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.
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.
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.
This project will build on Data Discovery, Collation and Gap Analysis for Spatial Representation. This project specifically aims to provide up-to-date spatial and temporal information by filling in gaps in knowledge required to support MSP, regarding human activities, pressures, resource distribution etc.
Seascape is an important element in any maritime nation’s sense of identity and culture. It relates to where and how people value their coasts. As is evident in national tourism statistics, Irish seascapes are especially valued along the Wild Atlantic Way. This project aims to broadly define and classification Ireland’s Seascapes. This will lead to a better understanding of the character and values of the relevant seascapes and provide national baseline information available from which the planning and decision making processes can respond to future changes.
The aim of this project is to develop surveillance methods to facilitate the mapping of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) distribution in Irish marine habitats. Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) are researching IAS detection methods in Irish nearshore waters and benthic habitats. They have completed a review of known marine IAS in Ireland and identified IAS that could invade Irish marine habitats through vulnerable invasion pathways and other mechanisms (e.g.
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.
This project involves data collection, collation and analytical studies to identify, characterise and map Ireland’s marine provisioning, regulating / maintenance and cultural services. There is currently a lack of information available about marine ecosystem services in Ireland.
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.
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.
This project will explore and develop the evidence on climate change implications for MSP. A review of existing MSP will summarise best practice approaches for incorporating climate change in marine spatial plans.
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).
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.
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.