18th December

Aquaculture values county-by-county in 2011

Benen Dallaghan, BIM

Starting in the northeast, county Louth produced over €1m worth of gigas oysters and €1.4m of bottom mussel. In general, demand for gigas is strong, partly due to the mortalities in France.

In Co Wicklow, freshwater trout production was valued at €891,000. This figure particularly reflects the demand for high-quality trout product in the domestic market.

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Mussel farming in Killary Fjord. Photo Gillian Mills

From a shellfish point of view, even though there is no on-growing in counties Westmeath, Dublin and Wicklow, seed mussel is taken from their coastal waters and is a valuable resource to the bottom mussel industry.

 Bottom mussel stronghold

Further south is Wexford – the largest producer of bottom mussels in the country– production was valued at €5.57m. (Kerry and Donegal are the other main bottom-mussel producing counties.)

Inland, Wexford and Carlow salmon smolt production was valued at €639,000. The demand for high quality smolts is strong and this trend is set to continue. Wexford gigas oyster production was valued at over €1m.

Counties Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary all have land-based finfish activity. Salmon smolts, freshwater trout (700,000) and a small amount of perch are the three species that feature in these counties.

Back to the coast, Waterford had gigas production of almost €10m, making it the second producer county of this species in 2011 to county Donegal. Waterford bottom-mussel production was valued at €90,000.

South coast salmon farming
While Cork is the premier rope-mussel producer in the county valued over €3m but also boasts salmon aquaculture, valued over €19m and smolts €275,000. Freshwater trout are also a feature of this county, valued at €300,000.

Gigas oysters are also very significant, valued over €1m. Urchin and scallop production had a combined production value of €30,000; this figure would appear to be stable when compared with previous years. Abalone value was €6,000; this figure is set to increase as production capacity increases.

Salmon production in Kerry is currently stagnant; however the county is an active shellfish aquaculture producer with bottom-grown mussels valued at €1.9m. Native oyster production was valued at €600,000.

Tralee bay and County Clare are the biggest native oyster producers in the country; however current production is less that 4% of the overall oyster industry in Ireland. Rope mussel and gigas oysters are also well developed industries in Kerry with production values of €502,000 and €1m respectively. Scallop aquaculture was worth €14,000.  

Gigas are the main species found in Co Clare with a value of €521,000. Relatively small amounts of clam, scallop and rope mussel production are also active in the county.

Aquaculture values in Co Galway are high where salmon production was worth €22m and smolt, €662,000. Char production is unique to Galway, valued at €280,000. Native (€662,000) and gigas oyster (€973,750) production as well as rope grown mussels (€827,193) are very significant industries in this county. There is also freshwater trout production worth €41,000.

Multi-farming in Mayo
Mayo is another stalwart of the aquaculture industry producing a full range of both finfish and shellfish. Salmon production was valued at €16m in 2009; however there was no salmon production (harvest) in 2011 due to temporary site fallowing at Clare Island. In 2011 gigas was valued at €1.4m and rope mussel at €406,000. Sea trout was valued at €900,000.

Inland to Roscommon, Cavan and Monaghanperch production was valued at €78,000. This figure represents a significant fall in production when compared to previous years.  

Sligo is the premier producer of clams nationwide with a value of €730,000. Gigas oysters are also very significant, valued at €146,800.

Over all, Donegal was the ‘number one’ Irish aquaculture county-by-county value in 2011 with a combined output value exceeding €47m. It is also the top salmon producer and joint leader with Co Waterford for gigas oyster production. Salmon were valued at €32m and gigas at €10m.

Bottom mussel production was valued at €1.74m. There were also high levels of production for sea trout (€1m); rope mussel (€625,000) and scallop (€180,000). Smolts were valued at €2m.   

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