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.

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