Displaying items by tag: aquaculture
Bord Iascaigh Mhara's ambitious proposal off the Aran Islands for a 500-hectare organic salmon farm – which would be the largest of its kind in Europe – was pushed back over a year ago amid protests from angling and community groups opposed to the scheme, and concerns from the EU over its environmental impact.
It is now one of a whopping 600 applications for aquaculture licences of various scopes under consideration by the minister.
Many of these are said to have been in the system for more than five years – costing the State some €60 million in investment opportunities, as the Irish Farmers' Association claims.
Discussing his department's plans for aquaculture in replies to Dáil questions this week, Minister Coveney maintained there is a "strict separation" between his role as "decision maker" and his duty to promote development in the industry.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
The SEAFARE (Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Aquaculture for the Atlantic Region of Europe) project held a one-day seminar at Instituto de Investigación y Formación Agraria y Pesquera (IFAPA)'s headquarters in Seville (Spain) on the 30th October 2013 as part of the dissemination activities carried out to present the main outcomes of the project. The seminar, entitled "The potential for wetland aquaculture; balancing economic development and conservation benefits", focused on the potential benefits of implementing wetland aquaculture in the Gulf of Cadiz region, and attracted more than 50 stakeholders from Spain, Portugal and the United States.
The morning session included two sets of presentations, where the project partners explained their main findings relating to wetlands aquaculture, including the benefits of integrated multitrophic aquaculture systems and the ecosystem services wetlands aquaculture can offer to society. The presentations are downloadable from the project website (www.seafareproject.eu). Following the morning session, a round table discussion took place in which environmental managers, aquaculture industry representatives and scientists had the opportunity to present their own views on the potential of wetlands aquaculture in the Gulf of Cadiz region.
Antonio Concepción, president of the Aquaculture Business Association in Andalucía, said: "There is no doubt wetlands aquaculture is beneficial for the region in terms of economic activity, employment generation, and also environmentally, as it is proven that wetlands aquaculture can contribute to the regeneration of abandoned landscapes. However, we should take into account that production costs are higher than off-shore aquaculture, but the fish produced in wetland systems are of better quality than those produced in offshore aquaculture. These factors make the product more expensive and it is more difficult to find our place in the market. It is not all about wetland aquaculture benefits, we must put an extra effort into the creation of a new brand and find new commercialisation channels".
The afternoon session included a visit to the facilities of Veta la Palma, an aquaculture farm located on an island in the Guadalquivir River, 10 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Veta la Palma provides a good example of how aquaculture can be used as a driver for wetland reconstruction. The attendees had the opportunity to see for themselves how beneficial the implementation of wetlands aquaculture in the region can be from both economic and ecological perspectives.
Dr. Pedro Cañavate, researcher at IFAPA El Toruño and one of the organisers of the seminar, said: "I hope this seminar will help to make stakeholders from the region aware of the real potential of wetlands aquaculture for the region. This meeting aimed to show stakeholders that we have the optimal conditions to develop wetlands aquaculture, and we also have the know-how to do it. Now it is up to policy makers and industry to take the initiative".
The SEAFARE project aims to promote the diversification of the aquaculture industry by providing a greater range of species and alternative environmentally-friendly production systems. All the initiatives developed by the project are assessed for their commercial applicability through close collaboration with stakeholders and SMEs. The project involves 14 partners, bringing together applied R&D centres, aquaculture industry organisations and environmental agencies across the Atlantic maritime region to promote the sustainable expansion of European aquaculture.
For more information about SEAFARE, please visit www.seafareproject.eu .
#aquaculture – ASIMUTH, an Irish led EU Framework 7 funded project (FP7), was recently awarded the COPERNICUS (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) Masters Prize for best earth-monitoring service for European citizens 2013. The pan-European project developed an online alert system (HAB Forecast) to provide an early warning to the aquaculture industry of imminent harmful algal blooms (red tides).
ASIMUTH is led by the Daithi O'Murchu Marine Research Station (Bantry) and involves scientists and SMEs from five European Atlantic States (Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain and Portugal). Irish partners include the Marine Institute and Irish SME Numerics Warehouse Ltd (Galway). According to the project co-ordinator, Dr Julie Maguire (DOMMRS), "the new service gives producers time to adapt their culture and harvesting practices before a bloom arrives in their area, reducing potential losses which can have a devastating impact on aquaculture businesses".
In Ireland, closures, due to harmful algal blooms, of shellfish growing areas of up to 10 months have been experienced in the past. Other impacts such as losses of farmed fish and widespread mortalities of wild fish and benthic organisms have been experienced during red tide blooms in 2005 and 2012.
Joe Silke, Head of Shellfish Safety at the Marine Institute noted that "This is the first forecast system of its kind and was designed to combine information from monitoring stations, satellite data, biological and physical oceanic models to produce regular forecasting reports to the shellfish industry. Working with neighbouring countries gives us a better chance of early detection of these blooms and inter-regional water currents can be modelled to estimate the potential impact of these blooms in advance of their arrival at aquaculture areas."
The ASIMUTH project - Applied Simulations and Integrated Modelling for the Understanding of Toxic and Harmful Algal Blooms is co-funded under the 7th EU Framework 7 Programme for Research and Technological Development (2007-2013).
The Best Service Challenge is one of nine categories in the European Earth monitoring competition (COPERNICUS Masters)and aims to increase awareness of existing Earth monitoring services and their benefits to European citizens. As winner of the Best Service Challenge 2013, HAB Forecast will benefit from a substantial satellite data quota worth €40,000 made available with financial support by the European Commission.
The HAB Forecast bulletin is available on the ASIMUTH website www.asimuth.eu.
#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.
As Galway Bay FM reports, campaigners Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages - one of the groups opposed to the planned Galway Bay fish farm - say that cypermethrin, an active ingredient in veterinary medicine used to treat sea lice, is toxic to aquatic organisms.
BIM aquaculture manager Donal Maguire attempted to play down fears over the use of the pesticide, saying it has been fully tested for toxicology in the marine environment.
However, another campaign group claims BIM's position is contrary to the manufacturer's own warnings on the use of the drug.
According to FishNews.eu, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) cited the Irish Medicines Board's product description for cypermethrin, which states that it is "dangerous to fish and other aquatic life" and demands that the chemical "should not be allowed to contaminate water".
FIE went on to describe cypermethrin as "a biocide which kills life, not a medicine that saves lives" and as "a highly active neurotoxin" with "known effects on fish and, most sensitive of all, crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. Bathers and watersports [enthusiasts] may also be at risk."
Earlier this month, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) expressed "serious concerns" over the findings of a study on wild salmon in Ireland that claimed fish farm schemes were less harmful to wild fish than pollution and possibly even beneficial to wild catchments.
IFI is among the significant opposition to BIM's proposed organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands, a 500-hectare project that would be the largest of its kind in Europe and create hundreds of jobs in the locality.
#aquaculture – A recent Marine Institute study published in the peer reviewed international Agricultural Sciences journal (June 2013) found no correlation between the presence of aquaculture and the performance of adjacent wild salmon stocks.
The study by Dr. Dave Jackson and colleagues at the Marine Institute examined geographic and temporal trends in Atlantic salmon stock abundance at a River Basin District level and evaluated the effect of salmon aquaculture sites and freshwater habitat quality as potential drivers of stock abundance.
This study found no correlation between the presence of aquaculture and the performance of adjacent wild salmon stocks. Freshwater habitat quality was found to have a highly significant correlation with stock status, suggesting that it may be a key driver, implicated in the survival of individual stocks.
The paper, Evaluation of the impacts of aquaculture and freshwater habitat on the status of Atlantic salmon stocks in Ireland, is available to download for free. An open access fee is payable by the author only after a paper has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication.
Access to quality research is vital to the scientific community and beyond and open access ensures that members of the public and the scientific community can freely access quality research without having to pay a download fee.
The Marine Institute stands firmly over all peer reviewed scientific papers published by its staff, and we support open access to high quality research.
The link to the journal is http://www.scirp.org/journal/as/
and the publication can be downloaded as a PDF document directly at this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/as.2013.46A010
The State agency for Ireland's fisheries argues that the study - which concluded not only that pollution has a greater impact on wild salmon numbers than fish farming, but also that salmon catchments in close proximity to aquaculture schemes were some of the best performing - is based on flawed methodology.
IFI is among the chorus of voices opposed to the planned organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands in Galway Bay - a 500-hectare project by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) that would be the largest of its kind in Europe if given the go-ahead.
Marine Minister Simon Coveney recently attempted to alleviate concerns over the controversial scheme, claiming there would be no damage to the environment or fish stocks.
However, the controversy doesn't end there, as last month celebrity chef and 'Slow Food' champion Darina Allen wrote to the minister over erroneous claims in BIM's environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project.
As reported by the Galway Independent, Allen contacted Minister Coveney to clarify that the Slow Food movement does not support fish farming projects, after references to the initiative in the EIS "seemed to create a lot of confusion".
Allen told the paper: “Many people contacted me under the perception that Slow Food endorsed the whole salmon farm thing and actually Slow Food has made no statement whatsoever on it.”
Later, Michèle Mesmain of Slow Food International confirmed that “salmon farming does not fit in any pillar of Slow Food”.
The Galway Independent has much more on the story HERE.
Simon Coveney was speaking to Galway Bay FM last week on Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM) proposals for a deep sea salmon farm off the Aran Islands.
The 500-hectare scheme would be the largest of its kind in Europe and has the potential to create hundreds of jobs in the region. A decision on BIM's licence application for the development is set to be made in the coming months.
But the plans have been opposed by conservationists, local anglers and the even the State fisheries body.
Last Wednesday 22 May, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) published an FAQ on its concerns regarding the Galway Bay fish farm proposal, its own submission regarding the environmental impact statements attached to the licence application, and its reasons for avoiding a public debate on the issue.
"IFI is satisfied that its submission, which is supported by international scientific studies, clearly sets out its concerns and recommended measures for mitigation," it says.
The Sinn Féin-organised meeting at the Westwood Hotel in the city tonight was intended to be a debate hearing arguments from both sides regarding the controversial aquaculture project, according to the Galway Advertiser.
However, a statement issued by BIM - which is proposing the salmon farm scheme - claims that "recent statements from some angling groups" have made it impossible to provide a public platform for its side of the issue.
If the project goes ahead, the 500-hectare facility would be the largest of its kind in Europe. But it has faced strong opposition from local anglers and the State fisheries body Inland Fisheries Ireland over the risk posed by sea lice.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the proposed fish farm off the Aran Islands has even put local TDs at odds over questions of the potential benefits and hazards.
Meanwhile, the Galway Advertiser says that opposition group Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages plans to lodge their protest at the constituency office of Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Castlebar this Saturday 27 April as part of a nationwide campaign.
As the Southern Star reports, the groups have asked for a review of the current licensing requirements for aquaculture schemes to ensure that the process is transparent and open to independent review - amid news that both local TDs and State agencies are squabbling over the issue.
"To have a single minister responsible for all these stages of an industry that has such serious pollution issues associated with it, as well as the potential to devastate valuable salmon and sea trout stocks, is inappropriate and open to abuse," argues Alec O'Donovan of Save Bantry Bay, one of the groups in an alliance that include local tourism, angling and environmental interests.
Group chairman Kieran O'Shea singled out for criticism the Department of the Marine's apparent determination to push forward with Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM) fish farm plans in spite of a moratorium on further development of salmon farming three years ago at EU level.
"This not only makes a mockery of EU law but highlights a worrying lack of concern for the environment," said O'Shea.
Meanwhile, another opposition group has spoken out over a letter of support for the fish farm plans by Irish seafood producers and other businesses.
According to the Galway Independent, Brian Curran Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC) claimed the letter - signed by 43 firms, only six of which are directly involved in food production in Galway - was a "set-up".
A spokesperson for BIM dismissed Curran's comments as being "in very poor taste" in seeking "to undermine the intentions or credibility of anyone who would go out of their way to place their support for the proposal 'on the record'."
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 500-hectare development off Inis Óirr in the Aran Islands would be the largest of its kind in Europe.