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Displaying items by tag: aquaculture

A new monitoring programme for harvesting King Scallops on the Irish coastline will come into effect this weekend.

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), says that from June 1st there will be increased sampling of whole scallops and more toxins will be analysed.

“The SFPA has worked collaboratively with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the Marine Institute (MI) in preparation to implement the enhanced monitoring programme,”it says.

It has also held briefing sessions and consulted with industry in the lead up to this change, it says.

King Scallops are a live bivalve mollusc species which are harvested/fished by Irish fishermen primarily from offshore wild fisheries, and by the inshore fleet from a number of classified production areas.

Specific EU regulations apply to live bivalve molluscs including scallops to ensure compliance with food safety standards.

All commercially harvested scallops must comply with these regulations so they can be placed on the market for human consumption, the SFPA says.

The harvesting or fishing of scallops can only take place from classified production areas that are on an “open” biotoxin status for scallops when they can be marketed live and whole in the shell, or on a “harvest restricted” biotoxin status when only shucked product of those parts of the scallop which have tested below regulatory limits for marine biotoxins can be placed on the market.

“ No harvesting of scallops is allowed from a classified production area that is on a “closed” biotoxin status for scallops,” it says.

More information is on the following link Food Safety Information Notice Harvesting of King Scallops

The "Code of Practice for the Irish Shellfish Monitoring Programme (Biotoxins)”  has also been updated and is available on the Food Safety Authority of Ireland website.

The SFPA Food Safety Unit can be contacted at email [email protected].

Published in SFPA

Prospective students interested in a marine career will be able to visit an aquaculture “remote classroom” at an Atlantic Technological University (ATU) open day this weekend.

The mobile classroom which gives a taste of aquaculture has been developed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

BIM development executive Máirtín Walsh said the State agency was “delighted to attend the open day”.

He said it provided BIM with an opportunity to “continue our partnership with ATU to promote education and careers, not just in seafood production and marine science, but also in the areas of marine focused engineering and technology”.

“The Irish aquaculture industry produces nutritious, sustainable, low carbon seafood and continues to create employment around the coast in a wide range of disciplines,”Walsh said.

Interior of the BIM Aquaculture Remote Classroom Photo: Máirtín WalshInterior of the BIM Aquaculture Remote Classroom Photo: Máirtín Walsh

“ We look forward to meeting as many young people as possible at this open day to educate them on the exciting career opportunities available in the marine sector,”he added.

The ATU opening morning is aimed at secondary school pupils, teachers, parents, guardians, and mature students.

Events will be held at its Galway city campuses at Dublin Road and Wellpark Road this Saturday, April 13th, from 10am to 1pm.

ATU student ambassadors Conor Culhane (left), second-year outdoor education, and Matthew White, fourth-year outdoor education Photo: Ugnius BrazdziunasATU student ambassadors Conor Culhane (left), second-year outdoor education, and Matthew White, fourth-year outdoor education Photo: Ugnius Brazdziunas

Courses at the ATU Galway and Mayo campuses range from aquaculture and agriculture to outdoor education, computing, creative arts and media, culinary arts, sports coaching, social care and science.

There will be talks on the CAO process, the various programmes, available supports and insights into student finance, accommodation and student life. Demonstrations, exhibitions and tours will also be conducted on both city campuses.

To register and avail of information across ATU campuses in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, and Donegal, visit here

Published in Aquaculture
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A geographer has been awarded €300,000 in funding to lead the Irish stage of a European project aiming to boost the transformation towards a “climate neutral” blue economy.

Dr John Morrissey, lecturer in geography at Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College, will lead the Irish research element of Aquabalance, a project under the EU’s “Blue Economy Partnership” programme.

The research, which has received €1.3 million between partner researchers in Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Italy, will run for three years.

The project funding comes at a time when the EU is trying to encourage discourse around “blue economies—coastal and marine communities—as new economic space”, Dr Morrisey explains:

“Our economic priorities in Ireland often don’t reflect that we are an island nation. There’s huge potential in the likes of off-shore wind and the rejuvenation of coastal communities and this project will look at new ways of thinking about and designing models for aquaculture in regional contexts,” he says.

“For example, how can a community have salmon farms that benefit the local area, do not harm the environment and fundamentally benefit everyone?,” he says.

“In particular, Aquabalance will focus on the sustainable development challenges of aquaculture in Europe, contributing to the goals of the EU “Farm to Fork” strategy and tackling the grand challenges of climate change and social justice,” he says.

“This project takes a multi-national and transdisciplinary approach to understanding emerging blue economies, focusing in particular on dilemmas associated with rebalancing the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability,” he says.

Prof Natalia Maehle, Aquabalance project coordinator, says this is “a cutting-edge project that will provide the aquaculture industry and stakeholders with a wide range of new knowledge and evidence-based recommendations to ensure its social legitimacy and sustainability”.

A three-year funded PhD, and a postdoctoral research contract for two years, is also included in the funding.

Published in Marine Science
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A Connemara shellfish business is using Brexit-related grant aid for a new packaging and labelling machine.

Killary Fjord Shellfish in Leenane received grant aid of over €16,000 through Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) under the Brexit Sustainable Aquaculture Growth Scheme.

The scheme is funded by the EU under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, which aims to reduce the economic impact of Britain’s withdrawal.

Killary Fjord Shellfish owners Simon Kennedy and partner Kate O’Connor Kennedy say the new packaging and labelling machine is allowing them to produce more shellfish more efficiently, with the packaging material having minimal negative environmental impact.

Simon Kennedy and his wife Kate O'Connor Kennedy, the team behind Killary Fjord Shellfish, pictured with their new packaging and labelling machineSimon Kennedy and his wife Kate O'Connor Kennedy, the team behind Killary Fjord Shellfish, pictured with their new packaging and labelling machine

The business, which has been operating for 35 years, has always had a huge emphasis on sustainability, using recyclable and reusable materials to avoid single use plastics as much as possible, O’Connor Kennedy says.

“In so far as we can we source materials that are local and sustainable, reducing our carbon footprint. For example, we use wooden boxes for our oysters packaging. And we use recyclable hairy rope in our growing techniques that are stripped down and reused annually,”she says.

Killary Fjord Shellfish also sources hard plastic food grade crates locally which are then collected and reused for next delivery, significantly increasing life cycle of the packaging, something the couple are very proud of.

Their business story dates back over three decades to when Simon was reading a copy of the Marine Times while lying on his bunk during down time from his job as a commercial fisherman in Alaska.

Shellfish produced at Killary Fjord ShellfishShellfish produced at Killary Fjord Shellfish

“I had been thinking of coming back to Ireland and I saw a ‘for sale’ ad for a mussel farm in Killary Fjord while I was reading the paper. And the rest is history,” he says.

That was in 1988, and over the last three decades the couple have developed Killary Fjord Shellfish into one of the foremost shellfish farms and suppliers in Ireland.

Simon Kennedy pictured with Rope Mussel in Killary FjordSimon Kennedy pictured with Rope Mussel in Killary Fjord

The business is part of Taste the Atlantic – a collaboration between BIM and Fáilte Ireland to promote seafood producers and their products along the Wild Atlantic Way.

As well as farming shellfish Killary Fjord Shellfish offers a “Day in the life” tour, bringing visitors out on a boat to see mussels hauled aboard, harvested, graded, and cleaned.

Once back on dry land, there is a lesson in oyster shucking, and and a “delicious shellfish lunch”.

Published in Aquaculture
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A south Connemara abalone aquaculture farm is one of over 100 ocean farming and marine businesses across Europe participating in an international study on the “challenges and benefits of a nature-positive economy”.

The Western Development Commission (WDC) and Trinity Business School are collaborating on the “GoNaturePositive!” research project, which was launched by Minister of State for Nature and Heritage Malcolm Noonan.

The Horizon Europe-funded initiative led by Trinity Business School involves 20 partners across 14 countries.

Cindy O’Brien, marine biologist and owner of Abalone Chonamara Teoranta, is one of the Irish “nature-positive” aquaculture businesses participating in the Irish pilot.

“We are delighted to participate in this research. While there is much scientific evidence about the benefits of abalone, seaweed and other forms of mariculture for storing carbon, much less research is looking at new opportunities for growth and scaling,” she said.

“ There is huge potential for seaweed to be integrated into biodegradable materials for the bioeconomy for example, as well as for food and bio-pharmaceutical ingredients,”O’Brien said.

“ We need to start cultivating these raw materials and we urgently need more research and financing to support the growth of these types of climate-resilient, nature-positive businesses,”she added.

The research aims to provide “more clarity” on “the concept of a nature-positive economy”, and “provide guidance for businesses and policy makers on the priorities for transformation”.

Noonan said that the outcomes from the research “will help to inform government policy and provide guidance on the delivery of our new Irish National Biodiversity Action Plan”.

“The Irish government recognises that we need to radically change the way in which we value nature. The ring-fencing of €3,15 billion for climate and nature spending between 2026 and 2030 demonstrates our commitment to a nature-positive transition,” he said.

WDC chief executive Allan Mulrooney said that the blue economy is a key priority for the western region of Ireland, “reflecting our dedication to exploring sustainable development within this sector”.

“We are keen to engage with businesses of varying sizes to navigate this evolving landscape together,” he said.

“ Recent research highlights the potential benefits of directing more investment towards environmentally conscious initiatives, like ocean farming,” he added.

“ While this presents an exciting opportunity, it also allows us to consider how such strategies could foster economic vitality and environmental well-being across our region, benefiting a broad spectrum of stakeholders,” Mulrooney said.

Six pilot studies of nature-based enterprises form the main focus of the research. These range from ocean farming and marine businesses in Ireland to bee-farming in Colombia and regenerative farming in Belgium.

Carbon-neutral forestry and nature-positive tourism in Italy and green building enterprises throughout Europe are also involved in the research.

For more information about the project and to get involved, visit here.

Published in Aquaculture
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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D launched the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development 2030 at the IFA Annual Aquaculture Conference today. The strategic plan outlines a vision for the Irish aquaculture industry in 2030.

During his keynote address, the Minister emphasised the importance of the European Maritime Fisheries & Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and how the funding schemes provided by EMFAF can benefit the sector. He also highlighted the positive impact that a sustainable, profitable, competitive, and market-focused aquaculture sector can have on Ireland's coastal communities and the country as a whole.

The NSPSA is the result of extensive consultation with stakeholders, including the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). The Minister thanked the IFA and other stakeholders for their input in the development of the plan.

The launch of the NSPSA was met with enthusiasm by the aquaculture industry, as it sets a clear path for the sector to become a global standard in sustainability and quality. The Minister believes that the implementation of the plan will enable the industry to build and maintain its competitive edge in the future

The NSPSA is up forward as a significant step in the continued development of a sustainable, profitable, and competitive aquaculture sector in Ireland. With its implementation, the sector hopes to optimise environmental performance and support the natural capital upon which it depends while making a long-term economic and social contribution to the country's coastal communities and Ireland as a whole.

The National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture (NSPSA) is available here

Published in Aquaculture
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Offshore renewable energy and its impact on Irish aquaculture and the implications of the Nature Restoration Law are among themes for this year’s annual Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) aquaculture conference next month.

An update from Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine officials on aquaculture policy and licensing is also on the agenda, along with an update on funding programmes and upcoming European Maritime and Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) schemes.

Keynote speakers will be announced shortly, according to IFA Aquaculture, which has opened registration for the conference and annual general meeting (AGM).

The conference and AGM will take place in the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel, Limerick, on Thursday, February 22nd, on the eve of the Skipper Expo at the University of Limerick sports arena on Friday, February 23rd and Saturday, February 24th.

As Afloat has reported, the third national seafarers’ conference on the theme of offshore wind also takes place on Thursday February 22nd, in the Castletroy Hotel, Limerick.

The IFA Aquaculture conference and AGM fee is 20 euro, and the conference, AGM and dinner fee is 60 euro.

Registration details are here

Published in Aquaculture

Kelly Oysters, a multi-award-winning seafood business based in Galway, is set to expand its sales of mussels for the domestic market following a recent investment.

The €172,000 investment has been supported by BIM, with €74,844 coming from the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme.

This significant investment will enable Kelly Oysters to "mussel" in on the growing seafood market and meet the increasing demand for high-quality seafood in Ireland. The expansion is expected to create new jobs and help drive growth in the local economy. The investment is a testament to the quality of Kelly Oysters' products and the company's commitment to sustainability and innovation in the seafood industry.

The scheme, which will deliver up to €45 million in funding to the Irish seafood processing sector, is funded by the European Union under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. It was recommended by the Seafood Taskforce established by Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D.

Diarmuid and Michael Kelly of Kelly's Oysters in Galway Bay. As well as supplying the Oyster Festivals, Kelly Oysters supplies oysters throughout Ireland and around the world. Last season, these much sought-after delicacies were exported to 14 different countries. Photo: Andrew DownesDiarmuid and Michael Kelly of Kelly's Oysters in Galway Bay. As well as supplying the Oyster Festivals, Kelly Oysters supplies oysters throughout Ireland and around the world. Last season, these much sought-after delicacies were exported to 14 different countries. Photo: Andrew Downes

Diarmuid Kelly, one of two brothers who runs the business, said the investment has seen the introduction of a new production system which will package small-sized bags of mussels suitable for home preparations. He sees this as opening the doors for new sales channels at home and abroad.

Kelly Oysters recently won a prestigious Euro-Toques Food Award for its outstanding Blue Rope Mussels, and for its contribution to regenerative aquaculture in Ireland. “We were so proud to win this award. It is recognition of the work we put into producing the finest shellfish possible.” said Diarmuid Kelly.

Kelly Oysters recently won a prestigious Euro-Toques Food Award for its outstanding Blue Rope MusselsKelly Oysters recently won a prestigious Euro-Toques Food Award for its outstanding Blue Rope Mussels

At present the live mussels produced by the Kelly’s are mainly packed in 10kg to 15 kg bags for the food service and wholesale market. But they are not suitable for retail sales.

Said Diarmuid Kelly: “We noticed an increase in demand from fish wholesalers for smaller sized packaging during the Covid-19 pandemic and this trend has remained. Market research is telling us that consumers are looking for produce that is semi prepared and ready to cook. Our new smaller 1kg packaging is an opportunity to drive increased sales into retail, and direct to consumer channels.”

Traditionally, handier 1kg net bags of mussels have been produced by hand, something which was very labour intensive. But thanks to the recent investment, supported by BIM, Kelly Oysters has introduced a product line that will prepare, weigh, pack and label 1kg bags of mussels that are fully traceable from farm to fork.

The live mussels produced by the Kelly’s are mainly packed in 10kg to 15 kg bags for the food service and wholesale marketThe live mussels produced by the Kelly’s are mainly packed in 10kg to 15 kg bags for the food service and wholesale market

“Our investment will add huge value to our existing produce,” said Diarmuid Kelly. “From existing inquiries, we estimate a demand of 20 tonnes of 1kg packs of mussels per annum, growing to 50 tonnes over three years. We are very excited about the new chapter and the prospect of welcoming new generations of shellfish lovers to our product.”

For more than seven decades the Kelly family has been successfully farming delicious, top quality oysters, mussels and shellfish in the crystal-clear waters of Galway Bay. Its sustainably farmed oysters grace the tables of some of the finest restaurants and hotels in Ireland and around the world.

Kelly Oysters was first set up by Diarmuid’s father, Michael, in 1952. At that stage there was only a wild stock of oysters on the west coast, and no oyster farming. “My grandfather, who was also called Michael, was an oyster dredger and he would dredge wild oysters from the bottom of the sea from a fishing boat. It was my father Michael who formally set up the business and started selling oysters to restaurants.”

Kelly Oysters is a multi-award-winning family seafood business based in GalwayKelly Oysters is a multi-award-winning family seafood business based in Galway

The passion and love for the business was passed down to sons Diarmuid and Micheal. But pivotal also to the business are their wives Mary (married to Micheal) and Theresa (married to Diarmuid) who work full time in the business. In addition, Micheals, son Michael junior, is on the staff of ten.

Said Diarmuid: “Where we are now is very much due to the hard work and dedication that our entire team put in every day. The Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme has been a huge help to us, and was the incentive for us to introduce our new product line which will help us become more efficient and to reach new customers.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit created several challenges for the business with significant disruption to sales.

“We realised to meet the economic and future needs of this family business; a new strategy was required which included adding value to existing products, and which did not rely solely on the existing wholesale foodservice market.”

Currently Kelly Oysters sell approximately 30 per cent of its product abroad, and 70 per cent to the domestic market. It exports oysters to 14 countries around the world, including Canada and Singapore.

Published in BIM
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The Marine Minister, Charlie McConalogue T.D, has announced the launch of the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development (NSPSA) 2030. The NSPSA aims to support a diverse consumer and market base, which aligns with the recognition of Irish aquaculture's growing status as a key provider of sustainable, low-carbon, and healthy food.

In 2021, the Aquaculture industry in Ireland was worth approximately €175 million and has grown significantly since the 1980s. The sector produces high-value finfish and shellfish worth around 40,000 tonnes and employs approximately 1,800 people, mostly in rural areas.

The Minister emphasized the recent environmental and economic challenges that have impacted the Irish aquaculture industry, such as the drive towards carbon net-zero, the UK's exit from the European Union, and the global effects of the war in Ukraine. He hopes that the new NSPSA will provide the necessary building blocks to continue developing a sustainable, competitive, and market-focused aquaculture sector in Ireland.

"In 2021, the Aquaculture industry in Ireland was worth approximately €175 million"

The NSPSA will be implemented throughout a ten-year period, ending in 2030, and has four main objectives: building resilience and competitiveness, participating in the green transition, ensuring social acceptance and consumer information, and increasing knowledge and innovation. It outlines 58 specific actions, including developing a user-friendly online aquaculture licensing and information system, prioritizing fish welfare, supporting innovative practices in aquaculture, and creating a human capacity plan to promote the sector as a desirable career option.

Marine Minister, Charlie McConalogue T.DMarine Minister, Charlie McConalogue T.D

The Minister believes that the NSPSA will pave the way for the Irish Aquaculture sector to become more resilient, competitive, and globally recognized for its sustainability and quality standards. He hopes that with the implementation of this plan, the aquaculture sector will be able to maintain its competitive edge in the future, significantly contributing to the coastal communities and the Irish economy as a whole.

Published in Aquaculture
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Researchers on technology for the rapid diagnosis of fish disease on aquaculture sites have been awarded Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funding.

A team led by Dr Niall Maloney of the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and Prof Enda McGlynn of Dublin City University (DCU) is working with Catherine McManus of Mowi Ireland on the project.

“Current methods for the diagnosis of pathogens in aquaculture are time-consuming and are carried out in laboratories that are sometimes far from farm sites,” Dr Maloney says.

“ By developing technology for use directly at the farm site, we can reduce sample to answer times and ensure more timely and appropriate disease management practices can be implemented,” he says.

The team says it will develop a test that works in a similar fashion to the COVID-19 tests that were used in homes and workplaces throughout the pandemic, but with some modifications.

Oxide nanostructures, which are thin and narrow will be grown on the paper used in these tests in Prof McGlynn’s laboratory.

“By increasing the surface to volume ratio of the test line using these structures it is hoped that assay performance can be improved by providing a larger area for the capture of pathogens,” they state.

“ A portable thermal reader will also be developed to scan the assay test lines to determine the number of infectious agents present,” they explain.

The support by SFI is drawn from the National Challenge Fund announced recently by Higher Education Minister Simon Harris.

The National Challenge Fund is a €65 million programme established under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and funded by the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility,

“An important part of Challenge-based funding is engagement with stakeholders and potential beneficiaries to ensure we are making informed decisions on the future direction of this project,” Dr Maloney says.

“This type of engagement will ensure that we focus our efforts on the real-world challenges faced when trying to diagnose infectious disease in aquaculture and ensure we can achieve maximum impact,” he says.

Published in Aquaculture
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About the Golden Globe Race

The Golden Globe Race is the original round the world yacht race. In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. Off shore yacht racing changed forever with adventurers and sailors, inspired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, following in his pioneering wake. Nine men started the first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. History was made. Navigating with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world. In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly caught the attention of the worlds media as well as adventures, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. The original race is back.

The Golden Globe Race: Stepping back to the golden age of solo sailing

Like the original Sunday Times event back in 1968/9, the 2018 Golden Globe Race was very simple. Depart Les Sables d'Olonne, France on July 1st 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables d'Olonne. Entrants are limited to use the same type of yachts and equipment that were available to Robin Knox-Johnston in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite-based navigation aids.

Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 and having a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts will be heavily built, strong and steady, similar in concept to Robin's 32ft vessel Suhaili.

In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the 'Golden Age' of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow and steady 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She is heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge without the aid of modern-day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive, but was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer.

This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing the adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for 'those who dare', just as it was for Knox-Johnston.

They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves.

Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow.

It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea, challenging themselves and each other. The 2018 Golden Globe Race was a fitting tribute to the first edition and it's winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Background on Don McIntyre (61) Race Founder

Don is an inveterate sailor and recognised as one of Australia s greatest explorers. Passionate about all forms of adventure and inspiring others, his desire is to recreate the Golden Age of solo sailing. Don finished 2nd in class in the 1990-91 BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race. In 2010, he led the 4-man Talisker Bounty Boat challenge to re-enact the Mutiny on the Bounty voyage from Tonga to West Timor, in a simil