitable partners.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study
Conclusion 3 – Feasibility of Education and Tourism Proposals
Discussion with the agencies that participated in the trip to North America, observation of visitor attractions elsewhere, and feedback received from the public workshop held
in Buncrana have helped us to identify a set of principles on which an education & tourism programme can be based.

- Focus on educating the next generation:

o One of the key functions of the centre should be to educate and inform future decision-makers on issues relating to management of coastal & marine resources
and to raise awareness among them regarding the impact of mankind’s dependency on those resources;
o Particular attention should be given to the interrelationships between the different activities and interests relying on the available coastal & marine resources,
emphasizing the importance of a joint approach to managing those resources;
o Although experiences elsewhere suggest that similar facilities target mainly 10-year-old primary grade pupils, there is also potential to attract second level school
tours if interesting exhibits are put on linked to the academic curricula;
o The state-of-the-art educational software deployed in GMRI, if replicated in Buncrana, would certainly attract interest from schools on both sides of the border.

- Creating an interesting and practical tourism attraction:

o The small coastal centre in Portrush attracts about 60,000 visitors per season despite having no significant live fish display. It provides information through poster
displays, photographs, notice boards, and models of polluted and unpolluted marine environments. It is located close to the seashore within the town boundary
and provides an observation platform with commentary on local seabirds, fish and mammals that can be seen nearby. The centre works closely with local tour
boat operators to organise trips to sea for visitors. The centre is managed under the auspices of the NI Environment & Heritage Service.
o There are many other relatively small centres with marine themes that attract substantial numbers of visitors annually. Examples include the Dunbrody Famine
Ship in Wexford (100,000 visitors), Hook Lighthouse Centre in Wexford (100,000), the Skelligs Experience in Kerry (65,000) and the Blasket Heritage Centre in
Kerry (65,000). All of these draw on their local marine experience, traditions, history and culture.
o There are almost 80 small tourism vessels operating around the coast of Ireland. If we exclude sea angling and ferries, there are only two large marine tour
vessels in Co. Donegal (Eske Estuary and Lough Foyle). Given the popularity of such tours throughout the world, together with the natural tour venue provided by
Lough Swilly, we consider that there is an excellent opportunity to base a sizeable tour vessel at Buncrana.

Recommendation on Marine Education linked to Boat Tours on Lough Swilly

A. The visitor focus of the Centre should be to showcase information on the Swilly Marine & Coastal Environment. This could include exhibitions of equipment used in local
fishing and aquaculture including traditional techniques and boats, information and exhibits relating to marine archaeology and history, maps and photographs of the
Lough showing key features above and below the water line, information on the state of local fish stocks including salmon and shellfish, and the latest sea bed mapping
information from research agencies such as the Marine Institute. See chapter 3 opportunity maps as examples of available data.
B. The educational focus of the Centre (for visitors and students) should be to inform people about the interaction of humans with the marine environment. This should
embrace everything from local fish species to mammals to water quality to seabed mapping to coastal erosion to climate change to marine spatial planning to integrated
coastal zone management. The education programme should be as interactive as possible, using latest visual technology such as that used at the Gulf of Maine
Research Institute. There is scope to work with the Marine Institute, BIM, Dept Parks & Wildlife, Regional Fisheries Board, local third level colleges and key agencies on
both sides of the border to exhibit the information they possess about marine & coastal processes.
C. Set an annual visitor target of c.60,000 in the medium term using a relatively small building similar in size to the centre at Portrush (with room to expand at a later date).
D. Using savings on building scale, invest in a substantial tour vessel to carry about 50 passengers (with itineraries linked to the Centre’s education and interpretative
Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Cordah Ltd (2001) Indicators to Monitor the Progress of ICZM: a review of world-wide practice. Countryside and Natural Heritage Research
Programme Research Findings No. 8, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh.

Cummins, V., O’Mahony, C. and Connolly, N. 2004. Review of Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Principles of Best Practice. The Heritage

Gubbay, 2002. Just Coasting: An assessment of the commitment of the develoved administrations and the English regions to Integrated Coastal
Management, Wildlife Trusts and WWF.

Knecht, R.W. and Archer, J. 1993. Integration in the US Coastal Management Program. Ocean and Coastal Management, 21, 183-200.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


United Kingdom

Background information
Like most other countries the United Kingdom does not have any overall national ICZM legislation. “Management of the coast therefore falls under the
realm of certain statutory and non-statutory instruments which guide the individual sectors rather than geographical areas. The procedure employed is
basically top-down but recognises voluntary initiatives whereby local voluntary forums work within the bounds of national, sectorally-driven legislation,
towards the goal of achieving sustainable coastal management” (Source EHU).

The responsibility for the management of the coast is fragmented and divided over a large number of public institutions, which include local authorities
and government departments. A number of national and local statutory bodies such as the Crown Estate Commissioners, the Environmental Agency,
English Nature, the Countryside Commission and harbour authorities are also involved in the management of the coast.

Following a critical report from the House of Commons Environment Select Committee in 1992 the government produced review documents and a
guide to promote best practice in the management of the English coast. A coastal forum was established in 1994. This forum, unfortunately, lacked
focus and has failed to meet on a regular basis. The Scottish Coastal Forum and the Wales Coastal and Maritime Partnership, however, are very
active groups. Northern Ireland has just recently (June 2006) adopted an ICZM strategy, including establishment of a coastal forum. It remains to be
seen how effective this becomes (see more detail at section 2.3).

Despite good intentions these forums have had limited success in influencing government policy and in facilitating action on the ground. This is partly
due to the voluntary nature of the forums. These forums have been successful in initiating and facilitating dialogue and in providing an opportunity for
networking (Gubbay, 2002).

Several of the earlier mentioned EU demonstration programmes took place in the United Kingdom. The completion of these programmes along with
the recommendations from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers on ICZM in Europe generated renewed interesting addressing the
issue of ICZM policy in the United Kingdom.

Lessons learnt relevant to ICZM

- An important issue with regard to planning policy guidance is that guidance documents do not have the same level of weight or impact as
legislation. The documents have an advisory status which may or may not lead to new initiatives. In order for ICZM to be truly effective a
coordinating body with its own powers and mandates had to be established.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

- Another issue with planning guidance documents in relation to ICZM is that, because they are aligned to the land use planning system, they
inevitably have a landward focus.
- Although awareness is growing, ICZM maintains a relatively low profile.
- The impact of national coastal fora is achieving limited success at the local level. The influence of these fora is weak when it comes to impact on
government policy. “The existence of coastal fora characterises the approach to ICZM in the UK, indicating a level of goodwill towards finding
solutions for coastal management” (Source EHU).
- Current efforts regarding ICZM are not directly committed to reshaping the existing structures or to implementing any new specific legislation.
Instead there seems to be a focus on the development of an overarching vision for the future of the coastline. This vision will in turn be
underpinned by a set of integrated strategies for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for 2006.

Lessons learnt relevant to the geographical location of the centre

ICZM programmes are implemented by coastal partnerships at the sub national level in an ad hoc manner. Local coastal partnerships play a very
important role in the implementation of ICZM throughout the UK. It seems likely that the implementation of ICZM will occur more effectively if the
Coastal Research & Education Centre is easily accessible to these partnerships. In order to determine the most likely location of the centre,
information will have to be gathered with regard to where these partnerships are active. In addition valuable lessons can be learned from the success
of these partnerships by analysing their outcomes and outputs and by studying their structures and sustainability.

The Netherlands

Background information
There is a long tradition of integrated planning in the Netherlands as a result of the population density and high economic development pressures.
Planning frameworks for all sectors are made at a national level and they are usually tuned to each other because their development is a long process
involving many stakeholders, ministries and the Parliament. Cicin-Sain and Knight (1998) consider the Netherlands the world leader in ICM for coastal
defence and in harmonisation of national coastal and ocean policies (van Elburg-Velinova et al., 1999).

Traditionally, coastal policy in the Netherlands concerned safety from flooding. Following the storm surge disaster of 1953, coastal policy mainly
focused on the objective to bring all sea defences to a predefined safety level; the so-called delta strength. During the 60's, 70's and 80's dikes and
dunes were strengthened and tidal inlets were closed by dams. From the mid 70's the policy perspective of the Delta Project gradually widened.
Ecological arguments were included in decision making. Similarly, during the 80's the scope of coastal policy gradually extended towards other
functions. Once the Delta safety levels had been established along the coast, structural coastal erosion problems received increasing attention. The
need to maintain structural integrity of the coast in order to ensure sustainability of all coastal functions, called for a new coastal policy (Van
Koningsveld et al, 2003). In order to stop any further structural recession of the coastline the Dutch government initiated the development of a new

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

coastal policy, at the end of the 80's. In 1990 the Dutch Government adopted the national policy of “Dynamic Preservation” (Min V&W, 1990). The
strategic objective was: to guarantee a sustainable safety level and sustainable preservation of values and functions in the dune area.

In light of global climate change and corresponding sea level rise an inventory was made recently of the entire coastline to determine the current safety
level. Various weak links in the coastline were identified requiring immediate attention. The national government has set itself a twofold objective for
the coastal areas. Firstly, public safety from flooding must be guaranteed. This will be done by maintaining and improving the coastal foundations
(which carry the dunes and dykes) and by strengthening 8 high-priority weak links in the sea defences. Secondly, the unusual character of the
coastline must be preserved. Large sections of the coast are protected nature reserves or water collection areas. Both objectives are influential in the
coastal towns. Rising sea levels may make it necessary in future to reserve more space for strengthening the sea defences. At the same time, the
growing population and economy demand space. The national government has delegated the task of resolving the weak links to the provincial
governments. Before doing so the national government emphasized that the studies to be conducted were to focus on two central themes, being the
safety of the hinterland and the spatial quality. This implies that all spatial functions (recreation and tourism, urban and rural living, etc) have to be
taken into full consideration.

Lessons learnt relevant to ICZM

- In light of large scale decentralisation plans the national government has over the last decade delegated numerous tasks and responsibilities to the
regional and local governing bodies. This is also the case for tasks and responsibilities regarding ICZM. The focus on the weak links over the past
few years has revealed that the decentralisation process has left uncertainties in the management of the coastal zone. One such uncertainty
concerns the orientation of the measures to be taken. At the moment it is conceivable that in province A all the measures may have a seaward
orientation whereas in province B all the measures may have a landward orientation. An approach is required through whereby the plans being
developed by the different provinces can be compared and tuned.
- It is important for government to emphasise what is required, stressing the importance of conducting both a stakeholder and network analysis.

Lessons learnt relevant to the geographical location of the centre

Just recently the reorganisation of Alterra2 has resulted in plans to move its facilities on the northern island of Texel to the mainland city of Den Helder.
The choice of more centrally located Den Helder was based on various benefits:
1. The presence of related research centres;
2. Located on the border of the North Sea and Wadden Sea allowing the centre to benefit from a wider range of EU Structure Funds;
3. Compensation being offered by the national government;
4. Accessibility via public transportation.

Alterra is a research institute for the green living environment. It offers a combination of practical and scientific research in a multitude of disciplines related to the green world around us and the
sustainable use of our living environment.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Background information
The invitation to Romania to start negotiations for accession to the European Union (EU) created a new perspective for enhancing harmonisation in
economic development and care for the environment. Since 1999, the process of incorporating environmental protection measures into sector
development policies accelerated as did the need to strengthen national and local institutional capacity to implement and enforce the provisions of the
newly transposed legislation. Romania also intended to comply with the “European Parliament and of the Council Recommendation concerning the
implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe”, issued on 30 May 2002 (hereinafter called “EU Recommendation”). The most
important reasons are:

- The coastal zone of Romania will experience increasing pressures on natural resources and on its rich and diverse, but vulnerable, terrestrial and
marine ecosystems due to increasing human pressures (population increase, urbanization, growth in agriculture, fisheries, industry, trade and
tourism, et cetera);
- The coastal area of Romania is, and increasing will serve as, one of the backbones of the national economy but at the same time is and will be
characterized by stronger competition for land and marine resources and available space for the various stakeholders, which could increasingly
result in conflicts and destruction of the functional integrity of the resource system;
- The need to deal in the future with the impacts of climate change in combination with finding adaptive responses.

As a consequence, a coastal management system needed to be put in place: a system of co-ordinated relationship among people who live in and use
the area, policy makers and managers whose decisions and actions affect the behaviour of coastal people and the way coastal resources are being
used, and the scientific community who study the coastal area and are able to provide valuable data in various fields needed for proper planning and

Lessons learnt relevant to ICZM

- If ICZM is to be achieved, an institutional framework must exist across planning and sector agencies. In other words, an answer is needed to the
questions: who does what and on the basis of what mandate?
- Government institutions are the main actors in the coastal management process. However, the various government institutions –at various levels
of administration- perform services and operate programs on the basis of different mandates and laws often containing different goals, objectives
and policies. At least 3 factors tend to complicate institutional co-operation:
1. Government institutions in different sectors will probably have different orientations and goals and thus different interests;
2. Different levels of government will probably have different priorities;
3. Different government institutions at different administrative levels are guided by different mandates (tasks, responsibilities and powers).

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

- One of the main challenges in ICZM is to fashion ways to ensure that actions of government institutions, involving other stakeholders, are
harmonized with one another and are consistent with agreed goals and objectives (derived from the coastal strategy). Hence, the challenge is to
devise an institutional mechanism that can co-ordinate the myriad organizations involved in coastal issues to be able to guide processes and steer
developments into the stated directions to achieve desired goals and objectives.
- Because the real value of coastal zone management lies in “what happens on the ground” and because this will be mainly the responsibility of
existing regional and local sector agencies, sources of long-term financing have to be secured by (a) the routine budget allocations to these sector
agencies and (b) through local taxes, duties and specific charges (e.g. water charge, fees for environmental licences, tourism tax, etc).
- Legislation that is to be developed or adjusted has to:
1. Facilitate integrated coastal zone management, starting from a long-term / multi-sector strategic level and perspective down to an
implementation level and perspective (medium term policy and short term programs of measures);
2. Facilitate the required strict legislation/regulation for the land –water interface, the coastal strip;
3. Facilitate the operational establishment of all associated organisations, clearly identifying mandates (responsibilities, tasks, powers and
means) as agreed upon during the process of strategy preparation and as presented to the members of the National Committee for the
Coastal Zone on March 16th 2005;
4. Clearly identify the coastal zone, including its sub-zones, in topographical and other official maps (amongst others through a Geographical
Information System);
5. Facilitate the effective working of relevant related legislation as laid down in existing laws and regulation under the mandates of existing
government agencies.

Lessons learnt relevant to the geographical location of the centre

- The management of the Romanian coastal zone involves multiple problems and sources of problems. The users of the coastal zone have multiple
objectives and often have conflicting desires regarding the use of coastal resources. Different productive capacities that vary over space and time
and that possess greater or lesser linkages to upstream areas or beyond have to be balanced. But also multiple stakeholders with varying
management responsibilities in the aspects of the coastal zone have to be coordinated.
- The coastal system that needs to be managed is a complex, dynamic web of interrelationships among all human activities, demands of society,
available natural resources and external natural and human influences. So, if sustainable development of the coastal zone is to be more than an
unachievable ideal, considerable efforts have to be made to create the right links in this “complex, dynamic web of interrelationships” and fashion a
way to plan and manage its components. An important question to keep in mind with regard to the location of the Swilly Coastal Research &
Education Centre is “who will be the main audience?” For an effective coordination of activities and interrelationships it is advisable to locate the
centre as close to the main audience as possible.
- Monitoring the state of the coastal zone is one of the activities that should be carried out within the context of ICZM. This implies choosing a
location somewhere near the coastline.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Background information
The development of the offshore petroleum industry in Norway from the 1970’s led to a growing awareness of the need for effective management. The
need for international and national planning and coordination for the new offshore industry was given top priority on the national political agenda at the
time. “Subsequently, the political focus on managing marine and coastal affairs resulted from increased pressures of coastal development and the
rapid growth in aquaculture” (Source EHU). Recently there has been a great interest in coastal zone planning in Norway, mostly motivated by the huge
increase in the numbers of fish farms which led to the first initiatives for planning in marine areas. There is no problem of coastal defence as most of
the shoreline comprises very steep hard rock.

Although there is no overall national legislation specifically for coastal management in Norway, the Planning and Building Act 1985 (PBA) does provide
for a unitary system of planning. It applies to the whole country, including watercourses and into the marine area as far as a defined baseline. Norway
is one of the few countries which promotes an integrated planning system for both terrestrial and marine areas, although in practice implementation
has often been problematic and it has taken considerable time to develop and agree new methods for planning in the marine area. The situation is
further complicated by several sectoral laws and one of the main planning challenges is the integration between these laws. The Ministry of Fisheries
and the Ministry of Environment have both produced guidelines encouraging integrated and sustainable planning in the coastal zone (Bridge et al.,

County councils in Norway have a responsibility to produce regional plans - a County Plan, which consists of a set of objectives and long-term
guidelines for development in the region. These plans are not strictly legally binding but are intended to guide the municipal level (the communes) in
their actions and planning and may be used as basis for objections to the legally binding municipality plans. The framework of the Planning & Building
Act is sufficiently flexible to allow County plans to adapt national policies to the regional and local conditions and allow for alteration to accommodate
changing circumstances. Each commune is required to produce a Commune or Master Plan for the onshore area and, although not mandatory, they
are strongly advised to include the marine area. These plans are legally binding and have built-in mechanisms for public participation. They follow the
tradition of decentralisation by placing planning responsibility in local communities. Since 1985 the final approval of commune Master Plans has been
delegated to the communes themselves, providing national and county authorities do not object to the plans.

Lessons learnt relevant to ICZM

- Several counties have prepared Coastal Zone Plans in association with communes and sectoral interests, particularly fishing. The experience of
preparing these plans has highlighted the need for co-operation and integration between sectors and levels of administration and especially across
municipal and county boundaries.
- ICZM exists primarily within the framework of county/municipal planning. This facilitates the development of locally specific coastal management

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

- Integrated spatial planning dealing with the lead/sea divide is dealt with in Norway through a process of decentralised planning. Norway is one of
the few countries in Europe with a framework for marine spatial planning.
- Despite a decentralised approach to spatial planning, the state retains a strong position in the Norwegian governing process. The state is called
upon as the final decision maker when problems arise.
- Public rights of access and restrictions on development within 100m of the shoreline are dealt with by traditional rights of way and policy guidelines
respectively (Source EHU).

Lessons learnt relevant to the geographical location of the centre

- Because of a lack of a national policy on ICZM, the success of ICZM depends on the motivation and commitment of various coastal municipalities.
This leads to various levels of implementation in the coastal process as a result of a range of resources and development pressures between
municipal areas. In this case the importance of the coastal municipalities would suggest that a location for the centre nearby the most populated
coastal municipalities would be most effective.


Background information
The coastal zone of Australia is 36 000 km long, not including external territories. The wide ranging climatic, geological and oceanographic regimes
and interacting mix of terrestrial, estuarine and marine ecosystems support a wealth of biodiversity. Coastal biodiversity supports the resource base for
a broad range of commercial and non-commercial activities. The Australian coastal zone is a focus of major economic, industrial and social activity.
Australians are giving increased value to lifestyle choices in the coastal zone with more than 86% of the population now living near the coast and even
more visiting coastal areas regularly (Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, 2003).

The State of the Environment Report (2001) notes that while there are continued efforts to improve coastal management responses, coastal zone
condition is not significantly improving and, against a number of criteria, continues to decline. Pressures on coastal resources are increasing at a rate
exceeding the time necessary for damaged environments to stabilise and be repaired.

Australia’s States and Northern Territory have developed and continue to improve legislative, policy and program responses to meet the management
challenges associated with increasing pressures in the coastal zone. It is recognised that there are specific coastal issues that would benefit further
from complementary arrangements between jurisdictions under a national approach. The Framework for a National Cooperative Approach to
Integrated Coastal Zone Management provides a mechanism to encourage complementary arrangements to build on the successes and the
momentum established through current State and Territory coastal management initiatives.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

ICZM is conducted at three levels: federal, state and local level. State governments became more active in coastal management in the 1970’s. The
first federal National Ocean’s Policy (NOP) was enacted in 1998. Local governments have long experience in dealing with coastal issues (Source

Lessons learnt relevant to ICZM

- Many important initiatives have got underway in Australia in the last decade to address integrated management of marine and coastal resources
and to ensure the protection and sustainability of the environment.
- The establishment of Marine Protected Areas to conserve marine biodiversity has been an important measure towards sustainable management.
- Australians have been proactive in the adoption of an ecosystem approach to management, including consideration of a broad range of economic,
social and cultural aspirations.
- The development of Australia’s National Oceans Policy has been a major response to the fragmentation of marine management responsibilities. It
does not go far enough, however, to cater fully for the problems that exist in the management of coastal areas.
- The implementation of the National Oceans Policy represents a major financial commitment on behalf of the federal government.
- Coastal management is well catered for at the state and local level. New South Wales provides a particularly good example of the implementation
of ICZM via coastal management committees (Source EHU).

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Coastal Research and Education Centre - Workshop November 2nd 2005 List of attendees

Name Organisation
Ronan O’Doherty Aqua Shellfish
Danny Bradley Atlanfish
Owen Doyle BIM
Liam Magee Buncrana Chamber of Commerce
Matthew Gleeson Buncrana Chamber of Commerce
Daragh Lalor Buncrana Town Council
Dermot Mc Laughlin Buncrana Town Council
Joe Doherty Buncrana Town Council
Nicholas Crossan Buncrana Town Council
Paul Bradley Buncrana Town Council
Peter Mc Laughlin Buncrana Town Council
Rose Cullen Buncrana Town Council
Mike Murphy Cross Border Aquaculture Initiative
Peter Mc Groary Cross Border Aquaculture Initiative
Peadar Mc Groary Divisional Manager, Water & Environment, DCC
John Doherty Doherty Roe Milk Vendors Ltd, Ballymacarry
JJ Mc Daid Figary Watersports, Fahan Marina
Marian Mc Daid Figary Watersports, Fahan Marina
Nancy Doherty Figary Watersports, Fahan Marina
Rockey (Robert) Ivers Fisherman, Lower Dunaff, Clonmany
Alan Browne Inch Island Shellfish, Buncrana
Cecil Browne Inch Island Shellfish, Buncrana
Dermot Browne Inch Island Shellfish, Buncrana

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Coastal Research and Education Centre - Workshop November 2nd 2005 List of attendees

Name Organisation
Kenny Brown Inch Island Shellfish, Buncrana
Simon Robinson Inch Island Shellfish, Buncrana
Cllr Bernard McGuinness Inishownen Electoral Area
Cllr Padraig MacLochlainn Inishownen Electoral Area
Denis Kearney Leenan Keel, Clonmany
Gillian Gallagher Marine and Water Leisure, Donegal County Council
Jessica Hodgson Marine and Water Leisure, Donegal County Council
Kevin O'Connor Marine and Water Leisure, Donegal County Council
Vincent Lynn Marine Engineer, DCC
Catherine Mc Manus Marine Harvest
Seamas Doherty Member of public
John Henry Mc Laughlin North West Chartered Skippers Assoc
Francis O' Donnell Northern Regional Fisheries Board
Harry Lloyd, CEO Northern Regional Fisheries Board
Peter Kelly Northern Regional Fisheries Board
Bernard Mc Callion Railway Road, Buncrana
Eric Huyskes Royal Haskoning
John Mulcahy Save the Swilly Group
Tony Morrison, Chairman Save the Swilly Group / Buncrana Anglers Association
George O'Hagan Swilly Lifeboat
Andrew Cooper University Ulster Coastal Research Group
John Mc Kenna University Ulster Coastal Research Group
Alec Carlin Wild Oyster Society Ltd
Danny Toland Wild Oyster Society Ltd

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


In the following the most important comments / issues raised at the Workshop of 2 November 2005 are presented. We have ordered these as follows:
- Opportunity Mapping approach;
- ICZM for Lough Swilly;
- Research and Education Centre;
- Other.
In various cases we have also included comments given by ourselves on the evening.


Comments / issues raised Consultants’ Comments

For various criteria, threshold levels have been defined to These all have a certain reasoning behind them (e.g. time to travel).
determine scores. How?

NI is the “hinterland” of Buncrana and should be taken into This is indeed a drawback of our approach and this will be made good
consideration. Buncrana is “Derry on Sea”. qualitatively.

It should be noted that substantial investments are also

underway to upgrade the roads in Innishowen.

The ferry connecting Innishowen to NI has this summer had its We will take this on board qualitatively.
1 millionth passenger after only three and half years.

Road to Buncrana (Bridge End – Buncrana) is classified as

National Secondary within the County Development Plan.

How much does the opportunity mapping approach prove The method is not based on science, but attempts to identify potentials.
regarding the suitability of Buncrana. The actual feasibility will be further defined in subsequent phases.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Comments / issues raised Consultants’ Comments
Lough Swilly has a sewage problem. Water quality is an information gap.

What is the economic potential of seaweed? Detailed info not readily available, but demand is growing.

BIM would like to contribute to an overarching coastal zone management initiative.


Comments / issues raised Consultants’ Comments
The Centre will have to be pro-active in progressing ICZM.

The Centre should display real live things as well as have digital information.
The Centre should have wet-labs.
The Centre should be multi-functional, with benefits to the (local) population.
What involvement will there be re universities? We are consulting with LYIT, University Ulster and others who
may be interested in using or collaborating with the Centre.
The Centre could require an investment of several millions, it should be We will indeed benchmark this against other Centres /
benchmarked against other centres and best practice should be taken on board. attractions.3
To start with the Centre to trigger ICZM is putting the horse before the cart. ICZM4 and the Centre will both be progressed.
Cross-border approach offers funding opportunities.
Input and support from the various departments will be essential.
Combine the function of the Centre with other local initiatives. E.g. Garda Station,
One-stop-shop, etc.
The Centre should have a pier or marina. It should be possible to carry out boat
Generally it was felt that the Centre should be in the centre of Buncrana and
should be accessible on foot. Dunree has some merits but would be too far away.

Not said at the meeting: several examples (comparable as well as less comparable) that will be used to benchmark the Centre are Visitors Centre in Port
Rush, Nautilus (Kilkeel), Alterra Centre (NL), Space Expo (NL) and one or two others.
Authorities in Europe will need to progress matters in 2006 to comply with EU aims.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Comments / issues raised Consultants’ Comments

Not all stakeholders are present.

When will the study be completed? Aim is for December, but this may be too ambitious.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


- Letterkenny Institute of Technology – see questionnaire response in following pages.
- University of Ulster - see questionnaire response in following pages.
- Northwest Institute – no response to questionnaire.
- Limavady College - no response to questionnaire.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Questionnaire Introduction: We are carrying out a feasibility study into a potential coastal management and research centre to be located at Buncrana,
County Donegal. The idea is for the centre to serve several functions in education, research and interpretation related to the coastal and marine
environment. We would like to establish the potential nature and level of interest of third-level institutions in the region in such a facility and have
several questions to gauge your interest. None of the answers will be binding.

Respondent: UU Biotechnology (Prof Geoff McMullan), UU Marine biology (Dr Craig Brown), UU Maritime Archaeology (Dr Colin Breen), UU Coastal
Geomorphology (Dr Derek Jackson), UU Coastal Zone Management (Prof Andrew Cooper).

Would your institution have any interest in such a centre?


What areas of marine and/or coastal research are you involved in that might be pursued in a facility at Buncrana?
Maritime archaeology (resource use, emigration, ancient landscapes)
Biotechnology (novel molecules, microbes)
Coastal geomorphology (sea-level change, sedimentology, geomorphology)
Coastal zone management (legal, administrative and structural aspects)

For how long or over what periods of the year might such a centre be of interest?
Year-round. Dissertation students might use facilities for projects.

What types of facility in the centre would encourage you to use it?
• Seawater supply of high quality and associated marine wet laboratory
• Dry lab and store
• Map and document library
• Computer network
• Marine instrumentation (CTD probes, current meters, wave recorders)
• Meeting room to host seminars
• Boat with technician/skipper

What other factors would stimulate your use of the centre?

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

• Availability of living material (seaweeds, invertebrates, fish)

• Possible links to aquaculture industry
• Conflict resolution in ICZM
• Proximity of diverse and important archaeology
A field station with dormitory accommodation may stimulate use by external educational establishments for training and research, as well as local
interest groups.

What factors would discourage you from using such a centre?


Would you envisage any collaborative research with other institutions in the region? (if so what?)
A co-ordinator to pursue research funding opportunities at the centre could stimulate regional inter-institution research.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Questionnaire Introduction: We are carrying out a feasibility study into a potential coastal management and research centre to be located at Buncrana,
County Donegal. The idea is for the centre to serve several functions in education, research and interpretation related to the coastal and marine
environment. We would like to establish the potential nature and level of interest of third-level institutions in the region in such a facility and have
several questions to gauge your interest. None of the answers will be binding.

Respondent LYIT: Ethna Diver in consultation with colleagues.

Would your institution have any interest in such a centre?


What areas of marine and/or coastal research are you involved in that might be pursued in a facility at Buncrana?

Marine biotechnology (quite well set up at present location – don’t see any immediate uses of Buncrana site – may view development as a threat)

Aquatic ecology – would be interested in facilities for plankton, water and sediment analysis.

For how long or over what periods of the year might such a centre be of interest?

For bringing students on fieldwork during term time at present. In the future, postgraduate students might extend the period of use.

What types of facility in the centre would encourage you to use it?

In the area of aquatic ecology would be interested in facilities for plankton, water and sediment analysis.
A boat for taking students out
A bird hide (depending on location) could enhance site use

What other factors would stimulate your use of the centre?

No Answer

What factors would discourage you from using such a centre?

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

No Answer

Would you envisage any collaborative research with other institutions in the region? (if so what?)

No Answer

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


- Marine Institute
- Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM)
- Northern Regional Fisheries Board (also has a national policy influencing role in association with the other regional boards, the Central Fisheries
Board and its parent government department).

See responses in following pages.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

To : Kevin O’Connor (Donegal County Council)
From : Eric Huyskes, Royal Haskoning
Copy :
Project: : 9R3417.A0/M005/EJH
Date: : 20 June 2006
Re: : ICZM Centre Lough Swilly – Meeting with the
Marine Institute

A meeting with the Marine Institute was arranged for 20 June 2006. This meeting was attended by:
- Michéal Ó Cinnéide (Marine Institute)
- Eugene Nixon (Marine Institute)
- Dr. Ken Whelen (Marine Institute) (via videoconference link)
- Oisin Naughton (Marine Institute) (via videoconference link)
- Kevin O’Connor (Donegal County Council)
- Prof. Andrew Cooper (University of Ulster)
- Eric Huyskes (Royal Haskoning).

The objective of the meeting was threefold:

- to inform the Marine Institute of the initiative and the progress to date;
- to obtain preliminary views from the Marine Institute on this matter;
- to agree on a way forward.
The meeting started with a powerpoint presentation regarding the initiative and progress to date and was followed by discussions.

Initial informal Marine Institute response, recommendations and proposed structures

The Marine Institute showed enthusiasm for the initiative. The general concept of the Centre, the education and tourism aspects and the border
location in particular were seen as key success factors. The Marine Institute however expressed some doubt regarding the research component of the
Centre. Attention will need to be given to the practicalities of how research will be carried out, such that it is also sustainable in the medium to long

The Marine Institute sees a number of possible ways for participation. This could include the initiating and carrying out of pilot studies in aquatic
catchment management / coastal management / marine spatial planning, which may be eligible for funding under the Institute’s RTDI research

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

programme. Furthermore co-operation could also focus on data sharing, providing for example data sets directly relevant to Lough Swilly, but also for
example experiences gained elsewhere (e.g. NI / Clew Bay / Bantry Bay).

Recommendations were made that the Centre should have a service role in the field of ICZM and marine spatial planning. By ensuring that for
example a coastal planning officer from Donegal County Council is based at the Centre, this would enhance possibilities for co-operation and would
provide a solid basis for long term sustainability of the Centre. Establishment of a coastal field station (rather than a national research centre) would be
key to this as well.

It was felt that ownership of the project should be taken by Donegal County Council with the main source of funding coming from the Department of
Environment, Heritage and Local Government on a pilot basis in line with their strategic ICZM objectives. The Marine Institute would probably provide
advice and support to such a pilot.

The Marine Institute specifically pointed out that the views put forward during the meeting were preliminary and informal and that further consideration
of a formal proposal is required to substantiate comments, conclusions and recommendations.

Kind regards,


Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Mr Lloyd represented his board on the study trip to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, USA, in November 2005.

Would your institution have any interest in such a centre?


What areas of marine and/or coastal research are you involved in that might be pursued in a facility at Buncrana?

We would be interested in research or data gathering about wild salmon running the Swilly Catchment, wild shellfish, aquaculture, sea angling species.

For how long or over what periods of the year might such a centre be of interest?

Data gathering would be of interest year-round.

What types of facility in the centre would encourage you to use it?

We probably would not use the centre directly ourselves as we have our own lab facility in Ballyshannon. I envisage that 3rd level institutions such as
UU or LYIT would carry out research on local flora and fauna, which would be of use to us.

What other factors would stimulate your use of the centre?

A schools education programme similar to what we have seen in GMRI would very useful in giving children an understanding of the natural
environment. We would be interested in participating in this via presentations, talks or lectures about species we are responsible for.

What factors would discourage you from using such a centre?

The centre needs to be well planned and managed.

Would you envisage any collaborative research with other institutions in the region? (if so what?)

As per answer above re 3rd level institutions. May also interest the Central Fisheries Board or the Marine Institute with whom we already collaborate

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


- Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) – USA
- St. Andrews Biological Station – Department of Fisheries and Oceans – Canada
- The Dutch National Institute for Research of Seas (NIOZ) – The Netherlands
- The Dutch Institute for Coasts and Sea (RIKZ) – The Netherlands
- Alterra Institute in Den Helder, The Netherlands
- The Technical University of Delft (TUD) – The Netherlands

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


GMRI - General Operation

Don Perkins
Alan Lishness
John Annala
Sarah Kirn
Laura Taylor Springer.
GMRI has a 3-pronged mission: It carries out fisheries research, it educates on marine issues (mainly biology & fisheries) both onsite and through its
website, and it acts as a convening centre for the marine community to discuss and resolve marine conflicts. It hosts a very impressive high-tech
educational facility that can accommodate 50 schoolchildren, and which all children in Maine can attend free of charge. Research labs and general
offices are available for leasing to universities or private companies. A large new biotechnology wing will be added within the next few years. There are
various rooms and facilities available to host community/conflict resolution meetings. The architecture of the general areas of the building (excluding
ground floor labs) strives to be airy and open, and to have as many vistas of the outside, especially the waterfront, as possible. GMRI has also
developed a schools outreach programme called Vital Signs which is being run in both Maine and Ireland (Sarah Kirn is Programme Manager).

Relevance to Buncrana Centre: Scale much greater than envisaged for Buncrana, especially research function. Past and future private funding
available on a scale impossible in Ireland. Nevertheless, Buncrana may well have all three functions (and a website), and could learn a lot from the
GMRI experience. The educational facility is particularly impressive, and Buncrana could host the Vital Signs programme. However, Buncrana could
not be a scaled down replica of GMRI. For example, GMRI does not have a tourist function, i.e. the general public visiting the Portland area cannot
walk in and be educated/informed on marine matters. This latter function will be important to Buncrana. Possible formal collaboration with the
Buncrana centre on research, education and convening functions.

GMRI – Lobster research and Management

Laura Taylor Springer GMRI
Jonathan Grabowski GMRI
Carl Wilson
Terry Stockwell
Frank Straut.
Demonstration of the convening function of GMRI – its closest activity to those associated with ICZM projects in Europe. This demonstration dealt with
the management of the Maine lobster fishery, specifically the relationship between statutory bodies, the research community and the fishermen.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Relevance to Buncrana Centre: Function as an “honest broker” ICZM convening centre to resolve conflicts and disputes. If information gaps are
identified the centre might commission or host relevant research. Possible exchange of information and joint research with Maine fishing industry
through GMRI.

GMRI - Biotechnology.
Ike Levine, University of Southern Maine.
Levine works in labs leased at GMRI.
Commercial seaweed production for extracts useful to industry. Also food source and other applications e.g. potential for inter-relationship with
aquaculture because of ability of seaweeds to remediate their wastes.

Relevance to Buncrana Centre: Development of marine biotechnology in Donegal in general and Lough Swilly in particular, possibly with research
facility in new centre. Possible formal research collaboration and/or exchange of information with Buncrana centre.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Rob Stevenson
Kats Haya
Dave Wildish et al.

St Andrews Biological Station is a research facility run by DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) Canada. It is located on a peninsula jutting out
into the north-west (Canadian) side of Passamaquoddy Bay (inlet off the Bay of Fundy). St. Croix River enters bay to east of this peninsula. Although it
has a clear focus on fisheries research its Environmental Science Section (ESS) is also involved in resolution of conflicts in the Bay, in effect an ICZM

Relevance to Buncrana Centre: Convening conflict-resolution function of an ICZM centre. Possible source of ideas on what kind of research the
Buncrana centre could carry out, and infrastructure required. Possible formal collaboration with the Buncrana centre on research/ICZM management

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


General Introduction

The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) is an independent research institute associated with the Netherlands Organisation for
Scientific Research (NWO).

NIOZ was founded in 1876 and is one of the oldest major European Oceanographic institutions.

Its mission is to pursue curiosity-driven multidisciplinary marine research in coastal and shelf seas as well as in the open ocean through close co-
operation between physicists, chemists, geologists and biologists. Wherever possible, the institute engages in policy-focused and society-driven

At present NIOZ employs 250 staff, 165 of them in permanent positions. It has close contacts with the university research schools and other marine
institutes, in particular with four institutes at Land Bremen (Germany) through NEBROC (Netherlands Bremen Oceanography) and participates in the
education of young researchers in physical and chemical oceanography, marine geology, biology, toxicology and biogeochemistry.

To perform its mission NIOZ has at its disposal laboratories, major experimental facilities and four research vessels for sea-going research. The
institute also has extensive technical support services which invent and construct equipment. The editorial office of the Journal of Sea Research as
well as the core office of LOICZ also reside at the institute.

Main research themes

A large part of our research is dedicated to two themes:

• Natural and Anthropogenic Climate Variability

• Ecology and Sustainability

Within these themes, the focus is on processes and mechanisms determining climate and ecology change. The results are relevant to support
governmental management regarding the input of climate change on the society and the sustainable use of seas and oceans.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Although NIOZ is a scientific institute, it is heavily involved in several types of educational tasks.

The first one is that students in natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, geology and mathematics) can carry out their practical training at the end
of their study. This applies to university students as well as to students from schools of professional education. The work can be carried out in one of
our scientific departments, in our technical workshops, and in some cases also on our ships.

NIOZ also organizes several special courses in marine sciences.

We also made a page with numerous Dutch and foreign educational links which contain a lot of information about the North Sea, the Wadden Sea and
the oceans as a whole.


On 8 December 2005 Royal Haskoning contacted managing Director of NIOZ, Mr J. Smit. Mr Smit indicated that NIOZ at present already co-operates
with the Irish Marine Institute and has visited Galway (also with their vessels) a number of times. Mr Smit in principle is very positive about the initiative
and suggested that we contact the Research Director of NIOZ, Mr Meulenkamp. An e-mail was subsequently sent to Mr Meulenkamp on 8 December.

Mr Meulenkamp subsequently also underlined the interest in the Centre and explained that when more is concrete regarding the Centre at Lough
Swilly, further discussions could take place.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study



On 12 December 2005 Royal Haskoning contacted Mr Hugo Niesing, the EU liason officer of RIKZ who deals with co-operation in the field of ICZM
within the EU. Mr Niesing indicated that RIKZ at present already has some ties with the Marine Institute. He indicated that the initiative in principle is of
interest and requested some information that he could internally discuss. An e-mail was subsequently sent to Mr Niesing on 12 December.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study



On 12 December 2005 Royal Haskoning contacted Mr Han Lindeboom of Alterra. Mr Lindeboom indicated that Alterra is currently in the process of
joining forces with RIVO and TNO to establish “Wageningen Marine”. Wageningen Marine would have a research and education remit in the field of
ICZM. Mr Lindeboom indicated that the initiative in principle is of great interest to Alterra or Wageningen Marine. An e-mail was subsequently sent to
him on 12 December 2005.

His response on 15 December 2005 is given below:

General answer of Mr Lindeboom

At the moment we are studying the possibilities of establishing a centre more or less like this one in The Netherlands. For the Wadden Sea there is
quite some progress, especially since considerable funds (linked with future gas extraction) are now available.
Also for the Dutch part of the North Sea we are developing plans, and in close cooperation with different ministries and other institutes these are
getting more shape.
We also developed a new method to combine data into a system which both for management and science offers an opportunity for a real integrated
approach. This so called EMIGMA (Effect Modelling of Indicators, usage and Management) tool is now being implemented for Wadden Sea and North
Sea, but is also very suited for other waterbodies, as long as long-term data are available.
At the moment, we do not think that we will be direct users of the suggested institute in Ireland, but that cooperation between us could be of great
mutual benefit

Would your institution have any interest in such a centre?

We would like to cooperate and use each others experience to further develop this type of centres in both countries

What areas of marine and/or coastal research are you involved in that might be pursued in a facility at Buncrana?
At the moment we are involved in research in all Dutch marine waters. Several major coastal zone problems are the same as found around Ireland.
We are certainly prepared to share research outcomes and possible management applications and solutions.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Would you envisage any collaborative research with other institutions in the region? (if so what?)
Yes, depending on the issues at hand, I would suggest that the impact of fisheries and the impact of possible climate change are high on the agenda.
We would certainly be very interested in a comparison of climate change impact in the Ireland coastal zone and the Dutch coastal zone. Changes in
oceanic influences are of special interest.

Some more specific questions:

For how long or over what periods of the year might such a centre be of interest?

What types of facility in the centre would encourage you to use it?

What other factors would stimulate your use of the centre?

What factors would discourage you from using such a centre?

As stated before, I think that we would not directly use the centre to carry out research around Ireland. However, we are very much interested in a
cooperation with such a centre. Facilities to accommodate such cooperation would be very stimulating.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Royal Haskoning has approached Professor Marcel Stive of the Technical University of Delft on 15 December 2005 and again in 23 January 2006.
Professor Stive is responsible for the Coastal Engineering section of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences.

Professor Stive is positive about the initiative in Donegal and sees opportunities to co-operate with the Centre by joining forces in research
programmes and for students (at M.Sc. level). Further detailing of the remit of the Centre would be required to further substantiate ways to co-operate.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


- Port Rush Visitors Centre, Northern Ireland

- Space Expo in Noordwijk, The Netherlands
- Various locations in USA and Canada

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Portrush Countryside Centre is managed by Ted Barker

The purpose of the centre is to interpret the natural and cultural environment of Northern Ireland and to promote the work of its owners, the
Environment and Heritage Service, a government agency. Its staff are civil servants (who also fulfil a ranger/wardening role for nature reserves) and
monuments in state care.

To manage the centre purely for its educational and interpretative functions would require a manager, a desk staff of 3 (to enable a rota to be drawn
up) and a number of educators to provide school's programmes. There are health and safety issues and child protection issues that need to be
addressed in establishing staff rotas.

Its visitor numbers are around 60,000 per year during April to October. The centre is closed during the winter months. Typical daily visitor numbers are
300-400. Several events organised during the year each attract over 1500 visitors per day (National Oceans Day etc). Many visitors are chance
visitors who are in Portrush for other reasons but who enter the centre for a browse or to use the toilets. Proximity to the town is the key to large visitor

School visits are popular during April and May (£1 per person). They are pre-booked. A set of pre-defined programmes are available on for example
rocky shore, woodlands etc. Programmes that fit the school curriculum are especially popular. These programmes are pursued both within the centre
and in its surrounds (the adjacent coast serves as a natural display and laboratory for rock pools, sea birds, geology, archaeology).

The display consists of a touch pool where visitors can touch various sealife, and a series of about 10 small fish tanks mounted inside a replica
shipwreck. These contain local fishes. An additional, tropical tank is provided for comparison. The costs of maintaining the tanks is between £10-
20,000 per year and this is contracted out. Fish are caught by the centre staff and are also given from the Portaferry aquarium. The display is now
over 10 years old and is in need of repair.

In a separate room is a video display of a continuously looping video on various aspects of the natural environment. There is a small area at the
reception where interpretative material is sold.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Mr. Wouter van der Kwaak is general manager of Space Expo in Noordwijk. Mr. van der Kwaak was interviewed via telephone on October 10, 2005.
Space Expo is an EU financed centre acting as both a recreational facility and research centre. It is Europe’s first permanent space exhibition. Space
Expo is also the visitors’ centre for the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands, the ESA’s largest technical establishment. More information
regarding this centre can be obtained via the following website: Similar (non ESA) centres/programmes can be found in Belgium
(financed with regional government funding) and the USA (in some cases being sponsored by Coca Cola).

Tourist numbers

Grand total
Noordwijk Space Expo is visited by some 80.000 tourists a year.

Schools: native
Roughly 19 % (15.000) of this grand total consists of school pupils of which 80 to 90 % is 6-12 years old. The number of pupils in the 12-18 year age
group is minimal (0 %). The general consensus is that a school trip for pupils in the 12-18 years range requires more preparation and coordination by
the school teachers. In addition the theme of the trip somehow has to be related to the curriculum being followed by the pupils. The ‘space’ theme is
hardly incorporated in the broad range of curricula available in the Netherlands for this age group. Hence the 12-18 years age group is not considered
to be a target audience for the centre.

Lessons (to be) learned: Check curricula of local and regional schools to determine most likely
age group to visit the centre. To what extent are coastal zone management related topics
included in these curricula?

Schools: foreign
The centre is also visited by organised school trips from the UK. Based on his observations over the previous years mr. Van der Kwaak indicates that
faculties of foreign schools invest more time and effort in the preparation of the trip than schools from the Netherlands. This includes devoting class
time to the specific themes covered in the centre.

Senior citizens
A very small percentage of the visitors is older than 65 years old.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Foreign tourists
The centre is visited by some 5.000 foreign tourists a year (roughly 6 % of the grand total). This number includes the foreign schools. The majority of
these foreign tourists are from Germany, Belgium and the UK and mainly visit the centre during the summer period.

Target audience
The centre primarily targets two audiences:

- Schools (primary education);

- Companies (business events).

Given the innovative and exploratory nature of the centre in combination with the ‘space’ theme it forms an attractive location for business events.
Such events may for example be linked to European or global events and developments or the launch of a rocket.

Lessons (to be) learned: Investigate themes that could be attractive to regional firms
(innovative approach, marine aspects, etc.).

Short term versus long term

Roughly 10 % of the visitors are long term visitors to the region (multiple day stay). These visitors mainly stay in the region during the summer season.
The remaining 90 % of the visitors are short term visitors (single day stay) whose visits are spread out over the year.

Motive and transportation

For the majority of the foreign tourists Space Expo is a ‘bonus’ feature to the programme. The centre is never the primary motive for visiting the
Netherlands or Noordwijk. Being an indoor facility the number of visitors is larger on days with bad weather.

With the exception of the school trips the majority of the tourists come by own transportation. The poor accessibility of the centre via public
transportation is a large disadvantage. There is no doubt that if the accessibility of the centre, through public transportation, had been better, the centre
would have had more visitors each year. The largest part of the tourists originates from the region Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem and Den

Strategy and structure

The centre is in fact a foundation.
On request the facilities are available any time of the day (you ask, we serve). This flexibility is an important ingredient of the success formula.

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study

Students are employed as guides to keep operating costs low.


Visitors Prices
13 years and older € 8,50
4-12 years € 5,50
Groups (at least 20 people)
- 13 years and older € 6,70
- 4-12 years € 4,50
- Primary education € 4,50
- Secondary education € 5,50
Tours per group of 25 persons € 35,-
School tours € 25,-
Space Kids party € 13,-
Surcharge Space Train (not daily) € 3,-

Coastal Research & Education Centre at Lough Swilly: Feasibility Study


Darling Marine Center, Maine

Darling Marine Center (University of Maine) is located at Walpole on the Damariscotta River. Boat tour of oyster farms (some run by ex-graduate
students) and discussion on coastal management issues, but with aquaculture focus, with representative of DMC.

Relevance to Buncrana Centre: Convening conflict-resolution function of an ICZM centre. If information gaps are identified the centre might
commission or host relevant research.

Huntsman Aquarium (Huntsman Marine Science Centre) in St Andrews, Canada.

Jim F. McElman - Manager
The Huntsman Aquarium is located close to the Research Station. It has a somewhat “semi-detached” legal relationship with it, but seems to be
effectively independent. It is critically under-funded and run down. The buildings are in a bad state of repair e.g. leaking roof. There is only one full-time
employee. It is a seasonal operation only, therefore must make its running costs in a short holiday season. It has traditional displays, some of which
lack professional polish, and the general impression is that the concept is 20-30 years past its expiry date. The manager is committed and enthusiastic
but the facility requires substantial re-investment.

Relevance to Buncrana Centre: Illustrates the danger of an interpretative centre becoming outdated, and the problems caused by seasonal basis of
revenue and unreliable funding mechanisms.

New England Aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts

Karen Mize (Marketing & Sales)
The New England Aquarium is one of the biggest in the World: one of only 5 or 6 aquaria that attract over 1million visitors per year.

Relevance to Buncrana Centre: Scale far beyond anything envisaged for Buncrana. Perhaps some ideas can be gained on marketing e.g. NEA has an
explicit outreach programme to schools.