From sea to plate - The science behind Ireland’s Seafood

Mussel been opened and tested in the Marine Institute lab. Photo Andrew Downes, XPOSUREFrom sea to plate, the production of Irish fish and shellfish is supported by a range of scientific programmes to ensure Irish seafood is among the safest, most sustainable and of the highest quality available in the world. The Marine Institute undertakes a range of monitoring, sampling, analysis and scientific advice to support the sustainable production of safe Irish seafood.

The pathway to ensuring quality seafood production starts with ensuring our waters are clean for wild and farmed fish, crustaceans and shellfish. The Marine Institute monitors the marine environment to ensure water quality is not impacted by pollution and assesses fish and shellfish stocks to ensure they are safe to eat and sustainably fished. Fisheries surveys are undertaken each year on the RV Celtic Explorer and the RV Celtic Voyager to evaluate the state of fish stocks. This information helps to inform the negotiations at the annual EU Council of Fisheries Ministers, at which sustainable fishing opportunities for each Member State are agreed for the following year.

Before harvesting, the quality and health of farmed fish and shellfish is assessed for a range of food safety criteria and only the highest quality produce is allowed to enter the human food chains. As seafood moves through domestic and export markets, certification and checks are also carried out, and Ireland's excellent track record places Irish seafood among the premium range on international markets.

The Marine Institute also advises Government on planning and licensing requirements for aquaculture, coastal and offshore developments. To protect our marine environment and ensure the sustainable management of our marine resource, the Marine Institute also provides advice on the management of certain activities in areas of conservation.

Joe Silke, Director of Marine Environment and Food Safety Services at the Marine Institute said, "Increased research and innovation in biological and environmental resources, will lead to the use of more marine resources in the future, and the sustainability of these resources is vitally important. The areas of biotechnology and biodiscovery will lead to the development of more food, functional ingredients, pharmaceutical and medical products from marine sources. The monitoring of the marine environment and our resources will continue to be a priority of the Marine Institute."

The Marine Institute's Oceans of Learning series this week focuses on 'Food From Our Ocean'. Oceans of Learning offers videos, interactive activities and downloadable resources on assessing fish stocks, aquaculture, phytoplankton and the work undertaken at the Marine Institute's Newport Research Facility. To view the resources visit Food from our Ocean.

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