Skates are a branch of the shark family, we sometimes called them flat-sharks. Some of these flat-sharks or skates are extremely rare with Ireland holding some of their last remaining European populations. The main refuges for these species are Tralee and Galway Bay.
Many of the stocks which are caught by the Irish commercial fishing fleets are considered to be data-limited or are not assessed at all. These include a number of key stone species (like sprat, gurnards, saithe, pollack, ling) and species sensitive to the impacts of fishing (like rays and skates, john dory, brill and turbot).
This project is designed to measure the effectiveness of management or mitigation measures taken as part of aquaculture licencing decisions to reduce or minimise risk to conservation features. Such measures are likely to be of the form of, 1) licence conditions that place certain constraints on activities in certain areas or, 2) redrawing site boundaries.
As part of the European Habitats Directive (EC 92/43/EEC), Member States need to take measures to avoid deterioration of protected habitats. Ireland is carrying out extensive mapping surveys of offshore reefs to evaluate status and introduce conservation and management measures in proportion to status and pressures from fishing. This study has been identified as high priority by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG) for the marine environment to fulfil Ireland’s obligations under the Habitats Directive.
The aquaculture industry is an important economic activity on all coasts of Ireland. A significant proportion of the activity occurs within, or in proximity to, Natura 2000 sites which are designated areas under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.
The aquaculture industry is an important economic activity on all coasts of Ireland. The inshore aquaculture industry produces a variety of shellfish as well as salmon and trout. A significant proportion of the activity occurs within, or proximate to, Natura 2000 sites which are environmentally designated areas under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.
This study investigated the possible effect of towed dredges during winter and spring fisheries for oyster and scallop on the potentially sensitive Zostera beds and the quality of Zostera in the following summer. A before and after control impact study (BACI) was established; seagrass plots were sampled for seagrass rhizome using SCUBA in mid-winter.
The razor clam (Ensis siliqua) fishery in the north Irish Sea is distributed in a continuous band of activity from Dundalk Bay in the north to Malahide in the south at depths from 2-15m. Fishing activity has increased significantly since 2013 in response to strong market demand for product. The fishery uses hydraulic dredging to extract razor clams and disturbs sediment to a depth of 25cm.
Over 90% of active fishing vessels in the inshore fleet use pots and nets to target crustaceans. Non-retained by-catch in these fisheries are significant especially in the static net (tangle net and gill net) metier. Commercial and non-commercial finfish are also captured in pots and some of this may be retained for bait.
Vessel position reporting is mandatory for vessels under 12m carrying hydraulic dredges and fishing for razor clams in Irish waters. The number of vessels requiring iVMS increased in 2016 as new razor clam fishing areas were opened and as fishing effort in the north Irish Sea increases.
A number of short studies are required to complement the aquaculture advice provided by the Marine Institute to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in relation to licencing decisions and mitigation measures.