Celtic Sea

Commercial Activities of the Celtic Sea Region

The Celtic Sea is a body of water with defined boundaries that touch Ireland, Wales, England and France. It is considered part of the Atlantic Ocean, but for commercial and environmental purposes has been defined to make management of this body of water easier. It owes it's current name to E. W. L. Holt, who suggested it in 1921, a change which helps to avoid nationalistic disagreements. This is a salt water sea that has left layers of mineral salt underground which are harvested and sold to the gourmet food markets worldwide as "Celtic Sea Salt."

Several countries send their fleets out to fish from the Celtic Sea. The EU countries monitor fish stocks and work to fish sustainably by establishing quotas that fluctuate with fish populations. A Spanish Fleet of 199 vessels belonging to seven ports along the northern coast of Spain fishes there. The Spanish focus on fishing for mackerel, hake, megrim, cod and anglerfish among a few other principal species. Other countries that fish in this region include France, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, UK, the Netherlands, although this list is not exhaustive.

Some mid-distance vessels are used by the Spanish that stay out for two weeks before they return to port. They predominantly use trawls and lines for mixed species fishing, but their main catch is hake. The monofilament lines used to fish for hake can be between 5 to 15 miles long. Fish-nets or trawls are used for catching anglerfish. This type of fishing may be on the decline due to low fish stock recordings since the 1980s and 1990s.

Fishing and salt mining aren't the only commercial activities afforded by the Celtic Sea. There is also a bit of oil and gas exploration that has been happening in the area since Marathon Oil began explorations in the 1970s for oil and found gas instead. Kinsale Head is one of the resulting gas fields, and it supplied Ireland's natural gas needs from the 1970s until the mid-1990s. There has recently been renewed interest in oil and gas exploration in the region. Sparking this interest is new seismic data acquired by Island Oil and Gas Plc, showing there is very likely more recoverable gas in the Shull, Seven Heads and Kinsale Head gas fields. The plan is to further develop the fields and create gas storage facilities. Island has begun the process to finance and market their future product, as it is viewed to most likely to be a profitable venture.