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. A number of targeted studies were required including:
- A study of aquaculture interactions with Greenland White Fronted Geese in Wexford
- A review of site usage and aquaculture profile and analysis of mussel dredgers, fishery and recreational vessels in Wexford Harbour
- A study on the likely disturbance by vessels on Merganser in Wexford Harbour
- Oyster Catcher feeding study in Dundalk
The project had a 1 year duration and project work was carried out in 2016.
A review of site use by Greenland White-Fronted geese in the North Slobs was considered in light of vessel usage at aquaculture sites to the south of the sea wall. It was concluded that the closest and the greatest potential for disturbance would occur when one vessel was in transit to one of the aquaculture sites. The likely interactions were not considered as a disturbance if the site usage and vessel activities were to remain consistent with those considered in the review. Further examination might be required to increase confidence levels.
Three days of observations of the Merganser response to vessel activities were reported and some strong flushing responses were noted for all vessels. The outcome of the study can contribute towards advising on the level of vessel activities permitted within the SPA.
1. Improved advisory services in relation to site specific interactions between bird use and aquaculture practices
2. Support to aquaculture licencing decisions in relation to Natura sites