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A fuel leak is believed to have caused a fire on board a passenger ferry linking Ballyhack, Co Wexford with Passage East in Waterford, last year.

A Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report says the crew of the Frazer Tintern reacted immediately after the master of the vessel detected a strong smell of diesel fuel while en route to Passage East in early August 2021.

A crew member had also called the master to say he could also detect a strong smell of the fuel and was going to investigate. The incident occurred at around 18.05 hours on August 5th, 2021.

The MCIB report says that when the crew member got to the mesh door at the number one (No.1) engine compartment, he was met with black smoke and flames.

“The crewmember notified the master straight away that they had a fire onboard. The master immediately shut down the No.1 engine and turned off the engine room fans,” it says.

“Two crewmembers then activated two portable fire extinguishers and rigged fire hoses to provide boundary cooling,”it says.

The vessel continued to the Passage East slipway to get passengers off as quickly and safely as possible, it says, although the fire was brought under control.

It says that on arrival, all passengers and vehicles were “disembarked in a safe manner”.

“The vessel was then secured, and the remaining engines shut down. When the smoke dispersed fully, the crew investigated the engine room to confirm the fire had been extinguished,”it says.

The two-deck crewmembers used portable fire extinguishers, the fire was knocked back, and fire hoses were run out to provide boundary cooling while the master continued to navigate the vessel towards Passage East slipway, it says.

The report says that the machinery space fire suppression system was not operated. The vessel was moored up, and the remaining engines were shut down.

“The three crewmembers then carried out a visual inspection of the engine compartment after the remaining smoke had dispersed and confirmed that the fire was fully extinguished,” it says.

The MCIB report says the fire was “most likely caused by a return line fuel leak on No.1 main engine providing fuel to the area”.

It says that the volume and pressure of the fuel was greatly increased by the fuel return line being blocked or shut off, while the ambient high temperature and swirling airflow in the vicinity assisted in the atomisation of the fuel.

It says the fuel may have been ignited by arcing of the No.1 main engine alternator, but it was more likely to have been from fuel spraying onto hot surfaces such as the engine exhaust manifold or turbocharger casing.

It says that shutting down the engine removed the source of fuel from the fire and would have had a far greater effect in extinguishing it than the use of portable extinguishers.

It says that due to the extent of the fire and subsequent damage to No.1 engine, “the exact location and cause of the fuel leak has been impossible to determine”.

It recommends that the owners/operators should ensure that all return line flexible fuel hoses are fixed as per the engine manufacturer’s recommendations.

It also says the owners/operators should arrange to have the airflow from the machinery space ducted away from the main car deck and clear of any public areas. This is to ensure that a fire in the machinery space will not impinge on public areas.

It says the owners/operators should arrange to have the shut-off valves removed from the fuel system return lines to prevent the potential of over-pressurisation of the system. It also recommends that they need to ensure that the firefighting procedures and domestic safety management systems put in place post the incident are “followed and practiced and logged regularly”.

The MCIB reports recommends that the Minister for Transport should issue a marine notice to owners/masters of passenger vessels to remind them that “in the case of a fire or other potentially serious incident a distress/Pan Pan call as appropriate should be made at the earliest opportunity”.

It also says the minister should request a review of manning and crew qualification requirements for Class IV passenger vessels operating in restricted waters as per action 25 of the Maritime Safety Strategy of 2015.

It notes that the owners initiated an internal enquiry into the incident immediately before any repairs were undertaken.

“ This enquiry yielded some useful information on the history of the event”, the MCIB says, but it "did not clearly identify the root cause of the fire".

It says it did lead to the operators adopting a safety management system to improve processes onboard.

It says that since the incident, the door leading to No.1 engine compartment on the ferry was fitted with a weight and magnetic lock so that it closes automatically when the fire alarm is activated.

Published in MCIB
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Doolin Ferry Company has set sail for the summer season, with their state-of-the-art ferries operating once again from Doolin Pier to the Aran Islands. Passengers can also opt to board a Cliffs of Moher cruise, or the Seafari experience, which was introduced in 2021.

With the popularity of the Aran Islands continuing to increase year on year, the family-run business now offers up to 20 sailings per day between Inis Óirr, Inis Mór and Inis Meáin.

As a top destination in the West of Ireland, the Aran Islands offer visitors the chance to step back in time and experience Irish culture in its truest and most traditional forms.

The Doolin Ferry Co. Seafari Launch The Doolin Ferry Co. Seafari Launch

Doolin Ferry Co. holds the largest and fastest ferry fleet operating on the Wild Atlantic Way. Doolin Ferry Co’s one of a kind ‘Seafari’ experience takes place onboard an exclusive, private 10 seater rib.

The rib is designed to allow you unrivalled, close up views of the entire Clare Coast while sheltering you from the elements with an optional canopy if the need arises.

Doolin Ferry Co’s private charters allow you to dictate the itinerary so no two journeys onboard are ever the same.

Published in Ferry
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Marking what it described as a “new dawn”, an Antrim company has launched the province’s largest sightseeing passenger ferry.

The new vessel Kintra II marks a £1 million investment by Kintra Boat Tours, and the creation of eight jobs.

The vessel is licensed to carry 84 passengers, and was commissioned in August 2020 from Blyth Catamarans.

It joins Kintra I, the company’s first vessel which provides sightseeing and wildlife tours along the Northern Irish coastline.

Experienced mariner Charles Stewart and business partner Dawn Hynes set up Kintra Boat Tours in March 2020, just as a pandemic took hold. After what Stewart describes as a “choppy start”, the company has benefited from the substantial increase in staycations.

“The North coast is one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and it’s been a long-held ambition to enable locals and tourists to view the incredible wildlife and scenery from sea,” Stewart said.

The vessel was launched on Friday in Ballycastle by the North’s Minister for the Economy, Gordon Lyons and Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens councillor Richard Holmes.

“Today marks a milestone for the local economy, our tourism offering and for our company,” Dawn Hynes said.

“ The addition of Kintra II will enable us to create new job roles locally, and also to more than double our capacity, which is especially important for the summer season,” she said.

Kintra Boat Tours sail all year round from Ballycastle along the North coast and Rathlin Island.

The company says its vessel skippers are “incredibly knowledgeable about the geography, history and the wildlife” along the coastline and on the L-shaped island with its puffin colony. All trips also have a wildlife guide onboard.

Published in Ferry
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The Cork County Mayor says the Department of Rural & Community Development has agreed to provide funding for the introduction of a temporary ferry service to Dursey Island to replace the cable car operation which will cease tomorrow for repair work.

Mayor Gillian Coughlan announced today that Cork County Council will undertake a procurement process to provide the ferry service.

"It is the intention of the Council and the Department to put this service in place as soon as possible."

Published in Island News
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In 2015 Stena Line made history by converting one of the largest RoPax ferries in the world, the 240-metre Stena Germanica, to become the world’s first methanol powered ferry. Now the Swedish ferry company has achieved another world first, by powering Stena Germanica with methanol recycled from residual steel gases.

This week Stena Line took the next step on their sustainable journey towards achieving zero carbon when the Stena Germanica travelled from Sweden to Germany powered by recycled methanol. The new fuel dubbed ‘Blue Methanol’, is recycled from residual steel gases, a by-product of the steel production industry and helps reduce the ferry’s reliance on diesel, thus lowering the vessel’s carbon emissions further.

By making Stena Germanica blue the new fuels helps the vessel become greener! This week’s journey is another milestone in this ground-breaking project, which launched in 2015 when the dual-fuel system onboard Stena Germanica was converted to allow the vessel to run on both methanol and diesel fuel. It is the world’s first methanol powered RoPax (passenger and freight) ferry, which operates on the Gothenburg – Kiel route.

Stena Line developed it with several partners, including Methanex, Wärtsilä and EU's Motorways of the Seas project. The conversion project was the first of its kind in the world and was so unique that it established methanol as a marine fuel for the first time ever.

"It is exciting to be part of our sustainable journey and try out another new sustainable fuel. I can confirm that we sailed with the new fuel from Gothenburg to Kiel on June 22 and it worked very well,” says Peter Holm, Chief Engineer Stena Germanica.

While methanol is a fossil fuel, it is much cleaner than traditional marine fuel. Sulphur and particulates are reduced by 90% and nitrogen by 60%. The steel industry and the maritime sector are two of the world’s biggest emitters of CO2, accounting for 6-8% and 2.5% of all CO2 emissions respectively. The FReSMe project, funded by H2020 EU program, aims to demonstrate the whole process that enables the CO2 captured from the steel industry to produce methanol fuel that will be used as fuel in the ship transportation sector.

“This collaboration between the steel and the maritime sectors is the first of its kind and demonstrates that by working together companies from different backgrounds can greatly improve their effect on the climate. For Stena Line this is another successful proof of concept for our methanol conversion ferry and a further bridge towards our aim of fossil free shipping,” says Erik Lewenhaupt, Head of Sustainability Stena Line Group.

Published in Stena Line
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The iconic orange and white colours of Cape Clear Ferries will shortly become a familiar sight around Cork Harbour with the launch of Cork Harbour Cruises on Sunday 20th June next.

The Cailín Óir vessel has recently been upgraded to cater for 100 passengers with additional popular upper deck seating for panoramic 360° views of the spectacular harbour.

The service will operate from both Cork City Centre and Crosshaven to offer a range of excursions including a new service to Spike Island which is one of Ireland’s most up and coming visitor attractions. Operating from Crosshaven this 30-minute trip offers scenic views and commentary en route to the historic Island and its imposing fortifications.

The Cailín Óir can cater for young and old alike with no age restrictions and even on rainy days its large windows ensure that the sights can be enjoyed in perfect comfort. Refreshments will be available on board and Cork, being the storytelling capital of Island, will also feature stories and anecdotes from the area’s rich maritime history.

Operating from the Marina in Cork City the service offers mini after lunch cruises together with a longer excursion into the Harbour. Since Cork is a bustling harbour with a great range of activities, wildlife, scenery and weather conditions no two days will be quite the same.

Evening sunset tours are perhaps the best way to end a perfect summer’s day.

The service will also cater for private groups and parties.

 

Published in Island News

Weather permitting, a flotilla of wooden-built Galway hookers will escort an aluminium-built passenger ferry out on the first leg of its maiden voyage between Galway city and the Aran islands this morning.

Several gleoiteogs with Galway Hooker Sailing Club aim to accompany the new Aran Island Ferries fast ship out past Mutton island.

As Afloat reported previously, Named Saoirse na Farraige (freedom of the sea), the 400-seat passenger ferry was built in Hong Kong for Aran Island Ferries, the company run by the O’Brien family of An Cheathrú Rua, Co Galway.

It offers a longer sea trip but faster overall journey west from Galway city to Inis Mor.

It is almost 40 years since the O’Briens took their first passengers in the Galway hooker, An Tonaí, and then purchased their first passenger ferry named the Dún Aengus in 1983.

The family company now has a fleet of five-passenger ferries, and their routes between Ros-a-Mhíl and the three Aran islands will be complemented by the new 40-metre ship on the Galway city- Inis Mór route.

The vessel built in Cheoy Lee Shipyards in Hong Kong has a speed of 20 knots, and its master is Donegal man and former pelagic fisherman Shane McCole.

It has a capacity for 394 passengers – as in a 306 passengers on the main deck, divided into two seating areas, and a semi-covered space for 88 passengers on the top deck.

However, the ferry will be carrying reduced capacity to meet with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

Passengers leaving for Inis Mór at 9.30am from Galway docks will have the option of a return journey via the Cliffs of Moher in Clare.

The Doolin2Aran Ferries company in Doolin, Co Clare, also offers cruises below the sea cliffs from Doolin pier.

Saoirse na Farraige claims to have “ the cleanest exhaust emission” of any ferry on Irish waters.

It is fitted leather seating, charging points and plasma screens – earning it the local nickname of “GoBus” at sea – and it has a wheelchair lift.

The O’Briens say the new route will create 15 new jobs, after what has been “a tough year for all involved in tourism”.

The Port of Galway has welcomed the first passenger ferry service from the city to the Aran Islands since 2005.

The combined Aran Island Ferries fleet of six vessels has a total facility for 1,420 passengers when at full capacity.

Ticket prices for a return journey on Saoirse na Farraige from Galway docks will be:

Adult: €49, Student/Senior: €44, Child: €25

Published in Ferry
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With the expectation that travel restrictions between Ireland and Britain will be removed soon, ferry company Stena Line is bringing its new vessel Stena Estrid back to its key Holyhead – Dublin route.

It will replace the Stena Horizon, which will return to its former role serving Rosslare – Cherbourg.

The ships had swapped due to increased freight demand on direct routes to France and low travel volumes between Holyhead and Dublin. The end of lockdowns have resulted in freight volumes increasing again, so the company needs to switch the vessels back to their pre-lockdown roles.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director says: “With huge pent up demand for travel between Ireland and Britain, and the added bonus of Duty Free, now’s the right time to switch Stena Estrid back.

Stena Horizon will again operate alongside Stena Foreteller on Rosslare – Cherbourg, offering 12 sailings per week to France. We’ve doubled our frequency on our direct services to the Continent.”

The last sailing of the Stena Estrid to France will be the 15:00hrs departure from Cherbourg on 23rd May; the ship will then reposition for the 20:30 departure from Holyhead to Dublin on 24th May.

The last sailing of the Stena Horizon from Dublin to Holyhead will be the on 14:45hrs departure on 24th May. The vessel will then return to join the Stena Foreteller on the Rosslare – Cherbourg route, where Stena Line has doubled frequency post-Brexit and offers freight customers the most frequent and shortest service to North West France. Stena Horizon’s first departure from Rosslare to Cherbourg will 21:00hrs on 25th May.

Stena Estrid will provide two daily return crossings each way between Holyhead and Dublin. Where it is expected that onboard Duty-Free sales, now available after Brexit, will become very popular.

Stena Line offers the most comprehensive choice of services on the Irish Sea, with 6 routes from Ireland to Scotland, England, Wales and France, and more than 220 sailings weekly.

Published in Stena Line
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Irish Ferries and Stena Line, the two key players in Ireland’s ferry industry, are today calling for the reopening of the Common Travel Area (CTA) at the earliest opportunity. They also welcome comments made last week by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, when he talked about the possibility of restoring the Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and Britain as an “initial first step” for the travel and tourism sectors.

With virus levels now low in Ireland and the UK, and vaccination programmes progressing in both countries, Irish Ferries and Stena Line are calling on Ministers and industry stakeholders to urgently look at restoring the long-standing CTA agreement for Irish and UK citizens, and permit unrestricted travel between Britain and the island of Ireland.

Paul Grant, Trade Director for the Irish Sea, at Stena Line said: “COVID-19 infections are now at low levels and vaccination levels are increasing significantly in both countries. In the UK for example 66% of adults have now received their first dose and 30% have had both, so there is now a real need to focus on solving some of the economic impacts of the pandemic, and an obvious starting point are the hard-hit tourist, hospitality and travel sectors. With the restoring of travel between the islands of Ireland and Britain, we can start to rebuild these sectors locally in advance of the full resumption of international travel, which may take more time to agree and deliver.”

Andrew Sheen, Managing Director for Irish Ferries commented: “The ferry industry has played a key role in helping to keep vital food and medical supply lines open during the height of the pandemic. With the current UK infection rate of 48 cases per 100,000 population comparable to the lowest in Europe, we need to acknowledge the shared land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and eliminate the discrepancies and loopholes on travel restrictions on the island. Irish Ferries and Stena Line welcome the Tánaiste’s recent comments on the possibility of restoring the CTA in advance of the full resumption of international travel and would urge the Irish Government to prioritise its implementation.”

The issue with the CTA has arisen due to differing approaches by the Irish and UK governments. The Irish Government requires passengers from Britain to have a negative PCR test and they must also quarantine for 14 days on arrival. The UK Government has never imposed requirements for testing or quarantine for people travelling from anywhere on the island of Ireland to Britain. The Northern Ireland Assembly also has never imposed testing or quarantine on anyone travelling from Britain.

Both companies are also stressing that they need time to prepare for the resumption of travel. Urgent clarity is needed regarding dates so that the ferry companies can ensure they are ready from an operational perspective.

Published in Ferry
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The go ahead to upgrade pier works at Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, has been approved by the Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys.

As Galway Bay FM reports, Minister Humphreys has announced that a business case is to commence on the long-awaited project.

Galway County Council can now seek tenders for the project which is listed as one of the Government’s key infrastructure commitments in Project Ireland 2040.

The pier redevelopment addresses safety risk issues that have arisen over recent years, in particular the danger from waves breaking over the harbour.

Additionally, the upgrade aims to solve other challenges arising from the numbers of tourist and ferry vessels visiting the island.

Galway Senator Seán Kyne says the pier redevelopment is vital for the future of the island and the safety of harbour users.

Published in Island News
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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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