The Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara's annual Shellfish Stocks and Fisheries Review 2018 was presented at the Irish Skipper Expo, held at Galway Bay Hotel on 8th – 9th March 2019.
This annual Review presents stock assessment and management advice for shellfisheries that may be subject to new management proposals or where scientific advice is required in relation to assessing the environmental impact of shellfisheries especially in areas designated under European Directives. The Review reflects the recent work undertaken by the Marine Institute in the biological assessment of shellfish fisheries and their interaction with the environment.
In 2017, the total landings of crustacean and bivalve shellfish (excluding prawns and mussels) into Ireland was 21, 108 tonnes which was valued at approximately €52.9 million.
Sarah Clarke, Scientific and Technical Officer - Shellfish and Environment at the Marine Institute said, "This year's Review highlights the results of many of the bivalve surveys undertaken in 2018, which includes razor clam, cockle, oyster and scallop. The Review also includes an overview of management measures, stock status and exploitation status in relation to managing Ireland's shellfisheries within safe biological limits and outlines current and proposed areas where spatial restrictions on fisheries are or will be in place to mitigate the potential effects of certain fisheries on sensitive habitats and species."
"The Marine Institute works closely with industry to collect essential data for our shellfish stock assessments. The Irish Skipper Expo offers Marine Institute staff and scientists the opportunity to talk directly with members of the fishing industry, and also receive their views and feedback," Ms Clarke said.
The Irish Skipper Expo is Ireland's flagship fisheries show which attracts a large number of representative from the fishing industry from across Ireland and the United Kingdom. As well as the annual Review the Marine Institute stand featured current research projects from Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services.
On display were illustrations by urban sketcher Róisín Curé which were created for Bluefish, a marine science research project that focuses on the potential impact of climate change on coastal communities of Ireland and Wales. Through engagement with coastal communities and art the project develops knowledge and understanding of the marine resources and the potential impacts of climate change on the Irish and Celtic Sea ecosystem. Sharon Sugrue, Scientific and Technical Officer shared her discussions with people and industries dependent on the sea and their thoughts on climate change. The BlueFish project is funded by The Ireland Wales 2014-2020 European Territorial Co-operation (ETC) Programme.
Julia Calderwood, Scientific and Technical Officer at the Marine Institute also demonstrated to visitors a new online mapping application which will help the fishing industry identify areas with consistent catch rates over multiple years. The app can be used by fishermen to avoid areas with high catch rates of choke species and juvenile commercial fish. The application was developed as part of DiscardLess, a project funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 Programme.