As identified, 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.
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 capture of spatial data relating to bird use in inshore and offshore environments and interpreting these data as it relates to various anthropogenic activities is important in implementing management actions. Specifically, the capture of data and subsequent analysis will aid in understanding the interactions between bird species of special conservation interest (SCI) in Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and aquaculture and fisheries activities. This is an important requirement to the management and mitigation of these industries in Natura sites and more widely.
Consistent with sub-article 6.2 of the Habitats Directive (EC 92/43/EEC), which requires member states to take measures to avoid deterioration of protected habitats, Ireland will undertake a further mapping survey of offshore reefs in 2019 to evaluate status and introduce conservation and management measures in proportion to status and pressures from fishing. This study has been identified as highest priority by DAHG for the marine environment and is based on a letter by DAHCG to DAFM (attached).
The estimation of bycatch of protected, endangered and threatened species (PET) in commercial fisheries and its sustainability assessment is an important consideration in the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy, the Marine Strategy Framework directive (Descriptor 1) and the Habitats and Bird’s directives.
The project aims to develop or adopt methods for automating data acquisition from inshore fishing vessels. Data provision for the majority of the inshore fleet (
A very extensive data set exists in the Sea and Inland Fisheries Reports from the 1870s to 1987. In addition, data for the period 1900 to 1920 are available in the Fisheries Ireland Scientific Investigations series. These datasets could act as essential baseline information on the state of the Irish marine environment in the pre- or early exploitation era.
The aim of this project is to ensure the availability of spatial marine benthic biodiversity data for the purposes of marine planning and decision-making. It will also support delivery of the Habitats Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and National Marine Planning Framework by:
Carbon is an integral component of marine ecosystems and key living resources in the ocean are profoundly affected by changes in the uptake of CO2 by the ocean, which is the key driver of ocean acidification. Measurements of carbon in Irish waters have been conducted in recent years with CO2 monitoring using sensors and sample collection aboard the two Irish research vessels and at a fixed station in Co. Galway (Mace Head).
This project aims to develop a climate and ecosystem modelling capability to underpin decisions at national level in climate adaptation, initially for the seafood sector with potential applicability in other sectors e.g. biodiversity, flooding, built heritage. By assessing and piloting 3 promising ocean biogeochemistry models in the Celtic Sea, simulations of changes in ocean physics, biology and chemistry over a 30 - 50 year timescale will be generated to inform the policy response and adaptation to climate change.
Systematic collection of zooplankton in Irish waters is not implemented despite such plankton being a key food source for commercial fish stocks. Ireland is reliant on ad-hoc zooplankton studies that have taken place in academic institutes and on data collection through the continuous plankton recorder which bypasses large areas of Irish waters. This project aims to devise a strategy to augment and systematically collect zooplankton in our waters to elucidate trends and constrain ecosystem models that will provide support to policies related to climate adaptation in the seafood sector.
Ireland has obligations under the EU’ Marine Strategy Framework Directive to deliver food web indicators under Descriptor 4. Specifically certain elements must be met for at least 3 trophic guilds. This project will allow for collection and analysis of data to support the implementation of the MSFD Improved data provision to assess the impact of fisheries on biodiversity.
Through the on-going marine planning process, the Irish Government identified that the sustainability of seaweed natural resources underpins the licensing regime for seaweed harvesting. The aim of this project is to develop a better understanding of the Irish seaweed resource around the Irish coastline, which will contribute to a biomass assessment for certain types of seaweed.
Ascophyllum Nodosum is the primary species harvested. It grows on rocky surfaces near the seashore and is harvested by hand at low tide. Small amounts of other species are also harvested.
Outreach through a variety of media including webpage, brochures, presentations, storymaps and videos to disseminate Marine Biodiversity Scheme and projects to a variety of audiences. This includes policy makers, stakeholders, scientists and the general public.
The assessment of ecological risk associated with marine industry activity and development is a key issue in providing advice to licensing authorities and planners in the marine environment. The project would take existing quantitative frameworks for risk assessment and add functions to incorporate effects of applying and withdrawing pressures over short time steps and to enable modelling of population responses to these pressure schedules. Developing these methods will allow us to incorporate them into decision support tools to allow for a more robust comparison between temporally and spatially explicit management measures.
As part of the data collection framework, the Marine Institute conducts ten annual fisheries research surveys at sea to provide fisheries independent data for stock assessment. These surveys can be used as platforms of opportunities for the collection of additional ecosystem data to support the reporting requirements for environmental legislation including MSFD, Natura and MSP.
The Biologically Sensitive Area (BSA) is situated off the west and south coasts of Ireland and is considered to encompass an area of high biological sensitivity. It contains important spawning and nursery grounds for exploited north east Atlantic fish species. This project will produce a report which details the biological basis for the BSA and the effectiveness of the designation as an instrument to afford protection to the area.
Programmes such as MSP, MSFD and DCF require access to trusted and well-managed data from a wide variety of sources. The ability to access and re-use these data requires appropriate quality-assured processes and storage systems. This project will extend the Marine Institute’s Data Management Quality Management Framework to additional data processes underpinning marine environmental reporting and management, ensuring that these processes are quality assured via an internationally accredited framework.
This project will establish a fish species list, including the marine and diadromous species, study their diet and establish the relative energy inputs (Carbon and Nitrogen) from both freshwater and marine sources. The project will provide baseline information on a vulnerable habitat (coastal lagoon) classified as an Annex I priority habitat (“in danger of disappearance”) under the EU Habitats Directive (EU, 1992). Also relevant to Descriptor 1 in the MFSD, setting a baseline for species and habitats identified under national and international legislation, such as the Clew Bay Complex SAC.
Data is a key input into the advice which drives fisheries management but access to it is often restricted to scientists. This project provides tools for a number of different audiences to discover and explore the fisheries data that is collected within Ireland.
Crayfish stocks are heavily depleted in Irish waters. This depletion has been driven by over exploitation since the introduction of tangle netting in the 1970s. The restoration potential relies on acquiring better data on crayfish essential habitat, information on migration and stock structure and in managing fishing interactions.
The key importance of Tralee Bay (but also Clew and Galway) for endangered skates (and the skate-like angel shark) is well known and confirmed thanks to the first two years of EMFF work under the Biodiversity Scheme, and following on from Purse Search, IFI, ICES advice and the recent Irish Red List report. The threats to these species in the area are largely due to tangle netting for crawfish. The species in question are the white skate, common skates, undulate ray, common stingray and the angel shark.
Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are recognized in numerous regulations as a key cause of the loss of native species and the reduction of biodiversity (e.g. EC 708/2007; S.I. 477 of 2011).
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. The response of the conservation features to such measures will have to be considered.
This project will monitor the recovery of exploited deep-water species following the decline of the deep-water fisheries in Irish waters.
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). For these stocks, the fishing mortality is unknown and MSY reference points are not established. This lack of quantifiable targets is an impediment to the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as well as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
The aim of this project is to develop an integrated national sediment sampling and seabed imagery catalogue. It will provide a ‘signpost’ to the multiple sources of seabed data. The integration of this information will be vital to support the National marine planning process, in terms of habitat mapping, climate change assessment, resource assessment (e.g. aggregates) and invasive species incidence.
Several studies have indicated large accumulations of plastic microfibers in the gut of Dublin Bay prawns Nephrops norvegicus and in the sediments in which they live. The complicated gut system in this species is suggested to retain plastic fibers and places these stocks at potentially high risk of interference from marine microplastic pollution. Fibers which are too large or numerous to pass through the gut can form balls of aggregated material over time.
This project provides Research support to address any knowledge gaps in indicator development for MSFD criteria and OSPAR fish indicators assessments such that they align and answer Article 8 monitoring requirements for fish under Descriptors 1 and 4 of the MSFD.
The native European flat oyster is depleted throughout its former European range. Ireland still has a number of extant populations some of which are commercially fished but production and productivity is much reduced compared to historic levels.
This proposes to conduct intense sediment sampling and environmental data collection surveys on areas of interest in coastal waters to develop high resolution sediment and habitat maps. Knowledge of offshore and coastal seabed sediment characteristics enable marine spatial planning decisions and contribute to fisheries resource management, aquaculture site selection, habitat mapping, conservation objectives and reporting under various environmental legislation including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
This project is primarily a desktop study that will rely on existing sources of information and extensive surveying of both harvesters/growers and businesses or organisations within the seaweed sector. Through a comprehensive survey of the key stakeholders, data and information will be collated to map and value the seaweed supply chain, create an industry wide directory, develop best practice recommendations for seaweed resource management and reporting, and prepare the required final report and summary fact sheet and presentation.
The EMFF Offshore Reef project, SeaRover (Sensitive ecosystem Assessment & ROV Exploration of Reef) was a three-year project (2017-2019). Project objectives were to map offshore reef habitats with a view to protecting them from deterioration due to fishing pressures.This project will synthesise the output of all three surveys and, in consultation with the most important end-users, map out how the data should be disseminated, analysed and developed into products and tools used for policy support.