• An Assessment of Water Quality Data from Kilkieran Bay, Co. Galway

      O'Donohoe, G; Hensey, M; O'Connor, B (Marine Institute, 2000)
      A programme monitoring water quality was carried out at 11 sites in Kilkieran Bay, Co. Galway from 1984 to the 1998, for the most part. Continuous monthly readings were recorded at 5 of these sites. Three sites were sampled for temperature, salinity, nitrate, nitrite and phosphate. Three replicate samples were taken at each sampling event. While salinity remained relatively stable throughout, temperature varied considerably between winter and summer months (e.g. Lettercallow, 3.5-18.5ºC), at each of the sites. Nutrient levels were highest in winter months at all sites. The innermost sites tended to have lower salinities and lower nutrient levels. However, there were no statistical differences in nutrient levels among the sites and from year to year. These findings suggest that there was no appreciable increase (or decrease) in nutrient loading within Kilkieran Bay. It is recommended that sampling within the bay is defined according to the broad geographic regions outlined and that intensive sampling was not necessary.
    • Assuring Seafood Safety: Contaminants and Residues in Irish Seafood 2004-2008

      McGovern, Evin; McHugh, Brendan; O’Hea, Linda; Joyce, Eileen; Tlustos, Christina; Glynn, Denise (Marine Institute (in collaboration with Food Safety Authority of Ireland), 2011)
      This report provides an overview on the occurrence of environmental contaminants, such as metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and veterinary residues in Irish seafood. Compliance of seafood (shellfish, crustaceans, wild and farmed finfish) with relevant EC Regulatory Limits for contaminants is examined and an overview of conformance of the aquaculture sector with the requirements of the EC Residues Directive (Dir 96/23/EC) is presented for 2004 - 2008. The contribution of seafood to the dietary intake of certain contaminants for the Irish adult seafood consumer is estimated and the risks of contaminant exposure from seafood consumption are considered in the context of the well established health benefits of seafood consumption.
    • Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Tagging Programme in Ireland 2016

      Ó Maoiléidigh, N.; Connolly, P.; Drumm, A.; O'Neill, Ross; Maxwell, H.W.; Ó Cuaig, M.; Cooney, J.; Bunn, R; Stokesbury, Michael J.W.; Schallert, R.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2016)
      It is important that stock origin, habitat utilisation and large-scale movement patterns of Atlantic bluefin are characterised in detail to ensure that the population models and concepts used in Atlantic bluefin tuna stock assessment and Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) are parameterised as accurately as possible. Investigation of the distribution and movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna in Irish waters is now a priority for Ireland. The ocean waters off south Donegal are now regarded by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) as an important area for Atlantic bluefin tuna and indications are that significant numbers arrive in the area over the period August to November each year. The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) requested that the Marine Institute carry out a bluefin tagging programme in autumn 2016 to support the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) Grand Bluefin Year Programme (GBYP) Atlantic research programme for Bluefin tuna.
    • Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Tagging Programme in Ireland 2017

      Ó Maoiléidigh, N.; Connolly, P.; Drumm, A.; O'Neill, Ross; Maxwell, H.W.; Cooney, J.; Bunn, R; Tully, D.; Stokesbury, Michael J.W.; Schallert, R.; et al. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      It is important that stock origin, habitat utilisation and large-scale movement patterns of Atlantic bluefin are characterised in detail to ensure that the population models and concepts used in Atlantic bluefin tuna stock assessment and Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) are parameterised as accurately as possible. Investigation of the distribution and movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna in Irish waters is now a priority for Ireland. The ocean waters off south Donegal are now regarded by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) as an important area for Atlantic bluefin tuna and indications are that significant numbers arrive in the area over the period August to November each year. The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) requested that the Marine Institute carry out a bluefin tagging programme in autumn 2016 to support the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) Grand Bluefin Year Programme (GBYP) Atlantic research programme for Bluefin tuna.
    • Atlantic Herring and Horse Mackerel in 6aS/7b; Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report

      O'Malley, M.; Blaszkowski, M.; White, Emma; O'Brien, S.; Mullins, E. (Marine Institute, 2019)
      An acoustic survey of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus and horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus was conducted in ICES areas 6aS/7b in Nov 2018 using the pair trawl vessels MFV Eilean Croine S238 and MFV Sparkling Star D437. This survey is the third in a time series that is hoped will be developed into a long-term index of spawning/pre-spawning herring and horse mackerel in 6aS/7b, for use in stock assessments in the future. The survey design was based on the predicted distribution of herring and horse mackerel in this area during this time. In total 1,400nmi of cruise track was completed using 37 transects and related to a total area coverage of approximately 5,600 nmi². Parallel transect spacing was set at 7.5nmi for the wider area strata, and 3.5nmi for Donegal Bay and Achill strata. Coverage extended from inshore coastal areas to the 200 m contour in the west and north where possible. A survey was carried out in Lough Swilly using a zig-zag design. A Simrad ES-38B (38 kHz) split-beam transducer mounted on a towed body was used to collect acoustic raw data. Very strong herring marks were evident in Lough Swilly, an area where boats in the monitoring fishery were concentrating effort. There were a few herring marks in discreet areas around Glen Head, Bruckless Bay, Inishmurray and Inishbofin. A total of four commercial fishing hauls on horse mackerel were completed during the survey. Biological samples from the monitoring fishery of herring were used to augment the samples from the survey. Herring samples were taken from boats fishing in Lough Swilly and Bruckless Bay as close spatially and temporally as possible to the survey in these areas. Herring were dominated overall by 4-wr fish, 29% of the overall numbers. Horse mackerel were distributed throughout the survey area, but particularly throughout the area to the north and west of the Stags of Broadhaven. Horse mackerel length distribution was dominated by a mode at 25-26cm. This corresponded to a dominance of 4-wr fish (~89%) in all of the samples. The total stock biomass (TSB) estimate of herring for the combined 6aS/7b area was 50,145 tonnes (Lough Swilly = 32,372 tonnes, Donegal Bay = 9,517 tonnes, NW area = 7,710 tonnes and the remaining Achill strata = 545 tonnes). This is considered to be a minimum estimate of herring in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey. The TSB estimate of horse mackerel for the total surveyed area in 6aS/7b area was 57,162 tonnes, considered to be a minimum estimate of horse mackerel in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey. The CV estimates on biomass and abundance are high (~0.51 for herring and ~ 0.36 for horse mackerel) for the survey in 2018. For herring, this is mostly caused by the over-reliance on a few acoustic marks of herring in Lough Swilly and Bruckless Bay in particular. Horse mackerel are a widely distributed stock, therefore the stock was not contained by this survey.
    • Atlantic Herring and Horse Mackerel in 6aS/7b; Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report

      O’Malley, M.; Clarke, M.; Smith, T.; Mullins, E. (Marine Institute, 2018)
      An acoustic survey of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus and horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus was conducted in ICES areas 6aS/7b in Nov 2017 using the pair trawl vessels MFV Eilean Croine S238 and MFV Sparkling Star D437. This survey is the second in a time series that is hoped will be developed into a long-term index of spawning/pre-spawning herring and horse mackerel in 6aS/7b, for use in stock assessments in the future. The survey design was based on the predicted distribution of herring and horse mackerel in this area during this time. In total 1,482nmi of cruise track was completed using 27 transects and related to a total area coverage of approximately 2,200 nmi². Parallel transect spacing was set at 7.5nmi for the wider area, and 3.5nmi for Donegal Bay. Coverage extended from inshore coastal areas to the 200 m contour in the west and north. A mini survey was carried out in Lough Swilly using a zig-zag design. A Simrad ES-38B (38 kHz) split-beam transducer mounted on a towed body was calibrated before the survey near Rathmullan Pier in Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal. Very strong herring marks (e.g. > 2nmi long, 200m wide and ~18m deep) were evident in Lough Swilly, an area where boats in the monitoring fishery were concentrating effort. There was also a series of strong herring marks in Bruckless Bay and Inver Bay in discreet areas. There were very few herring marks offshore. A total of four hauls were taken for biological analysis. Biological samples from the monitoring fishery were used to augment the samples from the survey. Samples were taken from boats fishing in Lough Swilly, Bruckless Bay and Inver Bay as close spatially and temporally as possible to the survey in these areas. Herring were dominated by 3-wr fish in all hauls. The 3-wr age class constituted 32% of the overall numbers. Horse mackerel were distributed throughout the survey area, but particularly throughout the area to the north and west of Tory Island. Horse mackerel length distribution was dominated by a mode at 24cm, with a smaller mode at 30cm. This corresponded to a dominance of 3-wr fish (~67%) in all of the samples. The total stock biomass (TSB) estimate of herring for the combined 6aS/7b area was 40,646 tonnes (Lough Swilly = 12,098 tonnes, Donegal Bay = 23,157 tonnes, and the remaining NW area = 5,391 tonnes). This is considered to be a minimum estimate of herring in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey. The TSB estimate of horse mackerel for the total surveyed area in 6aS/7b area was 68,079 tonnes, considered to be a minimum estimate of horse mackerel in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey. The CV estimates on biomass and abundance are high (~0.50 for herring and ~ 0.62 for horse mackerel) for the survey in 2017. For herring, this is mostly caused by the over-reliance on a few acoustic marks of herring in Lough Swilly and Bruckless/Inver Bays in particular. For horse mackerel, this is most likely caused by and over-reliance of two transects in particular. Horse mackerel are a widely distributed stock, therefore the stock was not contained by this survey.
    • Atlantic Herring in 6aS/7b, Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report

      O’Malley, M.; Smith, T.; Mullins, E. (Marine Institute, 2020)
      An acoustic survey of Atlantic herring Clupea harengus was conducted in ICES areas 6aS/7b in Dec 2019 using the research vessel RV Celtic Voyager and the fishing vessel MFV Ros Ard SO745. This survey is the fourth in a time series that is hoped will be developed into a long-term index of spawning/pre-spawning herring in 6aS/7b. The survey design is based on the predicted distribution of this winter spawning herring in this area. Poor weather negatively impacted the survey in 2019, resulting in fewer transect miles completed and fewer strata areas covered than planned. In total, approximately 600nmi of cruise track was completed using 96 transects. This resulted in a total area coverage of approximately 606 nmi², a significant reduction compared to recent years. Parallel transect spacing was set at 3.5nmi for the Donegal Bay strata. Tightly spaced zig-zag transects were used in a relatively small area in Lough Swilly. A Simrad ES-120 7CD (120 kHz) split-beam echosounder was used to collect acoustic raw data. The transducer was mounted on a towed body from the Celtic Voyager in Donegal Bay and was pole mounted from the Ros Ard in Lough Swilly. Very strong herring marks were evident in Lough Swilly in deepest part of the channel. The herring marks continued for many miles in the upper Swilly, an area where boats in the monitoring fishery had also concentrated effort. There were some herring marks in discreet areas around Drumanoo Head, Bruckless Bay and Inver Bay in the Donegal Bay Strata. Biological samples from the monitoring fishery of herring were used to augment the samples from the survey. Herring samples were taken from boats fishing in Lough Swilly and Inver Bay as close spatially and temporally as possible to the survey in these areas. Herring were dominated overall by 1- and 2-wr fish, (52% of the overall numbers) followed by relatively strong 3- and 5-wr cohorts. The total stock biomass (TSB) estimate of herring for the combined 6aS/7b area was 25,289 tonnes (Lough Swilly = 19,697 tonnes, Donegal Bay = 5,591 tonnes). This is considered to be a minimum estimate of herring in the 6aS/7b survey area at the time of the survey, and a significant decrease on the previous 3 years surveys. The reduction in the survey area completed as a consequence of the poor weather resulted in the survey not containing the stock in 2019. However, the overall CV estimate on biomass and abundance for the survey area completed is low (~0.17) in 2019. This is driven by the improved survey design in Lough Swilly, with reduced transect spacing and increased transect miles in this strata. The CV for the Donegal Bay strata is relatively high (0.63), this is mostly caused by the over-reliance on a few acoustic marks of herring in Bruckless and Inver Bays in particular and many transects with little or no herring marks. The survey in 2019 had to be altered due to weather, requiring a change in design and approach. However, the template of focusing on discreet areas was generally successful and may provide a template for future designs, particularly when reduced effort is necessary during poor weather or resource limits.
    • Atlantic Herring in 6aS/7b, c Industry Acoustic Survey Cruise Report, 28 November – 07 December, 2016

      O'Malley, M.; Clarke, M.; O'Donnell, C.; Murphy, I. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      The individual stock assessments for Atlantic herring Clupea harengus in 6aN and 6aS/7b, c have been combined into one assessment encompassing both stocks following a benchmark in 2015 (ICES 2015a). ICES still considers that two separate stocks exist. The main reason for the merging has been that the catches of mixed aggregations in the commercial fishery and in the summer acoustic survey could not be separated into the different stock components for the purposes of stock assessment. The consequence of this has been a zero TAC for herring in these areas for 2016 and 2017. In its autumn 2015 plenary report, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF PLEN 15-03, 2015), noted that from a stock assessment perspective, it would be beneficial to allow small catches in both management areas in the form of a monitoring TAC, to maintain an uninterrupted time series of fishery-dependent catch data from both stocks. On the request of industry, part of the monitoring TAC was set aside in 2016 to conduct acoustic/trawl surveys in both 6aN and 6aS/7b, c. An industry/science collaboration survey was conducted on pre-spawning aggregations of 6aS/7, c herring during late November/early December in 2016. Herring were found in very dense aggregations in a few specific locations (Lough Swilly and Donegal Bay), but schools were smaller and in low numbers throughout much of the survey area offshore. This behaviour was evident in the monitoring fishery also during the time of the survey. The dense shoals were in shallow inshore areas, and in some cases very large (> 1nmi long). Three acoustic validation hauls were also carried out, only one containing herring. Fishing could not take place in shallow areas with the survey vessel. Samples from the monitoring fishery were used to augment samples from the survey and work up an estimate of abundance and biomass of herring. The survey estimated a minimum of 35,475 tonnes herring in the survey area. The hyper-aggregating behaviour and relatively low numbers of herring schools during the survey led to a high CV (~0.37) on the estimates of abundance and biomass. The vast majority of herring were mature, assumed to be of 6aS/7b, c origin due to their proximity geographically to the spawning beds and temporally to spawning time for this mainly winter spawning stock. Small horse mackerel (~20 - 24cm) were found throughout the area to the north and west of Tory Island in many large schools on the bottom
    • Atlantic Seabed Mapping Roadmap

      Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) (Marine Institute, 2020)
      This Vision Statement arises from the activities of the Atlantic Seabed Mapping International Work Group (hereafter referred to as Seabed Mapping Group), and is conducted through the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) between Canada, the European Union and the United States of America. The progress and vision towards achieving a baseline seabed and habitat map of the Atlantic Ocean, was presented at the All Atlantic Ocean Research Forum, 6-7 February, 2020, in Brussels, Belgium. A diverse group of stakeholders participated in this work and the outcome summarised here is a result of extensive consultation with workshop and meeting participants, as well as others that were invited to comment on the work as it progressed. The Seabed Mapping Group has, in the last five years, defined and tested all the necessary steps to map the previously uncharted seafloor of the Atlantic Ocean. With the onset of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, the Seabed Mapping Group calls on the international leaders to provide the resources and framework necessary to achieve this ambitious goal, in order to deliver on their commitment to the Galway and Belém Statements. Creating an accurate fact based map of the Atlantic seafloor is essential for the sustainable use of our ocean, and will greatly help us to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal.
    • Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Ireland

      Gerritsen, H.D.; Lordan, Colm (Marine Institute, 2014-03)
      This “Atlas of Commercial Fisheries Around Ireland” uses informatics, the science of processing data into information, to give useful new insights into fishing activities and fisheries resources. Fishing is one of the most significant ocean uses in the waters around Ireland with around 1000 vessels active on a daily basis. More than 8 million hours of fishing effort spent annually are mapped by gear and country. Landings statistics are summarised by port. Fishing activities and landings values and volumes within the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone are estimated for 2012. Landings of the key commercial species are mapped individually and by gear. This information is put into context by maps of effort and landings at a broader European scale and by the historical time series of landings that are provided for each species.
    • Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Ireland, third edition

      Gerritsen, H.D.; Kelly, Eoghan (Marine Institute, 2019)
      The Atlantic Ocean is the world’s second-largest ocean and covers 20% of the earth’s surface. The waters around Ireland constitute a small part of that vast ocean but they are very productive; they support a diverse range of international fishing activities and contain important marine habitats and ecosystems. This resource requires careful management to protect vulnerable components whilst ensuring sustainable exploitation. This “Atlas of Commercial Fisheries around Ireland” provides a series of detailed maps of fishing activity around Ireland with the aim of providing insights into fishing activities and fisheries resources. Fishing effort is mapped by gear and country. Irish landings of the key commercial species are mapped individually and by gear.
    • Atlas of Demersal Discarding

      Marine Institute; Bord Iascaigh Mhara (Marine Institute; Bord Iascaigh Mhara, 2011)
      Societal demands to reduce discarding and other impacts associated with fishing are growing. Pressure is increasing on policy makers, fishermen and scientists to ‘do something about the discard problem’. Discarding is high on the agenda in the upcoming review of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and within the Commission, Member States and the fishing industry there is considerable discussion on appropriate management measures to mitigate discarding. In order to address the issue, fisheries should first be evaluated (audited) to identify the specific discard problems and to reference these against the available mitigation tools i.e. measures to reduce discards. This Atlas represents a first attempt at auditing Irish fisheries and proposes some options to mitigate discards. It should be emphasised that discarding occurs in all international fleets operating in the waters around Ireland and that mitigation measures must be applied to all these fleets if we are to implement a successful discard reduction policy.
    • An Atlas of Fishing and Some Related Activities in Ireland's Territorial Sea and Internal Marine Waters with Observations Concerning their Spatial Planning

      Fahy, E.; Healy, E.; Downes, S.; Alcorn, T.; Nixon, E. (Marine Institute, 2008)
      This Atlas was initiated as part of Ireland's preparation for the Water Framework Directive (WFD) which, inter alia, required mapping the distribution of mobile fishing gears in coastal waters (inside 1 n mile outside the base lines). The Atlas subsequently expanded the geographical extent of the review out to 12 n miles. The history, descriptive terminology and extent of subdivisions of the territorial sea are provided. The Atlas is a collection of 1,885 polygons showing the distribution of fishing and fishery related activities, including aquaculture and mariculture within the Republic of Ireland's territorial sea and internal marine waters. The Atlas demonstrates that the greatest range and intensity of fishing and related activities are undertaken in the internal waters of the State. Hook and line fishing emerged as the most widely used metier and a combined array of mobile gears, ranging from pelagic otter trawls to hydraulic dredges, took second place. The total area occupied by fishing and fishing related activities was just under 125,000 km2. The principal metier groupings within 12 n miles were: hook and line occupying 57,000 km2 (45% of the total), mobile gears (towed enclosing nets and dredges) accounting for 27,530 km2 (22%). Passive nets (static tangle and gill nets and the now defunct salmon drift nets) made up 18,000 km2 (14%). Pots targeting crustaceans and molluscs occupied 13,250 km2 (11%). Aquaculture and mariculture occupied 172 km2, some 0.4% of the area within 12 n miles. To supplement the polygons, a table of metier and species combinations in internal and territorial waters opposite each county with a long shoreline is supplied. The table includes fisheries whose existence is known but not their extent. The consequences for benthic community structure of the use of a particular metier, the purpose of the exercise for the WFD, are considered. "Community" refers to fish or invertebrate species assemblages. Applications for the data are discussed in the context of a growing appreciation of the need to plan the use of inshore waters for fishery conservation and to accommodate a wide range of stakeholder interests and to embrace the ecosystem approach to maritime governance. Difficulties inherent in conserving fish species rather than biological communities are illustrated by reference to a case history. Data presented in the document were sourced from the tacit knowledge of stakeholders. Planning jurisdiction in the Republic of Ireland is described with reference to inshore waters. Recent thinking by fishery commentators is reviewed. Finally, current thinking on inshore spatial planning within the EU and particularly among our nearest neighbours is discussed and the possibility of implementing ICZM is briefly considered. This document is presented as Version 1 of a continuing exercise. Governmental departmental arrangements and collected data refer to the period up to 2006. The Atlas should be periodically revised as more information becomes available.
    • Atlas of Irish Groundfish Trawl Surveys: Supporting fish stock assessment and new ecosystem advice

      Marine Institute (Marine Institute, 2012)
      This Atlas presents the key results from the Irish groundfish survey programme which is carried out annually in the waters around Ireland, and the Deepwater programme conducted between 2006 and 2009. The various groundfish surveys are described together with the gear used and the areas surveyed. A short note on the biology of each species is given together with their catch length profile and growth curve (size of 1 year olds; two year olds; etc.). The abundance and distribution of the main commercial and non commercial fish species caught on the surveys are mapped, and the catches over time are plotted. Two case studies are used to illustrate the application of survey data.
    • Atlas of the Commercial Fisheries Around Ireland

      Anon. (Marine Institute, 2009)
      This Atlas reviews the fishing activity on fish stocks of relevance to Ireland that come under the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The Atlas focuses on fishing opportunities (Total Allowable Catches – TACs), landings trends, fleet activity and the state of the resource in the waters around Ireland (principally ICES Sub-areas VI and VII). The Atlas also deals with fish stocks exploited by Ireland outside Sub-areas VI and VII. Every effort has been made to use the most up to date information available on fishing opportunities, landings, effort, and on the state of the resource base. The various ICES and STECF reports and databases together with various EU Regulation should be consulted for the definitive figures and regulatory articles.
    • Atlas: Commercial fisheries for shellfish around Ireland

      Tully, O. (Marine Institute, 2017)
      Fishing is the longest standing and most prevalent marine activity in the territorial and coastal waters of Ireland. Today over 2,000 vessels are registered as commercial fishing vessels and over 80% of these are under 12m in length and depend largely or completely on the territorial waters of the state. The increased level and diversity of activity in the maritime space has highlighted the need for efficient and co-ordinated management of its use to avoid conflict and to identify, where possible, synergies both within and between sectors. These objectives are reflected in the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive which came into force in 2014 and which requires EU Member States to establish and implement maritime spatial planning (EU/89/2014). There is a need to manage and plan industrial activity, including fishing, in a spatial context. These spatial data have already been used in Ireland to assess the interaction between fisheries and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) (www.fishingnet.ie/fishinginnaturaareas, Marine Institute 2015). The new data are presented here but the scope is restricted to Shellfish fisheries and with an emphasis on the distribution of these fisheries in internal and territorial waters.
    • The Avonmore Brown Trout Fishery at Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow

      Fahy, E; Reynolds, J (Department of the Marine, 1987)
      A massive ore body in the Vale of Avoca has been mined since 1752. Environmental consequences have included a sulphide rich effluent entering the river from the workings and creating a pollution block which effectively disrupts migrations of migratory salmonids. The angling fishery upstream of the block, in the vicinity of Rathdrum, exploits small resident brown trout. Prospects for the further development of this fishery are considered and the present arrangements are reckoned to be most suitable for the foreseeable future.
    • AZA – the producing organisms – biology and trophic transfer

      Tillmann, U.; Salas, R.; Jauffrais, T.; Hess, P.; Silke, J. (CRC Press, 2014)
      Compared to the knowledge on toxin structure, detection methods, and toxicology, convincing clarification of the aetiology of AZP was seriously lacking behind for quite a long time. Based upon the seasonal and episodic accumulation of AZA toxins in suspension-feeding bivalve molluscs – a situation similar to several other marine biotoxins - a planktonic source has been suspected from the outset. Furthermore, due to their polyether structural features, AZA has been suspected to be a dinoflagellate metabolite. Thus, it was no surprise that is was a dinoflagellate species which was first claimed to be the source of AZA. The link between AZA and P. crassipes, however, remained controversial because production of AZA by P. crassipes could not be verified in spite of numerous attempts based upon field surveys and laboratory investigations of cultured and isolated cells. Moreover, in contrast to other proven producers of phycotoxins, which are all primarily phototrophic, P. crassipes is a heterotrophic dinoflagellate, known to prey upon other dinoflagellates as food. The likelihood, therefore, that another dinoflagellate may produce AZA, which then accumulates in P. crassipes through normal feeding processes, could not be neglected.
    • Azaspiracid Shellfish Poisoning: A Review on the Chemistry, Ecology, and Toxicology with an Emphasis on Human Health Impacts

      Twiner, M J; Rehmann, N; Hess, P; Doucette, G J (MDPI AG, 2008)
      Azaspiracids (AZA) are polyether marine toxins that accumulate in various shellfish species and have been associated with severe gastrointestinal human intoxications since 1995. This toxin class has since been reported from several countries, including Morocco and much of western Europe. A regulatory limit of 160 μg AZA/kg whole shellfish flesh was established by the EU in order to protect human health; however, in some cases, AZA concentrations far exceed the action level. Herein we discuss recent advances on the chemistry of various AZA analogs, review the ecology of AZAs, including the putative progenitor algal species, collectively interpret the in vitro and in vivo data on the toxicology of AZAs relating to human health issues, and outline the European legislature associated with AZAs.
    • AZASPIRACIDS – Toxicological Evaluation, Test Methods and Identifcation of the Source Organisms (ASTOX II)

      Kilcoyne, Jane; Jauffrais, Thierry; Twiner, Michael J.; Doucette, Gregory J.; Aasen Bunes, John A.; Sosa, Silvio; Krock, Bernd; Séhet, Véronique; Nulty, Ciara; Salas, Rafael; et al. (Marine Institute, 2014)
      Since the Irish monitoring program was set up in 2001 azaspiracids (AZAs) have been detected in shellfish above the regulatory limit every year with the exception of 2004. The south west coast of Ireland is especially prone to the onsets of AZA events. Over this period a number of poisoning incidents associated with this toxin group have occurred, all related to Irish shellfish. In 2003 the Marine Institute was awarded funding for a research project named ASTOX. This project was very successful in producing a range of reference materials (RMs, which are essential for accurate detection and monitoring, and which up to this point were unavailable. The project also examined the toxicity of AZAs, primarily using in vitro cell assays but some in vivo studies were also performed. The overall aims of the ASTOX 2 project were to strengthen knowledge on the causative organism and toxicity of AZAs. The project aims were grouped into three areas: ecology, chemical support and toxicology.