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Displaying items by tag: shellfish

#Shellfish - The Marine Institute, as the EU designated national reference laboratory for shellfish toxins and shellfish microbiology in Ireland, has launched a new shellfish safety website.

Incorporating a range of user friendly info-graphics and maps, the site will provide information on recent trends analysis as well as current status of shellfish production areas.

The new website has been launched to provide regulatory authorities, shellfish producers, processors, hospitality industry, public health officials and the general public with the most up-to-date information available.

The Marine Institute carries out a year-round national testing programme to ensure that all shellfish are safe before being placed on the market for human consumption.

“With over 100 coastal aquaculture production areas farming a variety of shellfish species, and many more offshore areas being fished commercially, it is essential that an efficient and accurate method of communicating these test results is in place,” said Joe Silke, manager of shellfish safety for the Marine Institute.

The open status of shellfish production areas is necessary before the product can be placed on the market. This open status depends on clear tests being obtained for a comprehensive range of shellfish toxins, and in addition, harmful algal species from water samples must be tested on an ongoing basis. In addition, microbiological classification status is assigned on the basis of ongoing testing.

“Placing shellfish on the market requires speedy testing and reporting laboratory results. The Institute has strived towards providing state of the art processes and this new website will provide current status and a range of extra information that was not previously online,” added Silke.

All shellfish safety data are continuously compiled on databases at the Marine Institute and are essential to assign the appropriate ongoing status to the shellfish production areas.

The new website, the first phase of which is now available online, will feature new information such as the progress of sample analysis through the lab, recent trends in toxin and harmful algal concentrations, and maps to indicate the national trends.

Further features will be rolled out in the coming months.

Published in Fishing

#Shellfish - Galway will host the 11th International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety (ICMSS 2017) this summer from Sunday 14 to Thursday 18 May.

ICMSS 2017 will be hosted by the Marine Institute in association with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Irish Shellfish Association, National University of Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway.

This 11th conference in the biannual forum series, subtitled ‘Protecting consumers, assuring supply, growing confidence’, offers an important multidisciplinary interface between regulatory, scientific and industrial representatives of the international molluscan food safety community. Unusual, emerging and novel shellfish risk factors will be discussed, offering new information and solutions.

ICMSS 2017 will include keynote presentations from acclaimed international experts in the area. A series of workshops will be held in conjunction with the event on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May which will be of particular interest to shellfish safety professionals and students, including microbiologists, toxin chemists, toxicologists, marine scientists, regulators, policy makers, food safety specialists, environmental health officials, engineers, environmental managers, academics and undergraduate and postgraduate students.

More information can be found on the ICMSS 2017 website. The programme is available to as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#Jobs - The Marine Institute requires a laboratory analyst to provide support to a two-year research project investigating norovirus, hepatitis A virus, hepatitis E virus and sapovirus concentrations in oysters.

The work will primarily involve laboratory based detection of the viruses in oysters using existing and proposed molecular procedures. In addition, there may be some elements of field work including sampling and environmental monitoring.

This temporary specified-purpose contract of employment is funded under the FIRM programme and will run for a duration of up to two years. The successful candidate will be on probation for the first six months.

To apply, a CV and letter of application summarising experience and skill set applicable to the position should be emailed to [email protected] or posted to Human Resources at the Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Galway. All correspondence for this post should quote reference LA-FIRM-Jan 2017

All applications for this post should be received by the Marine Institute before noon next Tuesday 7 February. Late applications will not be accepted.

A detailed job description is available from the Marine Institute website HERE.

Published in Jobs

#Seafood - Donegal's oyster industry has been hit by an import ban in Hong Kong over an outbreak of food poisoning.

According to The Irish Times, food safety investigators in the Chinese territory were notified by Irish authorities two weeks ago that the presence of norovirus was confirmed at a raw oyster processing plant in the north-eastern county that services the crucial Asian market.

Hong Kong subsequently banned the import of raw oysters from Donegal "for the sake of prudence". More HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Shellfish - The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is holding a series of Shellfish Regional Information Meetings around the coast in April and May.

The informal events, held in association with the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), aim to provide an opportunity for all those involved in the shellfish industry to learn more about the role of the Shellfish Safety Monitoring Programme and how it assists industry to ensure that live bivalve molluscs placed on the market meet the highest standards of food safety.

This series of events will focus on microbiological classification of shellfish production areas but will also cover topics such as biotoxin and phytoplankton monitoring, phytoplankton sampling and viruses. 

The first of these meetings takes place on 15 April at the SFPA office in Clonakilty, Co Cork, followed by 16 April at the Brehon Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry.

On 27 April, the meeting moves to the Clann Ri Hotel in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, followed on 28 April at the Marine Institute in Oranmore, Co Galway.

The final meeting in the series will be held on 6 May at the FSAI office on Lower Abbey Street in Dublin city centre.

Registration for the events in Donegal, Galway, Cork and Dublin is from 1pm with a light lunch served. These sessions will run from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. In Kerry, registration is from 9:30am with tea/coffee served. The sessions will run from 10am to 1pm, when a light lunch will be served.

To register for one of these free half-day events, click on the any of the links above or phone Lorna Tallon on 01 817 1398.

Published in Fishing

#Mussels - "Major concerns" abound over an endangered species of freshwater mussel after a Connemara roadway project given the go-ahead by planners before its design was finalised.

According to The Irish Times, locals expected the road project to be an upgrade of the existing route between Oughterard and Maam Cross, but only found out later that a wholly new road would be built through their land via compulsory purchase orders.

Besides splitting a number of farms in Glengowna near Oughterard, the final scheme will impact on the catchment of the Owenriff river, one of Europe's oldest trout hatcheries and host to one of the world's most important populations of the freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera.

And according to an independent ecologist, the presence of the latter means planning permission cannot be legally granted in the way it has been decided.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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#Fishing - The unregulated use of pesticides by fish farms poses a significant threat to both the shellfish industry and marine wildlife, according to new research findings.

The Irish Examiner reports on the study by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, which confirms that pesticides used to kill sea lice infestations in aquaculture schemes often exceed environmental quality standards, or EQS.

Researchers studies samples from fish farms in Norway, which has no EQS system, and compared them to thresholds in the UK.

The study has been welcomed by lobby group Save Bantry Bay, whose secretary Alect O'Donovan claimed the value of shellfish to the local economy was more than €640,000 in 2009.

"It is ludicrous to put this at risk by adding more salmon farms and greater pesticide emissions that have the potential to wipe out stocks," he added.

Management of Ireland's shellfish fisheries and wildlife in general will be up for discussion at this year's Buckland Lecture in UCD next Wednesday evening (29 October), as Derek Evans writes in The Irish Times.

Malcolm Windsor, formerly of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation, will be joined by Frank Convery, Ken Whelan and a panel of experts on the night to debate these important issues.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#MarineScience - The Marine Institute has headed a major international project demonstrating the latest advances in shellfish safety. 

Results of this four-year project - presented on Tuesday 10 September at the ASTOX-II Project workshop in the Oranmore HQ of the Marine Institute – were described as very significant for the shellfish industry, and for the institute's key position in the field of marine biotoxin science.

According to researchers, new discoveries made during the project regarding the biological source, chemistry and toxicology of a naturally occurring marine biotoxin Azaspiracid will lead to a better understanding and regulation of the problem. 

This toxin is regulated under EU law and can accumulate in shellfish resulting in closures of shellfish production areas in order to prevent human illness. 

Irish scientists have worked on understanding the nature and origin of the toxin since it was first discovered on the west coast of Ireland in the mid 1990s.

An international group of over 40 world-leading scientists in the field of biotoxin science who attended the workshop described several practical tools that have been developed for the analysis of this toxin and its micro algal source. 

The group also described several new phytoplankton species responsible for producing the toxins, developed new molecular probes and other assays for monitoring the problem, and for the first time produced details of how the toxin affects consumers during and following digestion. 

These answers are essential in setting appropriate shellfish safety standards to ensure that only the highest quality Irish shellfish reach the market, said the Marine Institute.

Another major output of the project was the purification of several Azaspiracid variants directly from Irish shellfish and micro algae for use as certified reference materials. These ultra-pure extracts are essential for analytical techniques and are now distributed to monitoring and research labs all over the world.

“The success of this project is very important for food safety in Ireland and internationally but also for the Irish shellfish industry,” said project manager Jane Kilcoyne of the Marine Institute. “When a bay is closed for shellfish production because of a harmful algal bloom it can cause severe economic hardship for producers in that area. 

"We hope the practical tools developed through this project for example new rapid test methods will help to minimise the impact of these harmful toxins on shellfish producers by providing better prediction and monitoring systems.”

The ASTOX-II project team of Irish, Northern Irish, French, Norwegian, American, Canadian and German scientists worked together on biological, chemical and toxicological aspects of the compound. Since the project began it has generated many publications – including three PhD studies, 29 peer-reviewed papers, three book chapters and 44 presentations at national and international conferences - and others are anticipated after its completion in November 2013. 

These publications stimulate global interest in Azaspiracid research, disseminate new knowledge and reinforce Ireland’s position as a leading performer in marine toxins research. This knowledge continues to enable the development of national and international policy, which supports the development of Ireland’s seafood sector.

Speaking after the event, Marine Institute CEO Peter Heffernan congratulated the scientific team. “This project has brought together a unique team of Irish and international scientists who are among the world leaders in their field of ocean environment biotoxin analyses and draw from the experience of leading marine and food safety organisations in the world whose combined efforts have significantly advanced scientific knowledge in this field,” he said.

The project is carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013, co-financed under the European Regional Development Fund.

The workshop - which followed on from the 10th annual Shellfish Safety Science workshop in Galway earlier this year - continued yesterday (11 September) with a seminar hosted by Agilent Technologies focusing on monitoring of environmental pollutants and toxins using an advanced analytical technique used by the Marine Institute called mass spectrometry.

More information is available in the project brochure and leaflet, both available to read and download as PDFs.

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

#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.

Published in Fishing

#MarineWildlife - The Guardian reports that fishing is expected to be banned near Rockall after the recent discovery of a rare ocean floor gas vent and new species of shellfish.

The 'cold seep' methane vent found by Scotland-based marine scientists last year is only the third of its kind to be found in this region of the Atlantic Ocean - and apparently has a 'chemosynthetic' relationship with two species of deep-water clam, and the polychaete worms they contain, that are new to science.

Also found was a frilled shark, described as a 'living fossil' for existing as a species for at least 90 million years. Such sharks are seldom seen north of the tropics.

In the wake of these findings, the International Convention on the Exploration of the Seas has recommended a ban on fishing activity at the site and its surrounds.

Rockall - which adventurer Nick Hancock is attempting to occupy for a world record attempt - is a tiny rocky islet north-east of Donegal, almost halfway between Ireland and Iceland in the North Atlantic. It has long been the subject of territorial dispute, with Ireland, the UK, Iceland and Denmark all staking a claim.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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