17th August

Increase in Irish aquaculture production

Irish aquaculture production topped 44,000 tonnes in 2016 – a 9% increase in volume over the previous year which translates to a first point-of-sale value of €167m and accounts for 1,900 jobs, up 6%, according to the 2017 BIM Annual Aquaculture Survey.

BIM 2017 Aquaculture Survey

Mussel farming. Photo courtesy SFPA

In 2016, the survey notes that Gigas oyster production at 10,000 tonnes accounted for 25% of Ireland’s overall aquaculture production – up 11% on 2015. Even more significant however was the increase in value of this species over the previous year – up from €35m to €41m. In value terms, Gigas oysters now account for 74% of Ireland’s shellfish aquaculture.

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Aquaculture licensing in Ireland requires 'root and branch' reform

'Root and branch' reform of the aquaculture licence application process is necessary, according to a report (Review of the Aquaculture Licensing Process) published by the Independent Aquaculture Licence Review Committee.

The reform needs to be 'comprehensive in scope' and to focus on 'immediate actions which can produce results in the short term as well as initiatives which will bear fruit in the longer term'.

Leeane 2017

Killary Fjord, Co Galway. Action plan prosposes 24 recommendations to increase Ireland's aquaculture output by 45,000 tonnes. Photo G Mills 

It concludes that an implementation strategy 'will assign responsibility for recommendations, accountability and set milestones for delivery and identify the necessary resources to support the implementation process'.

Read more: Aquaculture licensing in Ireland requires 'root and branch' reform

Major growth potential for Irish farmed salmon

In 2014, wild capture fisheries landed 93m globally; this figure has remained stable for over 25 years. 

Over the same duration, global per capita demand for seafood has risen from 14 to 20kg person. To meet this demand, aquaculture, which now provides more than half of all seafood destined for human consumption, has intensified. In Ireland, salmon aquaculture has been cited as a ‘growth area’,  with government estimates suggesting a 78% increase in farmed production by 2020, is achievable. 

NUIG Liam Carr

Author, Liam Carr

Read more: Major growth potential for Irish farmed salmon

Richard FitzGerald

22nd January 1957 to 5th December 2016

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Richard FitzgeraldIt is with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of Richard FitzGerald on 5th December 2016.

Richard was a Kerryman, reared in Beaufort, close to Killarney, where he was educated at St Brendan’s College. He completed a primary degree (B.Sc.) in Zoology at University College Cork where he was further awarded a PhD for studies on ecological interactions of fish-parasite communities under Professor Maire Mulcahy. He was involved in research and development in aquaculture for almost 30 years in a variety of roles and posts. Richard also held MBA and accountancy qualifications.

In the 1987, Richard began his career as Technical Director of Aquahatch - a salmon farming company, owned by the State venture capital agency NADCORP, based both in Lough Allen, Co. Leitrim and at Ballinaclash, Co. Wicklow.

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Seaweeds found to combat diseases in farmed animals

Dr Stefan Kraan Ocean Harvest Technology

Producers of farmed animals ― be they pig, shrimp or salmon farmers ― have to deal with very specific and often costly issues associated with growth and disease. Viral and bacterial diseases adversely affect feed conversion ratio and weight gain because the animal diverts energy in a bid to combat infection.

OHT 3 different types of brown algae

Large biomass available of specific brown seaweeds for extraction of valuable compounds for immune stimulation

The key of course is to prevent such pathogens gaining a foothold in the first place, allowing them to become established and infectious. One system that helps is the innate immune system; in other words, the body’s own basic defense mechanism which operates besides the adaptive or acquired immune system that is dependent on vaccinations etc.

Read more: Seaweeds found to combat diseases in farmed animals

Creed commits to independent review of aquaculture licensing

IFA Aquaculture officers from the fish and shellfish farming sectors have met with the new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to discuss issues affecting their sectors.

Chairman of the Irish Shellfish Association, Michael Mulloy, and chairman of the Irish Salmon Growers’ Association, Damien O’Keefe, pressed the minister on the urgent need for a licencing system that was ‘fit-for-purpose’ to meet highest environmental standards, and customer requirements for greater supply of top quality Irish seafood.

IFA Aqua meeting 2016

The national policy document, Foodwise 2025, commits to expanding the industry and to reviewing licencing. The industry is currently worth €149m at primary production level and supports 2.3 jobs in the wider community for every on-farm employee. The industry currently employs 1,841 around the coast and in freshwater facilities inland.

Read more: Creed commits to independent review of aquaculture licensing

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Increase in Irish aquaculture production
Aquaculture licensing in Ireland requires 'root and branch' reform
Major growth potential for Irish farmed salmon
Richard FitzGerald