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Displaying items by tag: Salmon

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has launched a funding call of up to €1 million to support vital conservation projects around the country through the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund.

Since 2016, more than €6 million in grants have been awarded to over 280 projects throughout the country under various funding schemes operated by IFI.

From now until Friday 16 December, eligible angling clubs, fishery owners and other stakeholders are invited to express their interest in applying for funding to support fisheries conservation through IFI’s Habitats and Conservation Scheme.

Priority will be given to projects that focus on habitat rehabilitation and conservation, such as rehabilitating damaged river habitats, improving water quality and helping fish overcome physical barriers like weirs.

In similar schemes in 2022, a total of €1,123,000 in funding was approved for 35 habitats and conservation projects based in Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Leitrim, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Wexford, Westmeath and Wicklow.

A rock ramp fish pass on the Burren River at Ballinacarrig, Co Carlow | Credit: IFIA rock ramp fish pass on the Burren River at Ballinacarrig, Co Carlow | Credit: IFI

Suzanne Campion, head of business development at IFI said that the scheme’s focus is on protecting and conserving fish species and their habitats for future generations.

“Since 2016, projects under the Habitats and Conservation Fund have delivered approximately 29km of in-stream maintenance works and 37 kilometres of habitat restoration works. As well as that, 83km of spawning and nursery habitats have been made more accessible to migratory fish species, through five fish passage projects,” she said.

“Under the Habitats and Conservation Scheme, which is made possible through fishing licence and permit income, groups can now apply for grants to fund projects and measures in 2023 to continue this vital environmental work.”

In addition to the €1 million in funding available through the Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund, up to €50,000 is available through the Midlands Fisheries Fund.

An information guide about the funding call is available to download. As part of the two-step process, all applicants must firstly complete an ‘Expression of Interest’ application on Inland Fisheries Ireland’s online grant management portal before 5.30pm on Friday 16 December.

After expressions of interest have been completed, full applications that align to fund objectives can be submitted via the online grant management portal until 5.30pm on Friday 27 January 2023. Decisions on applications and grants will be announced by IFI in May 2023.

Published in Angling

On a special climate-focused edition of RTÉ’s Prime Time this past week, the news programme put the plight of Ireland’s wild salmon stocks in the spotlight.

Reporter Oonagh Smyth visited the Dawros River in Connemara where salmon runs have allegedly shrunk from as many as 3,000 two decades ago to less than 900 today.

These figures lead to an even worse picture nation-wide, with data showing that only 150,000 wild salmon returned to their spawning grounds in 2019 — a decline of almost 80% on the more than 685,000 salmon recorded in 2000.

Various reasons are behind this alarming fall, with climate change chief among them — forcing salmon to migrate further to find colder waters, and interrupting the food webs that sustain the fish at sea and in our rivers.

But local factors have also been blamed, including the licensing of open-cage salmon aquaculture against which conservation groups and some arms of the State are united in their opposition due to the risks of sea lice infestations.

RTÉ News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has opened a new footbridge over the Owenea River near Glenties in Co Donegal.

In a welcome boost for angling access on the Owenea fishery, the new steel footbridge was commissioned by IFI to replace the former ‘Green Bridge’, which was constructed in the 1970s but had fallen into disrepair.

The new steel footbridge is now officially open to anglers and the public.

Funded through the National Strategy for Angling Development, the custom-designed footbridge will provide safe access to both banks of the Owenea fishery between Beats 4 and 5, near Glenties.

The Owenea fishery, which is directly managed by IFI, remains one of the most productive salmon rivers in Co Donegal.

The fishery has a good run of salmon and sea trout as well as a resident stock of small brown trout and is popular with local anglers as well as visiting sport fishers travelling from abroad.

Milton Matthews, director of the North-Western River Basin District with IFI, announced the opening of the bridge, saying: “The Owenea fishery in Donegal is a popular destination for both local and visitor salmon anglers to the area.

“Installation of this new bridge is the culmination of over four years of work in terms of completion of the various safety, engineering and associated environmental reports and planning permission requirements needed.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to acknowledge the contribution and support of various local landowners, contractors, Donegal County Council, local angling clubs and dommunity development groups, who have all contributed to and welcomed the successful delivery of this project.”

IFI has an ongoing programme of maintenance and upgrading of angling access along the Owenea River, including the improvement of angling infrastructure such as stiles, footbridges and walkways.

Constructed in the 1970s, the Green Bridge was used extensively over the years by anglers, recreational walkers and local residents.

However, following safety audits conducted by IFI, consultant engineers were commissioned in 2021 to conduct a full examination of the structural integrity and suitability of the structure as a pedestrian footbridge. The report confirmed that the steelwork of the existing bridge was severely corroded and no longer fit for purpose.

Although IFI didn’t own or manage the Green Bridge, the State agency responsible for the conservation and protection of freshwater fish and habitats — and the development and promotion of angling — undertook responsibility for its removal and installation of a replacement galvanised footbridge to ensure safe access to both banks of the Owenea River for the angling community.

Before the old footbridge could be removed however, IFI had to commission several reports and surveys, including Appropriate Assessment Screening, a freshwater pearl mussel survey and Natura Impact Statement (NIS). Planning permission was then sought through Donegal County Council for removal and replacement of the old bridge.

Following a public procurement process, Source Civil Ltd was appointed as the contractor to remove the original Green Bridge and to prefabricate and install a new custom-designed footbridge from W.D. Buchanan & Co Ltd. This necessitated a temporary road closure and traffic diversion whilst the Green Bridge was removed and the new bridge was lifted into place by Quinn Crane Hire.  

Matthews added: “Completion of this new footbridge is a vital element in the overall management and development of the Owenea salmon fishery and a welcome addition for angling access and the local community.”

Published in Angling

Salmon and sea trout anglers who fished during the 2022 season are being reminded to return their logbooks and any unused gill tags at the end of the season.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is encouraging such anglers to return their angling logbooks — setting out their fishing and catch record — and any unused gill tags from 2022 if they have finished fishing for this year or once the season has closed.

Under the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers can return these in one of three ways:

  • Using the postage pre-paid business return envelope that was supplied at the time of licence purchase (preferred option).
  • Posting the logbook and unused gill tags to the Inland Fisheries Ireland office address that is displayed on their licence or logbook.
  • Scanning and emailing logbook and licence documents to IFI at [email protected] Important: if you are choosing this option, please scan all sides of documents, including continuation pages, to ensure that the licence names and number can be correctly linked to the logbook.

On average, 70% of anglers in Ireland return their logbooks and these returns provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout stocks into the future.

In accordance with the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme, anglers in Ireland are required by law to return their completed logbook and all unused tags to the issuing office of IFI within seven days of licence expiry, and no later than Wednesday 19 October.

As part of the scheme, an angler must attach a valid gill tag to a salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) harvested, immediately on landing. They must enter details of their catch and/or gill tag used into their logbook.

Questions or queries should be directed to [email protected] and IFI says it will respond as quickly as possible.

Published in Angling

A research award targeted at early-career researchers has been granted to Dr Joshka Kaufmann of the Marine Institute to investigate and predict how quickly natural Atlantic salmon evolve to human-driven environmental change. The SFI-IRC Pathway programme, a new collaborative initiative between Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC), has been awarded to Dr Kaufmann to conduct state-of-the-art research at the Marine Institute on the evolutionary potential of natural populations of Atlantic salmon in Ireland and develop an independent track record in this important climate-biodiversity research nexus.

As current rates of planetary stress are leading to unprecedented declines in natural populations, understanding the potential of iconic species such as the Atlantic salmon to adapt to human impacts has become crucial for their preservation and management.

Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services of the Marine Institute said, “In line with national, European and global priorities on climate and biodiversity, this research will identify vulnerabilities and ultimately offer strategies for optimal conservation; helping to balance sustainable aquaculture with the interactions between natural and aquaculture environments. In addition to strengthening Irish research capabilities, the project will contribute towards evidence-based policy-making at national and international level, providing advice through ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Seas) to NASCO (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation) and stakeholder groups such as the Atlantic Salmon Trust.”

The Marine Institute Newport research station in the Burrishoole catchment is a proven long-term natural observatory and an index Irish Atlantic salmon population. The systematic monitoring and sampling of salmon in the Burrishoole system (Co. Mayo) since 1958 provides a unique opportunity to link temporal changes in size, demography and genetic makeup of salmon with climate change, overfishing and mixing with cultured fish.

Prof. Philip McGinnity (UCC), Marine Institute Principal Investigator in Fish Population Genetics and lead on the SFI Investigators Award said,“Long-term ecological (and evolutionary) research is crucial to understanding how the world is changing and for informing conservation and protection programmes. Long-term studies with consistent data collection is rare, particularly in Ireland. As anadromous fish bridge freshwater and marine environments, they also provide an invaluable resource to understand the dynamic interconnections between land and sea and the role human actions such as climate change and overfishing.”

Dr Kaufmann of the Marine Institute said, “Building upon recent research successes constructing whole wild population pedigrees in SFI and Beaufort programmes, my plan is, with the support of a PhD student, to use next-generation high-throughput sequencing technologies and climate attribution to evaluate the evolutionary potential of natural populations of Atlantic salmon. Utilising these unique and irreplaceable multi-decadal pedigrees, I will identify how selection on traits changed with time and how this can impact the characteristics of salmon in the next decades.”

This knowledge will help provide advice for conservation and management of this iconic species under future climate scenarios and help reconcile the competing goals of aquaculture, fisheries and conservation. Dr Kaufmann will be hosted by the Marine Institute, Ireland's national agency for marine research and development, and work closely with other national and international research funders to promote the value of Ireland's unique marine resource.

This project is one of 53 research projects funded by the SFI-IRC Pathway programme to support early career research across all disciplines and to encourage interdisciplinary approaches.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

The deadline to enter the third online lottery for ‘brown tags’ for wild salmon angling on the Lower River Lee is 5pm on Thursday 9 June.

A further 38 brown tags will be issued on Monday 13 June by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), following the second lottery for 38 tags on 11 April, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Under brown tag regulations, an angler who wishes to ‘harvest’ a wild salmon and keep it must attach a brown tag as well as a standard blue tag to the fish.

To help conserve stocks of wild salmon within the Lower River Lee, No 5 or Cork District, a total of 152 brown tags are available for the season and have been distributed to anglers with a 2022 rod licence through a series of online lotteries since January.

Anglers interested in entering the third draw are being asked to apply online between now and 5pm on Thursday 9 June. Only one entry is permitted per licence holder into the draw. Entries will not be accepted by email in this draw.

Anglers with a 2022 rod licence who are not allocated a brown tag are only permitted to fish for salmon on a ‘catch and release’ basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

In addition, anglers who received a tag in either of the previous draws may enter this draw only if they have used that tag. Anglers must be able to provide evidence of using the tag by supplying a photo of the double tagged salmon and the relevant entry in their angler’s logbook.

Further details and conditions are available from the IFI website, by phoning its Macroom office on (026) 41221 or emailing [email protected]

Published in Angling

Farmed salmon is Britain’s largest food export by value – more valuable than anything else except beer.

Sounds impressive, but nutritious wild fish caught to sustain salmon farming is being squandered a new study maintains.

Scientists analysing the Scottish salmon farming industry calculate that an extra six million tonnes of seafood would be available annually if wild caught fish is diverted away from aquaculture feed.

The new study, as Afloat reported previously here published in the research journal PLOS Sustainability and Transformation says that limiting salmon farming to using feed made from fish by-products could result in 3.7 million tonnes of fish being left in the sea.

Dr Karen Luyckx of the Feedback ngo, which welcomed the findings, said that “until the salmon industry kicks its wild-caught fish oil and fishmeal habit, chefs and retailers should help citizens switch away from unsustainable salmon by offering ultra-nutritious mussels and small oily fish instead.”

Study author Dr David Willer, research fellow at the University of Cambridge, spoke to Wavelengths this week about the study and the reaction from industry.

Published in Wavelength Podcast
Tagged under

The deadline to enter the second online lottery for ‘brown tags’ for wild salmon angling on the Lower River Lee is midnight on Friday 8 April.

A further 38 brown tags will be issued on Monday 11 April, following the first lottery for 38 tags on 31 January, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Under brown tag regulations, an angler who wishes to ‘harvest’ a wild salmon and keep it must attach a brown tag as well as a standard blue tag to the fish.

To help conserve stocks of wild salmon within the Lower River Lee, No 5 or Cork District, a total of 152 brown tags will be available for the season and will be distributed to anglers with a 2022 rod licence through a series of online lotteries.

Anglers interested in entering the second draw are being asked to email their request to Inland Fisheries Ireland at [email protected] between now and midnight on Friday 8 April only.

Within this email, anglers must provide their name, contact address and telephone number and they must also quote their 2022 Salmon Licence number. Only one entry is permitted per licence holder into the draw.

Anglers with a 2022 rod licence who are not allocated a brown tag are only permitted to fish for salmon on a ‘catch and release’ basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

Further details are available from the Inland Fisheries Ireland’s website or by phoning its Macroom office on (026) 41221.

Published in Angling

In accordance with the Control of Fishing for Salmon Order 2022, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) invites applications for commercial salmon fishing licences (draft net and snap net).

Application forms may be obtained from your local IFI office listed below:

  • IFI Dublin, Tel: 01 884 2600
  • IFI Clonmel, Tel: 052 618 0055
  • IFI Macroom, Tel: 026 41221
  • IFI Limerick, Tel: 061 300 238
  • IFI Galway, Tel: 091 563 118
  • IFI Ballina, Tel: 096 22788
  • IFI Ballyshannon, Tel: 071 985 1435

The statutory closing date for receipt of completed applications to the relevant IFI office is Friday 8 April. Applications received after this date cannot be accepted.

Published in Fishing

The Loughs Agency has made the decision to retain salmon carcass tag numbers for licence holders for the 2022 season in line with the previous year’s policy.

The Agency introduced the interim policy for the 2020/2021 season whereby the number of tags issued with a game angling licence was reduced to a maximum of one blue tag (1st March to 31st May) and two black tags (1st June to 31st October).

The principal objective of this measure is to carefully manage salmon in the Foyle system due to concern from within the Agency over conservation levels of the species. Based on the information collected in 2021, it appears there were fewer total fish in the Foyle system in 2021 than in 2020, and consequently a precautionary approach had to be adopted.

After careful evaluation, it was decided to maintain the previous position while introducing in-year reviews of the salmon runs based on fish counter data, annual angling returns and run strength.

Loughs Agency has undertaken a review of legislation and has come to the following conclusion: “It is the view of some stakeholders that the Agency should manage carcass tags on a catchment-by-catchment basis. The use of real-time figures can be beneficial in informing decision-making on the number of tags to be distributed per year, and how many tags can be given out for angling in each catchment.” This viewpoint is to be considered in regulatory changes once actions from the review can be implemented.

In the majority of rivers throughout Northern Ireland and in many locations globally, catch and release is now mandatory for salmon angling due to the pressures on sustainable populations. In these areas, no carcass tags are issued, and anglers are forbidden from retaining any fish. It is encouraging that most anglers in the Foyle area are aware of these pressures, and now voluntarily practice catch and release.

Loughs Agency also recognises the value of anglers on the rivers and their contributions towards sustainability. Considering this, the Agency has agreed to a compromise while still fulfilling obligations under the Habitats Directive. Salmon are a selection feature of Foyle Rivers that have been designated as Special Areas of Conservation.

In recent years this has led to the suspension of commercial salmon netting, while waters under the jurisdiction of Loughs Agency have subsequently been declared as catch and release only.

If you have any concerns over illegal fishing or pollution within the Foyle or Carlingford catchments, please contact the 24hr Loughs Agency Response Line on +(0)44 2871 342100.

Published in Angling
Tagged under
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Aquaculture Information

Aquaculture is the farming of animals in the water and has been practised for centuries, with the monks farming fish in the middle ages. More recently the technology has progressed and the aquaculture sector is now producing in the region of 50 thousand tonnes annually and provides a valuable food product as well as much needed employment in many rural areas of Ireland.

A typical fish farm involves keeping fish in pens in the water column, caring for them and supplying them with food so they grow to market size. Or for shellfish, containing them in a specialised unit and allowing them to feed on natural plants and materials in the water column until they reach harvestable size. While farming fish has a lower carbon and water footprint to those of land animals, and a very efficient food fed to weight gain ratio compared to beef, pork or chicken, farming does require protein food sources and produces organic waste which is released into the surrounding waters. Finding sustainable food sources, and reducing the environmental impacts are key challenges facing the sector as it continues to grow.

Salmon is the most popular fish bought by Irish families. In Ireland, most of our salmon is farmed, and along with mussels and oysters, are the main farmed species in the country.

Aquaculture in Ireland

  • Fish and shellfish are farmed in 14 Irish coastal counties.
  • Irish SMEs and families grow salmon, oysters, mussels and other seafood
  • The sector is worth €150m at the farm gate – 80% in export earnings.
  • The industry sustains 1,833 direct jobs in remote rural areas – 80% in the west of Ireland
  • Every full-time job in aquaculture creates 2.27 other jobs locally (Teagasc 2015)
  • Ireland’s marine farms occupy 0.0004% of Ireland’s 17,500Km2 inshore area.
  • 83% of people in coastal areas support the development of fish farming
  • Aquaculture is a strong, sustainable and popular strategic asset for development and job creation (Foodwise 2025, National Strategic Plan, Seafood
  • Operational Programme 2020, FAO, European Commission, European Investment Bank, Harvesting Our Ocean Wealth, Silicon Republic, CEDRA)
    Ireland has led the world in organically certified farmed fish for over 30 years
  • Fish farm workers include people who have spent over two decades in the business to school-leavers intent on becoming third-generation farmers on their family sites.

Irish Aquaculture FAQs

Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants, and involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions- in contrast to commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats. Particular kinds of aquaculture include fish farming, shrimp farming, oyster farming, mariculture, algaculture (such as seaweed farming), and the cultivation of ornamental fish. Particular methods include aquaponics and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, both of which integrate fish farming and plant farming.

About 580 aquatic species are currently farmed all over the world, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which says it is "practised by both some of the poorest farmers in developing countries and by multinational companies".

Increasing global demand for protein through seafood is driving increasing demand for aquaculture, particularly given the pressures on certain commercially caught wild stocks of fish. The FAO says that "eating fish is part of the cultural tradition of many people and in terms of health benefits, it has an excellent nutritional profile, and "is a good source of protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and essential micronutrients".

Aquaculture now accounts for 50 per cent of the world's fish consumed for food, and is the fastest-growing good sector.

China provides over 60 per cent of the world's farmed fish. In Europe, Norway and Scotland are leading producers of finfish, principally farmed salmon.

For farmed salmon, the feed conversion ratio, which is the measurement of how much feed it takes to produce the protein, is 1.1, as in one pound of feed producing one pound of protein, compared to rates of between 2.2 and 10 for beef, pork and chicken. However, scientists have also pointed out that certain farmed fish and shrimp requiring higher levels of protein and calories in feed compared to chickens, pigs, and cattle.

Tilapia farming which originated in the Middle East and Africa has now become the most profitable business in most countries. Tilapia has become the second most popular seafood after crab, due to which its farming is flourishing. It has entered the list of best selling species like shrimp and salmon.

There are 278 aquaculture production units in Ireland, according to Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) *, producing 38,000 tonnes of finfish and shellfish in 2019 and with a total value of €172 million

There are currently almost 2,000 people directly employed in Irish aquaculture in the Republic, according to BIM.

BIM figures for 2019 recorded farmed salmon at almost 12,000 tonnes, valued at €110 million; rock oysters reached 10,300 tonnes at a value of €44 million; rope mussels at 10,600 tonnes were valued at €7 million; seabed cultured mussels at 4,600 tonnes were valued at €7 million; "other" finfish reached 600 tonnes, valued at €2 million and "other" shellfish reached 300 tonnes, valued at €2 million

Irish aquaculture products are exported to Europe, US and Asia, with salmon exported to France, Germany, Belgium and the US. Oysters are exported to France, with developing sales to markets in Hong Kong and China. France is Ireland's largest export for mussels, while there have been increased sales in the domestic and British markets.

The value of the Irish farmed finfish sector fell by five per cent in volume and seven per cent in value in 2019, mainly due to a fall on salmon production, but this was partially offset by a seven per cent increased in farmed shellfish to a value of 60 million euro. Delays in issuing State licenses have hampered further growth of the sector, according to industry representatives.

Fish and shellfish farmers must be licensed, and must comply with regulations and inspections conducted by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority and the Marine Institute. Food labelling is a function of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. There is a long backlog of license approvals in the finfish sector, while the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine says it is working to reduce the backlog in the shellfish sector.

The department says it is working through the backlog, but notes that an application for a marine finfish aquaculture licence must be accompanied by either an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). As of October 2020, over two-thirds of applications on hand had an EIS outstanding, it said.

The EU requires member states to have marine spatial plans by 2021, and Ireland has assigned responsibility to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF). Legislation has been drawn up to underpin this, and to provide a "one stop shop" for marine planning, ranging from fish farms to offshore energy – as in Marine Planning and Development Management Bill. However, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine confirmed last year that it intends to retain responsibility for aquaculture and sea-fisheries related development – meaning fish and shellfish farmers won't be able to avail of the "one stop shop" for marine planning.

Fish and shellfish health is a challenge, with naturally occurring blooms, jellyfish and the risk of disease. There are also issues with a perception that the sector causes environmental problems.

The industry has been on a steep learning curve, particularly in finfish farming, since it was hailed as a new future for Irish coastal communities from the 1970s – with the State's Electricity Supply Board being an early pioneer, and tobacco company Carrolls also becoming involved for a time. Nutrient build up, which occurs when there is a high density of fish in one area, waste production and its impact on depleting oxygen in water, creating algal blooms and "dead zones", and farmers' use of antibiotics to prevent disease have all been concerns, and anglers have also been worried about the impact of escaped farmed salmon on wild fish populations. Sea lice from salmon farmers were also blamed for declines in sea trout and wild salmon in Irish estuaries and rivers.

BIM says over 95% of all salmon farmed in Ireland are certified organic. Organically grown salmon are only fed a diet of sustainable organic feed. They are also raised in more spacious pens than traditional farmed salmon. The need to site locations for fish farms further out to sea, using more robust cages for weather, has been recognised by regulatory agencies. There is a move towards land-based aquaculture in Norway to reduce impact on local ecosystems. The industry says that antibiotic use is declining, and it says that "safe and effective vaccinations have since been developed for farmed fish and are now widely used". Many countries are now adopting a more sustainable approach to removing sea lice from salmon, using feeder fish such as wrasse and lumpsucker fish. Ireland's first lumpsucker hatchery was opened in 2015.

BIM says over 95% of all salmon farmed in Ireland are certified organic. Organically grown salmon are only fed a diet of sustainable organic feed. They are also raised in more spacious pens than traditional farmed salmon. The need to site locations for fish farms further out to sea, using more robust cages for weather, has been recognised by regulatory agencies. There is a move towards land-based aquaculture in Norway to reduce impact on local ecosystems. The industry says that antibiotic use is declining, and it says that "safe and effective vaccinations have since been developed for farmed fish and are now widely used". Many countries are now adopting a more sustainable approach to removing sea lice from salmon, using feeder fish such as wrasse and lumpsucker fish. Ireland's first lumpsucker hatchery was opened in 2015.

Yes, as it is considered to have better potential for controlling environmental impacts, but it is expensive. As of October 2020, the department was handling over 20 land-based aquaculture applications.

The Irish Farmers' Association has represented fish and shellfish farmers for many years, with its chief executive Richie Flynn, who died in 2018, tirelessly championing the sector. His successor, Teresa Morrissey, is an equally forceful advocate, having worked previously in the Marine Institute in providing regulatory advice on fish health matters, scientific research on emerging aquatic diseases and management of the National Reference Laboratory for crustacean diseases.

BIM provides training in the national vocational certificate in aquaculture at its National Fisheries College, Castletownbere, Co Cork. It also trains divers to work in the industry. The Institute of Technology Carlow has also developed a higher diploma in aqua business at its campus in Wexford, in collaboration with BIM and IFA Aquaculture, the representative association for fish and shellfish farming.

© Afloat 2020

At A Glance - Irish Aquaculture

  • Fish and shellfish are farmed in 14 Irish coastal counties
  • Salmon is the most popular fish bought by Irish families. 
  • In Ireland, most of our salmon is farmed, and along with mussels and oysters, are the main farmed species in the country.
  • The industry sustains 1,833 direct jobs in remote rural areas – 80% in the west of Ireland
  • Every full-time job in aquaculture creates 2.27 other jobs locally (Teagasc 2015)
  • Ireland’s marine farms occupy 0.0004% of Ireland’s 17,500Km2 inshore area.
  • 83% of people in coastal areas support the development of fish farming

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