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July 22, 2004
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Memorial teaches the world

Richard McCormick Richard McCormick recently coordinated a project to test fishing gear at the Marine Institute for a live audience in Ireland.
Photo by David Sorensen

Memorial University is again proving that its expertise is available to the world. The latest example came Friday, July 9, when Irish and Newfoundland fishing gear was tested in the flume tank of the Marine Institute, and broadcast using videoconferencing technology to fisheries training centres in Ireland.

Richard McCormick, marine services manager with the Irish Sea Fisheries Board (BIM), brought over two scale models of Irish fishing trawls, which were tested in the flume tank and viewed live on screen 2,000 miles away in Ireland, supported by technical commentary to highlight their underwater performance based on visual observation.

To facilitate this world-first trial, the Marine Institute rigged up cameras inside and outside the Flume Tank so that the fishing gear could be viewed from the side and top, with the additional facility of zooming in on critical areas.

“Everybody on the (Irish) side was extremely impressed with the quality of the pictures,” said Mr. McCormick of the three-hour videoconference.

BIM and the Marine Institute planned this project as a logical extension to a highly successful trans-Atlantic partnership, which led to the joint development of a unique distance learning navigation and stability training course specially designed with inshore fishermen in Ireland and Newfoundland in mind. This innovative e-learning course, which will be available to Irish fishermen over the Internet, courtesy of a specialist distance learning software package situated in Letterkenny Institute of Technology in Ireland, came to fruition through the combined expertise of the Marine Institute’s specialist Learning Technologies Group and BIM, supported by funding from the Ireland Newfoundland Partnership.

According to Mr. McCormick, BIM and the Marine Institute of Memorial University intend to build on the outstanding success of these two projects by co-operating further to develop more fishing and aquaculture e-learning training courses and also by intensifying the use of the flume tank’s excellent facilities and professional staff to improve fisheries conservation technology on both sides of the North Atlantic.

“The relationship with Memorial will continue,” he said. “I see no reason why it should not.”


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Next issue: August 12, 2004

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