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Displaying items by tag: Oyster

Hundreds of native oysters have returned to Belfast Lough as part of efforts to bring the ‘ocean superheroes’ back from the brink of extinction.

The ambitious aquaculture restoration project, officially launched on Friday (20 May) by Ulster Wildlife to mark Endangered Species Day, sees approximately 700 mature oysters suspended in cages under the pontoons of Bangor Marina.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this creates the first native oyster (Ostrea edulis) nursery of its kind on the island of Ireland.

As sea temperatures warm over the coming months, the 24 nursery cages will generate millions of oyster larvae which will settle on the seabed, helping the native oyster population recover while also boosting biodiversity and improving water quality in the lough.

Belfast Lough once supported a prolific native oyster fishery. However, overfishing, habitat loss, disease, pollution and invasive introduced species contributed to the population becoming extinct and the fishery closing in 1903.

Since then, 100 years of surveys failed to document one living specimen, until 2020 when researchers from Bangor University and Queen’s University Belfast discovered 42 live oysters at six sites around the lough.

Heidi McIlvenny, marine conservation manager at Ulster Wildlife and who is leading the project, says: “We are still unsure how or why native oysters returned to Belfast Lough, but it indicates that the environmental conditions are right for them to establish here again. But, if they are to bounce back, they need our help.

“The biggest barrier to the recovery of the native oyster is a low number of mature reproducing oysters. The nurseries we have established at Bangor Marina are full of mature oysters that will act as larval pumps, increasing the number of oysters in the Lough and helping to restore this incredible ocean superhero for years to come.”

Boosting the lough’s fragile oyster population will also bring important benefits for other marine life, Heidi says.

“A single oyster can filter up to 200 litres of seawater, equivalent to a bathtub, per day, significantly improving water quality and reducing pollution levels. The larvae once established will also create healthy native oyster reefs in the lough, providing shelter and food for an abundance of marine wildlife, including commercially fished species, along with potential carbon storage.”

Special permissions were granted to relocate the shellfish from Loch Ryan in Scotland. They were screened for disease and cleaned on arrival before being installed in the nurseries. 

Volunteers will conduct ‘health checks’ every week to ensure the oysters are thriving in their new homes. Monthly biodiversity surveys will also track changes in marine life in and around the nurseries, which form their own unique micro-habitat.

Kevin Baird, harbour master at Bangor Marina, says: “We are delighted to be supporting the recovery of our most threatened marine species.

“Housing the oyster nurseries under the pontoons is an innovative use of the space we have available and is a great opportunity for the marina to become an outdoor classroom, where people of all ages can get hands-on with marine conservation in an urban environment.”

The oyster restoration project is funded by the DAERA Challenge Fund. Find out more at ulsterwildlife.org/native-oysters

Published in Aquaculture

In November last year, Bangor Marina in partnership with the Ulster Wildlife Trust made plans to establish the first native oyster nursery in Northern Ireland.

The earliest report of a recognised commercial oyster fishery in Belfast Lough was in the late 18th century and the native oyster has been considered extinct there since 1903.

But in the summer of 2020, live oysters were discovered for the first time in over 100 years – evidence that the environmental conditions for establishment are right.

Now the plans have come to fruition and Ulster Wildlife helped by Marina staff, have hung twenty-six nursery cages underneath F, G and H Pontoons.

Marina manager Kevin Baird said he and the staff are super excited about this project. Similar schemes have been established in other parts of the UK, but this is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Oysters recovered in Bangor MarinaOysters recovered in Bangor Marina

An oyster nursery is a micro-habitat housing about 27 mature oysters that will reproduce and release the next generation of oyster larvae to settle out on the seabed of Bangor Bay and Belfast Lough. An individual oyster can release up to 1 million larvae per year!

Published in Irish Marinas
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Did you know that our Native oysters have been an important food source for centuries - the Romans even exported them back to Italy!

The first report of a recognised commercial oyster fishery in Belfast Lough was in 1780 and although the native oyster has been considered extinct there since 1903, in the summer of 2020, live oysters were discovered for the first time in over 100 years – evidence that the environmental conditions for establishment are right.

The charity, Ulster Wildlife Trust, is hoping to establish the first native oyster nursery in Northern Ireland in Bangor Marina on Belfast Lough to support the declining population and to help create a natural long-term carbon store to tackle climate change. So under F, G and H Pontoons, Ulster Wildlife's Heidi McIlvenny with Harbour Master Kevin Baird and his staff will deploy a native oyster nursery.

Highly prized Loch Ryan OystersHighly prized Loch Ryan Oysters

Around 26 cages will be suspended under the pontoon walkways and will be populated with highly prized Loch Ryan Oysters. The Loch Ryan Oyster Bed, one of Scotland’s largest, dates to 1701 when King William 111 granted a Royal Charter to the Wallace family.

The native or flat oyster stays fixed in one place and is a filter feeder meaning it uses its valves to pump water filtering out microscopic algae and small organic particles from the surrounding water. A single oyster can filter up to 200 litres of seawater per day, which can significantly improve water quality and clarity.

Already thriving in another Marina in Conwy Wales, over time the oysters will start releasing oyster larvae into the harbour which will be carried out to settle on the seabed, ultimately resulting in cleaner waters and better marine biodiversity.

Classified as a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework and a Feature of Conservation Importance for which Marine Conservation Zones can be designated, the oyster has a lifespan of six years.

Harbour Master Kevin Baird would like to get local schools involved after the oysters are in place. “It’s a great environmental project with many very positive benefits”. He added “There will be no disruption to marine traffic”.

Published in Belfast Lough

The Loughs Agency is now inviting interested parties to apply for a licence to fish the 2020/2021 native oyster fishery in Lough Foyle.

Applicants will be required to submit a completed application form by post only (standard delivery, not recorded delivery) due to coronavirus restrictions to:

Loughs Agency Headquarters
22 Victoria Road
Derry~Londonderry
BT47 2AB
Northern Ireland

Applicants are also asked not to send additional documents or payment, only the application.

The licence fee is £150 or €166 with fees payable on receipt of licence.

Anyone who held a licence to fish the Lough Foyle native oyster fishery last season will receive an application pack via post.

If you do not receive a pack or you did not hold a licence last season but wish to apply this year, please either download a form or contact +44 (0) 28 71 342100 (lines open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) to receive a hard copy via post.

Interested parties must have completed applications with the Loughs Agency on or before Friday 31 July. No late applications will be accepted.

Published in Fishing

Ireland’s Formula One Grand Prix legend Eddie Jordan has long been a keen sailor - his current vessel is the well-travelled Oyster 885 Lush. He has now stepped-up his involvement with the well-known UK-based firm as a result of its current re-structuring under the guidance of his longtime sailing friend Richard Hadida.

Richard Hadida has brought Eddie Jordan onto the board as Oyster Yachts – which works closely with international designer Rob Humphreys – re-shapes itself to re-hire most of its staff of 400 at locations in Southampton and Norfolk. The firm had 20 yachts across its renowned high-end range under construction when it went into administration last month, and now the intention is to continue to develop the new Oyster 118 while also taking a fresh look at the other end of the size spectrum, where it is reckoned there is a substantial market for a “super high-quality” 42 footer

Published in Marine Trade
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A former Dun Laoghaire Harbour based Sailing School instructor will lead a new Oyster Yachts management team following the purchase of the luxury boat builder after it went under in February, according to British media reports.

YBW.com reports here, that Richard Hadida has purchased Oyster Yachts and all of its subsidiaries and has brought the owner of one–time Dun Laoghaire Harbour–based sailing school, Sailing West, Paul Adamson on board.

Adamson and his wife Audrey sailed around the world from 2012 to 2014 working professionally for ex Formula One Team Boss, Dubliner Eddie Jordan and prior to that ran the Sailing West Sailing School based at Dun Laoghaire's ferry terminal.

More recently, Adamson has been working as a 'motivational speaker', details as per his website here.

As Afloat.ie reported at the time, the British luxury yacht builder stopped production in February with the loss of some 380 employees at its UK sites at Southampton and Wroxham in Norfolk after the Dutch private equity firm, HTP Investments, announced it would no longer continue to financially support the company.

Hadida is now forming a management team, led by Oyster skipper Adamson, who captained Eddie Jordan's Oyster 885, LUSH in the Oyster World Rally in 2014

Adamson was also a regular competitor on the Dublin Bay SB20 Sportsboat circuit. 

Hadida, who regularly sails on LUSH, told Yachting Monthly he has used his own personal fortune to buy Oyster and all of its subsidiaries, including Oyster Palma and Oyster Newport in the USA.

"Every part of the business, including brokerage and chartering, I plan to bring back to life,' he noted. 'I am not looking to flip it, there is no exit planning, I am in it for the long run, it will be a lifetime business."

His first priority will be on the 26 customers whose Oysters were in build when the company closed its doors.

"We are hoping to start employing people as of tomorrow. At the moment, we have boats in every stage of build from the mould to almost complete and we need to get people on these boats and building them fast. I want to get those yard doors open and start building boats again," stressed Hadida.

Adamson, who will act as 'Chief Transformation Officer',  added that the 26 customers with Oysters in build will get exactly what they ordered.

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A Native Oyster Workshop has drawn on heritage and science to highlight the importance and future of the Native Oyster fisheries across Ireland during the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival.

Cuan Beo, a recently formed community based organization established with a mission of improving the quality of life, environment, economy and heritage around Galway Bay highlighted the need for action to restore the Native Oyster stocks across Ireland during the Native Oyster Workshop (NOW17) which was held in Clarinbridge last week Thursday 5th October 2017.

The workshop brought together Native Oyster Fishermen from the 8 remaining oyster fisheries in Ireland together with the relevant agencies responsible for their governance to develop a plan towards their restoration. The workshop heard that the native Oyster fisheries have been in decline for the past 200 years and are currently at an all-time low. Factors such as poor water quality, absence of fishery management plans, complex governance structures and overfishing have all contributed.

According to Diarmuid Kelly, Chairman of Cuan Beo, the aim of the workshop was to review the current status of the Native Oyster fisheries along the Atlantic coast of Ireland, to discuss the issues impacting on their productivity and identify a roadmap towards the effective management and restoration of Oyster Beds and to restore sustainable production output from these fisheries.

oyster farmers irelandCuan Beo committee members Diarmuid Kelly, Kelly's Oyster, Ollie Tully, Marine Institute, Seamus Breathnach BIM, Mary Gerry O'Halloran, and Colm O'Dowd Photo: Andrew Downes

While Galway and Clarinbridge is synonymous with the oyster, its ecological status is poor. The situation is similar across Europe. It is listed by OSPAR as ‘threatened and declining’ and is listed as a priority habitat in the UK and in many areas in Ireland, including Galway Bay. The native oyster is subject to conservation objectives and is seen as a significant component species in Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). The workshop heard that much of the legislation is complex, misinterpreted and misunderstood.

Prof Noel Wilkins (NUI Galway) presented on the history of the native oyster beds in Galway Bay from times of super-abundance and tracking their decline to the present day. This was coupled with presentations from government agencies including the Marine Institute, the SFPA, Waters and Communities and BIM highlighting challenges relating to their restoration including licensing and governance, disease, water quality, fisheries management and displacement by invasive species. Case studies from successful fisheries were presented from Lough’s Agency in NI and Tralee Co-op.

An action plan was agreed at the workshop to create a national working group in the coming weeks. The group would not just lobby for simplification in governance but also to address assessment and up-skilling of existing co/op management in each area and the provision of support and assistance in developing management plans for each fishery. BIM agreed to coordinate the establishment of this working group.

The day-long event concluded with the official launch of Cuan Beo, by Cllr Eileen Mannion Caothairlaoch of County Galway. The launch was also attended by Seán Kyne TD Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment with responsibility for Natural Resources, Community Affairs, and Digital Development. Niall Sabongi (KLAW Restaurant Dublin) held a masterclass in oyster tasting with a selection of native oysters from the various fisheries across Ireland and the event was concluded with a lecture highlighting the importance of the oyster in Galway Bay from pre-historic times (4000BC) to the present day by Local Archaeologist and historian, Michael Gibbons.

Published in Fishing
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In 2011 Oyster announced the Oyster 885 following extensive research and development of the project to build the Oyster 100 and 125. Observing that the LY2/3 code requirements meant the Oyster 100 had only 5 cabins for the owner and crew – the team took on the challenge to comply with regulations, but more efficiently!

Oyster 885 had to deliver a great deal – Superyacht equipment, levels of furnishings, bunk lengths, headroom and all of this in a hull just below the LY3 code rule length. Extensive tank-testing followed, a blade jib and roller boom configuration developed and the hull shape and appendages were refined. Recognising from this that the "6th Generation – G6" of Oyster concepts had been conceived – the company quietly went about redesigning the whole fleet.

The Oyster 825 followed, then the Oyster 745, more tank-testing and then the Oyster 118 and most recently, the Oyster 675.

Completing the 'G6' fleet, Oyster is delighted to announce the two new models – the Oyster 565 and the Oyster 595. Aimed very much at the family sailor, and skillfully combining the learning from the larger yachts, these two new yachts also include many features refined with the 101 Oyster yachts that have circumnavigated (or are in the process of circumnavigating – 31 set sail on the Oyster World Rally last weekend on the 15th January 2017). Oyster believes that no other yacht builder has the combination of experience of large numbers of yachts circumnavigating with just the owners and friends on board and more than 35 'Superyachts' built over 24 metres - the majority of whom traded up from Oyster previous 'baby-superyachts' - the Oyster 56, launched in 1998 and of which 75 were built. The Oyster 565 & 595 create the benchmark for future larger Superyachts.

Published in Boat Sales
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#oysters – Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Joe McHugh T.D. and the North's Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill MLA, jointly welcomed the decision by the Loughs Agency to re-open two of the six main oyster fishing beds in Lough Foyle which had been closed for the last number of weeks.

Minister McHugh said: "The decision to partially re-open the beds from 15 to 19 December 2014 will create potential opportunity to catch up to an additional 25 tonnes (up to a value of €125,000). I believe that the Agency has achieved a good balance between economic opportunity for local fishermen with a dividend for the local communities and the conservation imperative".

He added "I want to emphasise that sustainability and safeguarding this natural resource in Lough Foyle are the shared responsibilities of all stakeholders, including the licensed fishermen."

Minister O'Neill said: "Whilst I appreciate the importance of Management interventions to conserve and maintain oyster stocks, I am mindful of the impact that closure of the oyster beds has had on the livelihood of local oystermen particularly in the run-up to Christmas.

"Looking to the future, I am hopeful that there will be constructive engagement between the Agency and local fishermen on a range of issues that will safeguard the future of the Native Oyster Fishery on Lough Foyle.

Ministers had jointly raised the issue of the closure of the oyster beds at the North South Ministerial Council Aquaculture and Marine Sectoral Meeting in Armagh last Friday when they asked the Agency to review its decision to close the main oyster beds.

The Ministers pointed out the need to strike a balance between the socio-economic benefits for the Foyle Oyster Fishermen and the scientific evidence to support the long term sustainability of the Native Oyster Fishery on Lough Foyle.

Both Ministers thanked the Chairman, Chief Executive and the Loughs Agency staff for efforts in reaching this decision.

Published in Fishing
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#illegalfishing – Four men have been convicted of illegal fishing activities at two different sittings of Galway District Court on Tuesday, 1st July 2014. Judge Mary Fahy imposed fines and costs totally €4,900 to three brothers, Vidmantas Gaidys, Sigitas Gaidys and Alvydas Gaidys, convicted of illegal fishing activities; and John Costello was convicted of taking oysters illegally and fined €250, with costs of €300.

Illegal Fishing
Vidmantas Gaidys, of 21 Beal Srutha, Ballybane, Galway was convicted of using a net illegally, obstruction of fishery officers, and possession of a salmon in breach of fisheries legislation. Sigitas Gaidys, of 9C Bayview Rise, Ballybane, and Alvydas Gaidys, of Farm House, Cloonbiggen Road, Claregalway, were both convicted of the illegal use of a net, and obstruction of fishery officers.

Judge Fahy heard evidence that on the night of 19th October, 2013, the three men were in a van which fishery officers stopped close to the Clare River at Montiagh North, Claregalway, Co Galway. Vidmantas Gaidys was apprehended, while the other two men fled on foot. When the van was searched, two bags containing 78 coarse fish and 1 salmon were discovered. The other two men were later identified and interviewed. All three admitted to using a net, and pleaded guilty in court.

Judge Fahy warned that using the vehicle in the course of the offence was a serious matter, and she told Mr. Gaidys that if he came before her for a similar offence she would disqualify him from driving for two years. Vidmantas Gaidys was fined €1,500 with costs of €600, while the other two defendants were each fined €800, with €600 costs.

Illegal Oyster Fishing
At a second sitting of Galway District Court on the 1st of July, Judge Mary Fahy convicted John Costello, of Ballinacourty, Clarinbridge, Co. Galway, of taking oysters illegally from Clarinbridge Bay.

Judge Fahy heard evidence that on 5th December, 2013, Mr. Costello was observed by Fishery Officer Lonan O'Farrell hand picking oysters at Carrowmore, Ballinacourty, Co. Galway. The only legal method of harvesting wild oysters is by licensed dredge, and hand picking is strictly illegal. Mr. Costello left a bag at the shoreline, and when this was searched it was found to contain 94 wild native oysters.

Judge Fahy commented that the native oyster was under threat in many areas, and that it was very important to the local economy of the Clarinbridge area. She convicted Mr. Costello of a breach of Section 277 of the 1959 Fisheries Act, and imposed a fine of €250, with costs of €300.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has a freefone number to enable members of the general public to report poaching incidents - 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

Published in Angling
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About Match Racing

A match race is a race between two competitors, going head-to-head.

In yacht racing, it is differentiated from a fleet race, which almost always involves three or more competitors competing against each other, and team racing where teams consisting of 2, 3 or 4 boats compete together in a team race, with their results being combined.

A match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. With effective boat handling and clever use of wind and currents, a trailing boat can escape the grasp of the leader and pass. The leader uses blocking techniques to hold the other boat back. This one-on-one duel is a game of strategy and tactics.

About the World Match Racing Tour

Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion. Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR). Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors

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