18th December

Mussel crisis in the southwest threatens viability of premium product

A severe crisis is threatening the mussel production sector from Castlemaine to Dunmanus Bay as a result of highly unusual algal blooms this winter, according to the Irish Shellfish Association.

“Some bays have been forced to close down for five consecutive months, and farmers have had to watch their crops wash away during the winter storms instead of fetching premiums in top supermarkets and restaurants,” explained Richie Flynn, aquaculture executive of the Irish Farmers' Association.

Muskerry Seafood Killmacki

“By closing their harvesting operations, the mussel farmers ensured that consumer and food safety comes first but unfortunately they have no control over the length of time these natural blooms can persist in the ocean," he added.

A statement to Inshore Ireland from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine noted that a new Seafood Development Programme was being finalised under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund up to 2020 and that a draft "will be published later in March" with a view to submitting the new Programme to the European Commission by May for its consideration and adoption.

It is likely to be towards the end of 2015 before the Commission adopts the Programme.

Inshore Ireland uncovers SUMBAWS through FOI

Inshore Ireland masthead In October 2014, Inshore Ireland requested a copy of the ten-year-old SUMBAWS (Sustainable management of interactions between aquaculture and wild salmonid fish) report from two of its contributors: Inland Fisheries Ireland, and a month later from the Economic and Social Research Institute, ERSI. To date, neither agency has provided a copy.

A pursuant Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) also failed to recover a copy. Following an FOI to another State Agency, Inshore Ireland has now received a copy among the documents released to it on March 6.

Read more: Inshore Ireland uncovers SUMBAWS through FOI

Marine Harvest Ireland obtains global environmental standard

Marine Harvest Ireland - the first salmon farm worldwide to achieve organic certification - has been awarded the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard for salmon, acknowledged as one of the highest international environmental and social sustainability standards for fish farming. 

The standard was obtained for a site at Deenish Island in Ballinskelligs Bay, Co Kerry.

MHI Deenish

According to MHI managing director Jan Feenstra, the standard is an endorsement of the company brand and the high standards they consistently aspire to and succeed in reaching.

"This particular accreditation was initiated by the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF),  recognised globally as a benchmark in building a future where human needs are met in harmony with nature."

Read more: Marine Harvest Ireland obtains global environmental standard

Winter algal blooms threaten south-west shellfish sector

A severe crisis is threatening the mussel production sector from Castlemaine to Dunmanus Bay as a result of highly unusual algal blooms this winter, according to the Irish Shellfish Association.

“Some bays have been forced to close down for five consecutive months, and farmers have had to watch their crops wash away during the winter storms instead of fetching premiums in top supermarkets and restaurants,” explained Richie Flynn, aquaculture excecutive of the Irish Farmers' Association. 

shellfish 2015 edited-2                   

                  DSP situation July 2014                                     DSP situation October 2014

“By closing their harvesting operations, the mussel farmers ensured that consumer and food safety comes first but unfortunately they have no control over the length of time these natural blooms can persist in the ocean," he added.

Read more: Winter algal blooms threaten south-west shellfish sector

'Slow Food' celebrities break link to farmed salmon boycott

Two prominent members of the Slow Food Ireland movement have distanced themselves from a call by environmental watchdog, Friends of the Irish Environment, to boycott farmed salmon, saying they had not been contacted in advance of the campaign.

Salmon with pesto

Food journalist and publisher Sally McKenna of the Bridgstone Guide and Darina Allen, founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, told Inshore Ireland they did not support the pre-Christmas call to boycott smoked Irish farmed salmon.

Read more: 'Slow Food' celebrities break link to farmed salmon boycott

Freedom of Information mechanism fails to unearth publicly-funded report

Why is the official report of a major EU-backed scientific project involving Irish State Agencies not readily available here, asks the December issue of Inshore Ireland.

SUMBAWS report

The report is believed to include detailed information on the impact of sea lice on wild salmon and sea trout. The SUMBAWS Project 2002 - 2005 (SUstainable Management of interactions Between Aquaculture and Wild Salmonid fish) studied the impact of sea lice on wild populations of salmon and sea trout, and details the results of experiments by fisheries biologists in Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands and Norway.The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) also contributed to the project.

Read more: Freedom of Information mechanism fails to unearth publicly-funded report

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