Shocking footage shows extent of climate change damage on Kerry seabeds

Shocking footage shows extent of climate change damage on Kerry seabeds

Shocking underwater footage of the Atlantic off the Kerry coast has revealed it has turned into a lifeless underwater desert over the past 30 years.

The new RTÉ documentary, Hot Air – Ireland’s Climate Crisis, reveals how the starkest changes in recent decades from increased carbon dioxide have been taking place silently below the surface of the ocean.

Footage taken 30 years ago off the tip of the Iveragh peninsula shows it bursting with fish life but ghostly film footage taken this year shows it is now a virtual wasteland.

The documentary, screened on RTE One tonight, reveals the oceans are swallowing much of the increased atmospheric carbon dioxide resulting in them getting warmer and changing in chemical composition.

The only abundance of life which is filmed in the hour-long documentary is insect-like isopods feasting on littered plastic on seabed.

Underwater diver and wildlife guide, Vinnie Hyland, who made the films off the coast of Derrynane, said he has witnessed a tremendous change mostly in the context of biodiversity loss.

He said: “In the Seventies the place would have been teeming with fish life, now it just looks like a desert to me.

It’s almost like a cascade. There was a certain level of life there 30 years ago, and then maybe 10 to 12 years ago I noticed a real drop-off.

“But as the drop-off occurred then I noticed much more things like plastic.”

Vinnie Hyland said the absence of marine life is not the only change he has noticed while diving in the Kerry waters as the temperature has been rising over the decades.

He said: “I’ve been able to dive later into the year without feeling too cold.

“Now the water temperature seems to be staying reasonably warm right up until Christmas.”

He explains how pieces of plastic that resemble jellyfish can be eaten by endangered species like loggerhead turtles in the documentary.

“The depressing part is what we are doing to the marine life and because it is underwater, it is invisible,” he said.

More on this topic

A carbon-free Europe planned in 30 yearsA carbon-free Europe planned in 30 years

Joyce Fegan: Trump’s Greta jibe calculated to distract all of usJoyce Fegan: Trump’s Greta jibe calculated to distract all of us

UN climate talks head for overtime with key issues unresolvedUN climate talks head for overtime with key issues unresolved

Jonathan Saul: Waves of new rules a worry for shippingJonathan Saul: Waves of new rules a worry for shipping


More in this Section

UK Election: DUP set to lose kingmaker role with Conservatives on course for majorityUK Election: DUP set to lose kingmaker role with Conservatives on course for majority

Gardaí suspect man, 30s, died after fall in DonegalGardaí suspect man, 30s, died after fall in Donegal

Appeal for help to find Louth man missing for almost two weeksAppeal for help to find Louth man missing for almost two weeks

Taoiseach to demand €1bn from EU for investment and support in border regionTaoiseach to demand €1bn from EU for investment and support in border region


Lifestyle

Who hasn’t dreamt of cutting ties with the nine-to-five and living off-the-grid?The great escape: What's life like off the grid?

Jazz in Europe these days exists in a highly networked environment of cultural and political bodies, festivals, promoters, musicians and educators.Jazz Connective Festival: Intriguing, exciting and uncompromising

It will be bittersweet for Stormzy that his second album arrives the day the British Labour party was confirmed as suffering a historic general election trouncing.Album review: Stormzy remains a work in progress

Unique drawings by Quentin Blake, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators, are available at a Christie’s online auction which runs until December 17.Your chance to buy drawings by Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake

More From The Irish Examiner