There is currently a resurgence of interest in coastal and marine matters but a lack of appreciation for the wealth of marine life and heritage present on our own coast.
The aim of ‘Coast’ is simply to “celebrate and promote the coastal wildlife, maritime heritage and marine environments of Northern Ireland”.
Northern Ireland has a relatively short coastline – shorter than Cornwall’s coast – and yet it embodies an impressive range of animals, plants and habitats.
Many people, even those who have lived and worked on the coast all their lives, are surprised to learn of the exceptional diversity of environments and wildlife that the region contains.
Extensive sand dunes, high rocky cliffs, sub-tidal reefs and rich mussel beds are all present. Northern Ireland’s coast also provides habitats for a great variety of rare plants, seabirds, sharks, skates and rays and marine mammals. Occasionally rare marine turtles migrate into our cool waters to feed. In fact, more than 50% of our biodiversity occurs at sea, much of which is hidden beneath the surface. However, for those with the passion or inclination, this environment too can be explored with the help of mask and snorkel or simply from a headland with binoculars or telescope.
This coastline is also rich in maritime heritage including ancient fish traps, shipwrecks, historic harbours and defensive fortifications. Our coastal waters too are clean and provide an invigorating environment for surfing, swimming and kayaking.
We hope that the articles featured within this magazine will inspire you to get out and explore this highly dynamic environment with fresh enthusiasm, and to work with us to safeguard it for the future.
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