International experts all over the world joined with their Irish colleagues at the invitation of the Marine Institute in Galway over the past two days at a two-day workshop (31st October – 1st November) aimed at monitoring naturally occurring “biotoxins” in Irish shellfish.
Experts from the US, Japan, Canada, Norway and Italy joined their Irish colleagues from the Marine Institute, the Department of Communication, Marine and Natural Resources (DCMNR), Board Iascaigh Mara (BIM), the Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI) and the Irish shellfish industry itself to focus on the problem of Azaspiracids - a group of compounds produced by naturally occurring plankton and discovered in Ireland in 1995, following human illness from shellfish consumption.
A 3-year NDP funded project, which has just been completed by the Marine Institute, in collaboration with the Conway Institute, UCD, and international collaborators, has carried out vital research to understand the problems caused by this group of compounds.
As a result of this project, Ireland has been able to implement strict quality control procedures for the harvest of shellfish from Irish waters.
These procedures have increased international confidence in shellfish produced in Ireland, contributing to the growth of the shellfish industry over the last few years.