Report on Environmental Impacts of Aquaculture in Mulroy Bay Published

A report published by the Marine Institute reviews the environmental quality and carrying capacity for aquaculture in Mulroy Bay, Co. Donegal. The study indicates that environmental quality within Mulroy Bay is acceptable at current aquaculture production levels, however some areas may be at their limit in terms of carrying  capacity.

Marine Institute staff and Dr. Trevor Telfer of the University of Stirling presented the findings of the report at a meeting at Milford Inn, Donegal last night. Producers of salmon and shellfish in the bay and representatives of state agencies were invited to attend.

Micheal O’Cinneide, director of Marine Environment and Food Safety Services at the Marine Institute said, “Mulroy Bay is an important aquaculture location for the production of salmon, rope mussels, scallops and oysters. We hope that this report can be used by all stakeholders, in the interest of protecting the ecology and environment of the area”.

The report draws together the results of monitoring of aquaculture sites in Mulroy Bay collected by the Institute of Aquaculture, Stirling, on behalf on Marine Harvest Ireland since 1986. This data was amalgamated with previous work done by the Centre for Marine Resources and Mariculture (C-Mar), in 2000. The report states that it is essential that certain environmental management procedures be put in place. It recommends continued monitoring of water and sediment quality with in the bay; fallowing of fish farms and perhaps shellfish farms to prevent unacceptable sediment deterioration. These management procedures are currently in place under national monitoring protocols. 

Other recommendations include the continued employment of new technology in feed and feeders which has enabled more efficient use of food and minimisation of waste; and investigation of the potential for GIS based coastal zone management systems. The implementation of a single bay management plan, such as the CLAMS system (Co-ordinated Local Aquaculture Management System), to help in the integrated management of aquatic resources within Mulroy Bay is also recommended.