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Displaying items by tag: aquaculture

The Chairman of IFA Aquaculture has called for more Government support to be given to fish farming.

Fish farmers are members of IFA Aquaculture, part of the Irish Farmers’ Association. There have been lengthy delays over many years in the issuing of farming licences and environmental opposition and controversy.

Aquaculture is an increasingly important source of seafood, according to Michael Mulloy, Chairman of IFA Aquaculture.

Michael Mulloy, Chairman of IFA AquacultureMichael Mulloy, Chairman of IFA Aquaculture

In Scotland, a survey of people living near fish farms in Argyll and Bute, the North-West Highlands, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, has shown that they are broadly supportive of them. 54 per cent of those with at least some knowledge of the sector were “favourable.” – That was over twice the number who were unfavourable at 23 per cent.

Mulloy owns Blackshell Farm in Clew Bay where he began mussel farming in 1983. He says aquaculture in Ireland is a “poor relation” in terms of the way that it is treated, compared with other maritime countries

On my Maritime Ireland Radio Show, he said that vociferous individuals had held the industry back.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Farmed salmon is Britain’s largest food export by value – more valuable than anything else except beer.

Sounds impressive, but nutritious wild fish caught to sustain salmon farming is being squandered a new study maintains.

Scientists analysing the Scottish salmon farming industry calculate that an extra six million tonnes of seafood would be available annually if wild caught fish is diverted away from aquaculture feed.

The new study, as Afloat reported previously here published in the research journal PLOS Sustainability and Transformation says that limiting salmon farming to using feed made from fish by-products could result in 3.7 million tonnes of fish being left in the sea.

Dr Karen Luyckx of the Feedback ngo, which welcomed the findings, said that “until the salmon industry kicks its wild-caught fish oil and fishmeal habit, chefs and retailers should help citizens switch away from unsustainable salmon by offering ultra-nutritious mussels and small oily fish instead.”

Study author Dr David Willer, research fellow at the University of Cambridge, spoke to Wavelengths this week about the study and the reaction from industry.

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Shellfish and fish farmers are due to gather in Westport, Co Mayo today (Thursday, April 7) for the IFA aquaculture conference and annual general meeting.

Speakers from the aquaculture industry, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Bord Bia and the Marine Institute will contribute to the two-day conference. The event includes a mussel workshop hosted by BIM.

Presentations at the mussel workshop will address the priorities of the upcoming European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund ( EMFAF) with a focus on

  • the continued development of a sustainable and competitive sector
  • supply of quality, healthy and safe seafood
  • documentation of the carbon footprint of the Irish mussel industry and management of marine biodiversity.

BIM is organising a site visit to Blackshell Farm Ltd on Friday, April 8th.

The event is being supported by the EMFF, and a full agenda and details on how to register are here

Published in Aquaculture
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Nutritious wild-caught fish is being squandered if it continues to be used as feed for farmed salmon, a new study maintains.

Scientists analysing the Scottish salmon farming industry calculate that an extra six million tonnes of seafood would be available annually if wild caught fish is diverted away from aquaculture feed.

Farming fish is often billed as a way to relieve pressure on wild stocks, but caged-reared species such as Atlantic salmon rely for feed on fish oil and meal made from millions of tonnes of wild-caught fish.

The new study published in the research journal PLOS Sustainability and Transformation says that limiting salmon farming to using feed made from fish by-products could result in 3.7 million tonnes of fish being left in the sea.

Global annual seafood production could increase by 6.1 (six point one) million tonnes by avoiding use of nutritious wild-caught fish, the team of scientists from Cambridge, Lancaster and Liverpool universities and environmental NGO Feedback Global, state.

The team collected data on fish nutrient content, fishmeal and fish oil composition, and salmon production, and examined the transfer of micronutrients from feed to fish in Scotland's farmed salmon industry.

The scientists say that results showed that over half of the essential dietary minerals and fatty acids available in wild fish are lost when these fish are fed to farmed salmon.

The team developed alternative production scenarios where salmon were only produced using fish by-products, and then added more wild-caught fish, mussels or carp for human consumption.

All alternative production scenarios produced more seafood that was more nutritious than salmon, and left 66-82% of feed fish in the sea.

The researchers then collected global salmon, fishmeal and oil production data to apply their alternative scenarios at a global scale.

One scenario shows that farming more carp and less salmon, using only feed from fish by-products, could leave 3.7 million tonnes of wild fish in the sea while producing 39% more seafood overall, according to their calculations.

“Fish and seafood provide a vital and valuable micronutrient-rich food source to people worldwide, and we must make sure we are using this resource efficiently,” the study leader, Dr David Willer of Cambridge University, said.

“ Eating more wild fish and using alternative feeds in salmon farms can achieve this,” he said.

The authors acknowledge that not enough is known about the source and species composition of fishmeal, but there are positive signs that use of plant-based feeds is growing.

Dr James Robinson of Lancaster University said more data on the volumes and species used for fishmeal and fish oil was required, as “this can show where salmon farming places additional pressure on fish stocks”.

Dr Karen Luyckx of the Feedback ngo said that “until the salmon industry kicks its wild-caught fish oil and fishmeal habit, chefs and retailers should help citizens switch away from unsustainable salmon by offering ultra-nutritious mussels and small oily fish instead.”

The authors call for a reduction in marine aquaculture feeds, as this will offer opportunities to produce more nutritious seafood while reducing pressure on marine ecosystems.

Maximising sustainable nutrient production from coupled fisheries-aquaculture systems by David Willer, James Robinson, Grace Patterson and Karen Luyckx is published in PLOS Sustainability and Transformation.

Published in Aquaculture
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Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is expected to question a license application by the world’s largest farmed salmon producer for a fish farm in Ballinakill Bay off Cleggan in Connemara.

As The Sunday Independent reports today, Mowi Ireland plans to open public consultation shortly on its license application for a 22-cage fish farm in Ballinakill Bay.

The bay is within a special area of conservation, and part of a proposed natural heritage area.

The details of the project have been circulated to notifiable bodies, including IFI and the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency.

Both State bodies are believed to have serious reservations about the location due to potential impact on wild salmon and sea trout stocks.

Pot fishermen working in the area could also be impacted by an aquaculture project of this size, according to local interests.

Mowi Ireland, which is part of the Mowi Group Norwegian global seafood company, says it contributes over €20million to the domestic economy annually, working with some 920 Irish suppliers

Over the past 41 years, the company, formerly known as Fanad Fisheries and Marine Harvest, has employed 300 people between its salmon farms, hatcheries and processing facility in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Cork and Kerry.

A Mowi Ireland spokesman confirmed that the company is “engaged in the initial stages of statutory consultation regarding a potential aquaculture facility off the Galway coast”.

“ The next steps will be set out by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine’s aquaculture and foreshore management division,” the spokesman said.

“The applicant will engage in a full round of public consultation in line with current aquaculture legislation,” the spokesman added.

IFI is the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, and has received a scientific report on the Mowi application for Ballinakill Bay.

IFI told The Sunday Independent it had "submitted observations on the application which will go to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine who will decide on the application and whether the license should be issued or not".

However, IFI is already seeking a judicial review of a license granted by the Aquaculture License Appeals Board to Mowi for an 18-pen farm in Bantry Bay, west Cork.

Mowi was granted permission last July to harvest up to 2,800 tonnes of salmon over a 24-month production cycle, with no restriction on the timing of harvesting, at Shot Head in Bantry Bay.

The Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages group has written to Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue objecting to the new license application.

It argues that the proposed farm would have a “devastating impact on the Dawros (Kylemore River) – which flows into Ballinakill Bay- and on salmon and sea trout populations and angling tourism on the Delphi, Erriff, Culfin, Bunowen, Carrowinskey, Owenglen and Ballynahinch rivers.

Mowi Ireland’s managing director Jan Feenstra has announced plans to retire on July 1st, 2022, after 40 years working in salmon aquaculture.

Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim has paid tribute to Feenstra, stating he is “ most grateful for Jan’s long tenure with our company, during a period that has seen our Irish business unit grow into a world-leading supplier of premium organic salmon”.

Read more in The Sunday Independent here 

Published in Aquaculture

A total of 9 start-ups with backgrounds in areas including engineering, IT and farming took part in BIM’s Innovation Studio at the RDI Hub in Killorglin this month.

The programme, formerly known as BIM’s Aquaculture Accelerator, is run by BIM in partnership with global accelerator Hatch and took part as an in-person event over two weeks.

To date, 38 such start-ups have taken part in BIM’s Innovation Studios, raising more than €9million and generating more than 40 jobs in aquatech in Ireland.

An Aquatech Community Day was held during this year’s Innovation Studio at which Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. gave the opening address.

Guests at the Open Day event included aquaculture industry members, Irish and international investors, government representatives and the 2021 Innovation Studio participants plus alumni.

Speaking to the audience via a live-streamed video, Minister McConalogue referred to how major technological advances have been recurring features in our history and how this emerging innovation and new technology focus for the aquaculture industry is already transforming the industry, on this island and around the world.

The Minister also spoke of the role the Innovation Studios are playing to help achieve the ambitious goals set out in his Department’s Food Vision 2030 Strategy, namely ‘Attract global investment in aquaculture technology’ and to ‘Promote Ireland as a knowledge base for aquaculture technology and research and attract investment on our knowledge base’.

Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM, presented on the future of aquaculture in Ireland, highlighting Ireland’s unique and fortunate position to have a young, skilled and dynamic population, where the average age is 38 and where almost 6 in every ten adults has a third level education.

The continued purpose of BIM’s Innovation Studios is to create a dynamic environment for start-ups with new ideas for aquatech where they can innovate, experiment and test their ideas with leading experts from backgrounds in aquaculture, finance and marketing. The Studios are also giving these start-ups access to funding from venture capital - where they can secure early-stage funding quickly – and where they can quickly and with agility fill gaps in the global aquaculture market. The fastest growing protein sector in the world.

BIM is currently working to create a dedicated Irish Aquaculture Fund to further support the growing aquatech businesses that have already taken part in their Innovation Studios. Hatch are also in the process of raising a €75million fund for global aquaculture innovation.

The Innovation Studio is supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and is helping to nurture early-stage ideas in aquatech.

Published in Aquaculture
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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue TD, today attended and addressed the Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference taking place in the Convention Centre, Dublin.

The conference is part of a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU. 

Speaking on his way into the event, the Minister said “The western seaboard is an important part of the European Union’s maritime community and this is a welcome occasion to celebrate and acknowledge the work that is being done throughout the Atlantic area to ensure the region provides vision, strategic direction, and support to the maritime community both in the Atlantic region and further afield”.

The European Green Deal and the Recovery Plan for Europe will define the European economy for many years, or even decades. And the EU’s blue economy is fundamental to both efforts. 

Minister McConalogue addressing the ConferenceMinister McConalogue addressing the Conference

The Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference is an annual event of the Atlantic Strategy Committee which is being chaired by Ireland in 2021. This year, the event also celebrates 10 years of the Atlantic Strategy which aims to address challenges in the maritime sector for which collaborative efforts are required. The conference also features the 5th Atlantic Project Awards which recognises projects that contribute to the implementation of the goals and actions of the Atlantic Action Plan 2.0, adopted by the European Commission in July 2020.

The Minister commented that “the discussions and conclusions from today’s stakeholder conference will provide a rich source of information and knowledge to help underpin the implementation of the Atlantic Action Plan 2.0. Project collaboration is a key feature of the Atlantic Strategy and the projects being highlighted here today demonstrate all that can be achieved through collaborative efforts and working closely with our EU partners at all levels.”

Published in Fishing
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The Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, today announced that he has received the final report of the Seafood Sector Task Force that he established in March 2021. The Taskforce examined the impacts on the fishing sector and coastal communities of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This final report follows an interim report submitted by the Task Force in June 2021.

The Task Force was chaired by Aidan Cotter, assisted by a steering group of Margaret Daly and Mícheal Ó Cinnéide, and comprised of ten representatives of the fishing sector, representatives of the aquaculture and seafood processing sectors, coastal communities, coastal local authorities and various State enterprise development agencies.

Following receipt of the report, Minister McConalogue said: “The departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that was agreed at the end of 2020 have had some profoundly damaging effects for Ireland’s fishing sector and the coastal communities that depend on fishing. Such a once in a generation event required a collective response involving the seafood businesses and coastal communities that are impacted and the full range of State bodies with a role to play in our response. This is why I established the Seafood Sector Task Force in March of this year and after seven months of deliberations by the Task Force, I have today received and welcome its Final Report which charts a way forward for the sector and the coastal communities dependent upon it ”.

Minister McConalogue added: “I wish to thank Aidan Cotter for his leadership in chairing the Task Force and thank Margaret Daly and Mícheal Ó Cinnéide for their dedication and hard work in assisting Aidan in steering the work of the Task Force. I also wish to sincerely thank all of the members of the Task Force for their constructive engagement with the work of the Task Force and for the many hours and days they put into the process. Lastly, I thank BIM for their hard work as secretariat and I wish to acknowledge the importance of their research and analysis in informing the work of the Task Force”.

Minister McConalogue continued: “I have asked my Department to urgently examine the report with a view to quickly implementing a comprehensive response to the impacts of the TCA on our fishing sector and coastal communities. The recommended measures will be examined with particular regard to available funds and to the eligibility of the recommended measures for funding under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, the European, Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund and with other relevant funding sources and with regard to State Aid rules and the Public Spending Code”.

The establishment of the Seafood Sector Taskforce is an Action in the Department’s Action Plan 2021 under the Strategic Goal to ‘Deliver a sustainable, competitive and innovative seafood sector, driven by a skilled workforce, delivering value added products in line with consumer demand’.

The full report of the Seafood Sector Task Force is available to download below

Published in Fishing
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Applications are being sought for a business diploma with a “salty air taste” run by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and the Institute of Technology (IT) Carlow.

The closing date is September 3rd for prospective participants in BIM’s higher diploma in business in fisheries and aquaculture.

The course, now in its fifth year, is designed for those interested in management, financial, research and development or regulatory roles in fisheries, aquaculture, seafood processing and related fields.

It may also appeal to those looking to start an aquaculture or fisheries business company or expand an existing company into new markets, BIM and IT Carlow IT.

As Dick Bates - from a well known Kilmore Quay fishing family - explains, the course is the only one in Ireland of its type at third level dealing with fisheries and aquaculture.

It is “more accessible than ever now all over the coast and the offshore islands, due to continuing online delivery”, Bates says.

“My dad was a fisherman from Kilmore Quay, who through circumstances of the time could not progress beyond primary education,” he says.

“I am immensely proud to be involved with the higher diploma in a voluntary capacity in my retirement. I think he would approve,” Bates says.

“I really believe in the transformative powers of education and believe that the way that the fisheries sector has been ignored by the third level institutions in Ireland for so long is not right. I also believe that training is no substitute for education,” Bates adds.

Entry requirements are NFQ Level 7 or level 8 Award or equivalent in a related discipline or relevant industry experience.

Organisers say consideration will also be given to applicants who do not hold level 7 QQI academic qualifications but who have extensive industry experience.

Currently, all modules are being taught remotely due to Covid -19 restrictions on Fridays and Saturdays every second week.

Funding for the course fee and subsistence costs may be available through here

Published in Aquaculture
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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, today announced the award of €1 million in grants to 13 aquaculture enterprises under his Department’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme.

The grant awards will support total investment in these businesses of €2,917,572.

The grants are co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union and are subject to terms and conditions.

Announcing the grants, Minister McConalogue said: “I am delighted to announce today €1 million in grant awards to a further 13 aquaculture investment projects, bringing the total awards in 2021 to €3.8 million to 57 aquaculture enterprises, supporting €10 million of investments in our aquaculture sector”. With these latest awards, the €30 million allocated to the aquaculture sector in my Department’s EMFF Programme is now fully committed. However, a new Seafood Development Programme for the 2021-27 period is being prepared and I have already put in place arrangements for an interim Seafood Capital Investment Scheme to ensure capital grants to aquaculture, fisheries and seafood processing enterprises continue to be available pending the completion and adoption of the new Programme. I understand that BIM intend to open that scheme to the aquaculture sector very shortly.

Grant Approvals - Sustainable Aquaculture Grant SchemeGrant Approvals - Sustainable Aquaculture Grant Scheme

Published in Aquaculture
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