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Displaying items by tag: shellfish

#Shellfish - The Marine Institute, as the EU designated national reference laboratory for shellfish toxins and shellfish microbiology in Ireland, has launched a new shellfish safety website.

Incorporating a range of user friendly info-graphics and maps, the site will provide information on recent trends analysis as well as current status of shellfish production areas.

The new website has been launched to provide regulatory authorities, shellfish producers, processors, hospitality industry, public health officials and the general public with the most up-to-date information available.

The Marine Institute carries out a year-round national testing programme to ensure that all shellfish are safe before being placed on the market for human consumption.

“With over 100 coastal aquaculture production areas farming a variety of shellfish species, and many more offshore areas being fished commercially, it is essential that an efficient and accurate method of communicating these test results is in place,” said Joe Silke, manager of shellfish safety for the Marine Institute.

The open status of shellfish production areas is necessary before the product can be placed on the market. This open status depends on clear tests being obtained for a comprehensive range of shellfish toxins, and in addition, harmful algal species from water samples must be tested on an ongoing basis. In addition, microbiological classification status is assigned on the basis of ongoing testing.

“Placing shellfish on the market requires speedy testing and reporting laboratory results. The Institute has strived towards providing state of the art processes and this new website will provide current status and a range of extra information that was not previously online,” added Silke.

All shellfish safety data are continuously compiled on databases at the Marine Institute and are essential to assign the appropriate ongoing status to the shellfish production areas.

The new website, the first phase of which is now available online, will feature new information such as the progress of sample analysis through the lab, recent trends in toxin and harmful algal concentrations, and maps to indicate the national trends.

Further features will be rolled out in the coming months.

Published in Fishing

#Shellfish - Galway will host the 11th International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety (ICMSS 2017) this summer from Sunday 14 to Thursday 18 May.

ICMSS 2017 will be hosted by the Marine Institute in association with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Irish Shellfish Association, National University of Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway.

This 11th conference in the biannual forum series, subtitled ‘Protecting consumers, assuring supply, growing confidence’, offers an important multidisciplinary interface between regulatory, scientific and industrial representatives of the international molluscan food safety community. Unusual, emerging and novel shellfish risk factors will be discussed, offering new information and solutions.

ICMSS 2017 will include keynote presentations from acclaimed international experts in the area. A series of workshops will be held in conjunction with the event on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May which will be of particular interest to shellfish safety professionals and students, including microbiologists, toxin chemists, toxicologists, marine scientists, regulators, policy makers, food safety specialists, environmental health officials, engineers, environmental managers, academics and undergraduate and postgraduate students.

More information can be found on the ICMSS 2017 website. The programme is available to as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#Jobs - The Marine Institute requires a laboratory analyst to provide support to a two-year research project investigating norovirus, hepatitis A virus, hepatitis E virus and sapovirus concentrations in oysters.

The work will primarily involve laboratory based detection of the viruses in oysters using existing and proposed molecular procedures. In addition, there may be some elements of field work including sampling and environmental monitoring.

This temporary specified-purpose contract of employment is funded under the FIRM programme and will run for a duration of up to two years. The successful candidate will be on probation for the first six months.

To apply, a CV and letter of application summarising experience and skill set applicable to the position should be emailed to [email protected] or posted to Human Resources at the Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Galway. All correspondence for this post should quote reference LA-FIRM-Jan 2017

All applications for this post should be received by the Marine Institute before noon next Tuesday 7 February. Late applications will not be accepted.

A detailed job description is available from the Marine Institute website HERE.

Published in Jobs

#Seafood - Donegal's oyster industry has been hit by an import ban in Hong Kong over an outbreak of food poisoning.

According to The Irish Times, food safety investigators in the Chinese territory were notified by Irish authorities two weeks ago that the presence of norovirus was confirmed at a raw oyster processing plant in the north-eastern county that services the crucial Asian market.

Hong Kong subsequently banned the import of raw oysters from Donegal "for the sake of prudence". More HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Shellfish - The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is holding a series of Shellfish Regional Information Meetings around the coast in April and May.

The informal events, held in association with the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), aim to provide an opportunity for all those involved in the shellfish industry to learn more about the role of the Shellfish Safety Monitoring Programme and how it assists industry to ensure that live bivalve molluscs placed on the market meet the highest standards of food safety.

This series of events will focus on microbiological classification of shellfish production areas but will also cover topics such as biotoxin and phytoplankton monitoring, phytoplankton sampling and viruses. 

The first of these meetings takes place on 15 April at the SFPA office in Clonakilty, Co Cork, followed by 16 April at the Brehon Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry.

On 27 April, the meeting moves to the Clann Ri Hotel in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, followed on 28 April at the Marine Institute in Oranmore, Co Galway.

The final meeting in the series will be held on 6 May at the FSAI office on Lower Abbey Street in Dublin city centre.

Registration for the events in Donegal, Galway, Cork and Dublin is from 1pm with a light lunch served. These sessions will run from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. In Kerry, registration is from 9:30am with tea/coffee served. The sessions will run from 10am to 1pm, when a light lunch will be served.

To register for one of these free half-day events, click on the any of the links above or phone Lorna Tallon on 01 817 1398.

Published in Fishing

#Mussels - "Major concerns" abound over an endangered species of freshwater mussel after a Connemara roadway project given the go-ahead by planners before its design was finalised.

According to The Irish Times, locals expected the road project to be an upgrade of the existing route between Oughterard and Maam Cross, but only found out later that a wholly new road would be built through their land via compulsory purchase orders.

Besides splitting a number of farms in Glengowna near Oughterard, the final scheme will impact on the catchment of the Owenriff river, one of Europe's oldest trout hatcheries and host to one of the world's most important populations of the freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera.

And according to an independent ecologist, the presence of the latter means planning permission cannot be legally granted in the way it has been decided.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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#Fishing - The unregulated use of pesticides by fish farms poses a significant threat to both the shellfish industry and marine wildlife, according to new research findings.

The Irish Examiner reports on the study by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, which confirms that pesticides used to kill sea lice infestations in aquaculture schemes often exceed environmental quality standards, or EQS.

Researchers studies samples from fish farms in Norway, which has no EQS system, and compared them to thresholds in the UK.

The study has been welcomed by lobby group Save Bantry Bay, whose secretary Alect O'Donovan claimed the value of shellfish to the local economy was more than €640,000 in 2009.

"It is ludicrous to put this at risk by adding more salmon farms and greater pesticide emissions that have the potential to wipe out stocks," he added.

Management of Ireland's shellfish fisheries and wildlife in general will be up for discussion at this year's Buckland Lecture in UCD next Wednesday evening (29 October), as Derek Evans writes in The Irish Times.

Malcolm Windsor, formerly of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation, will be joined by Frank Convery, Ken Whelan and a panel of experts on the night to debate these important issues.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#MarineScience - The Marine Institute has headed a major international project demonstrating the latest advances in shellfish safety. 

Results of this four-year project - presented on Tuesday 10 September at the ASTOX-II Project workshop in the Oranmore HQ of the Marine Institute – were described as very significant for the shellfish industry, and for the institute's key position in the field of marine biotoxin science.

According to researchers, new discoveries made during the project regarding the biological source, chemistry and toxicology of a naturally occurring marine biotoxin Azaspiracid will lead to a better understanding and regulation of the problem. 

This toxin is regulated under EU law and can accumulate in shellfish resulting in closures of shellfish production areas in order to prevent human illness. 

Irish scientists have worked on understanding the nature and origin of the toxin since it was first discovered on the west coast of Ireland in the mid 1990s.

An international group of over 40 world-leading scientists in the field of biotoxin science who attended the workshop described several practical tools that have been developed for the analysis of this toxin and its micro algal source. 

The group also described several new phytoplankton species responsible for producing the toxins, developed new molecular probes and other assays for monitoring the problem, and for the first time produced details of how the toxin affects consumers during and following digestion. 

These answers are essential in setting appropriate shellfish safety standards to ensure that only the highest quality Irish shellfish reach the market, said the Marine Institute.

Another major output of the project was the purification of several Azaspiracid variants directly from Irish shellfish and micro algae for use as certified reference materials. These ultra-pure extracts are essential for analytical techniques and are now distributed to monitoring and research labs all over the world.

“The success of this project is very important for food safety in Ireland and internationally but also for the Irish shellfish industry,” said project manager Jane Kilcoyne of the Marine Institute. “When a bay is closed for shellfish production because of a harmful algal bloom it can cause severe economic hardship for producers in that area. 

"We hope the practical tools developed through this project for example new rapid test methods will help to minimise the impact of these harmful toxins on shellfish producers by providing better prediction and monitoring systems.”

The ASTOX-II project team of Irish, Northern Irish, French, Norwegian, American, Canadian and German scientists worked together on biological, chemical and toxicological aspects of the compound. Since the project began it has generated many publications – including three PhD studies, 29 peer-reviewed papers, three book chapters and 44 presentations at national and international conferences - and others are anticipated after its completion in November 2013. 

These publications stimulate global interest in Azaspiracid research, disseminate new knowledge and reinforce Ireland’s position as a leading performer in marine toxins research. This knowledge continues to enable the development of national and international policy, which supports the development of Ireland’s seafood sector.

Speaking after the event, Marine Institute CEO Peter Heffernan congratulated the scientific team. “This project has brought together a unique team of Irish and international scientists who are among the world leaders in their field of ocean environment biotoxin analyses and draw from the experience of leading marine and food safety organisations in the world whose combined efforts have significantly advanced scientific knowledge in this field,” he said.

The project is carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013, co-financed under the European Regional Development Fund.

The workshop - which followed on from the 10th annual Shellfish Safety Science workshop in Galway earlier this year - continued yesterday (11 September) with a seminar hosted by Agilent Technologies focusing on monitoring of environmental pollutants and toxins using an advanced analytical technique used by the Marine Institute called mass spectrometry.

More information is available in the project brochure and leaflet, both available to read and download as PDFs.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

#Fishing - "Absolutely hammered" is how a Carlingford Lough oyster farmer describes the state of his business after £350,000 (€404,000) worth of his stock was destroyed by a virus in the recent heatwave.

And as the Belfast Telegraph reports, Darren Cunningham now fears financial ruin after at least 80% of his juvenile oysters were wiped out by the ostreid herpes virus, which kills the shellfish when the water temperature rises above 16 degrees.

Unfortunately for Cunningham and fellow oysterman Harold Henning, who fears a total loss of his young oysters, Stormont has no compensation scheme in place for lost stocks in Northern Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#MarineWildlife - The Guardian reports that fishing is expected to be banned near Rockall after the recent discovery of a rare ocean floor gas vent and new species of shellfish.

The 'cold seep' methane vent found by Scotland-based marine scientists last year is only the third of its kind to be found in this region of the Atlantic Ocean - and apparently has a 'chemosynthetic' relationship with two species of deep-water clam, and the polychaete worms they contain, that are new to science.

Also found was a frilled shark, described as a 'living fossil' for existing as a species for at least 90 million years. Such sharks are seldom seen north of the tropics.

In the wake of these findings, the International Convention on the Exploration of the Seas has recommended a ban on fishing activity at the site and its surrounds.

Rockall - which adventurer Nick Hancock is attempting to occupy for a world record attempt - is a tiny rocky islet north-east of Donegal, almost halfway between Ireland and Iceland in the North Atlantic. It has long been the subject of territorial dispute, with Ireland, the UK, Iceland and Denmark all staking a claim.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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