<b>To view all items in this collection click on the title tab in the search box above</b><br></br><br>This collection contains a series of reports published since 2000 presenting scientific and technical information on issues related to marine environmental quality, marine pollution, seafood safety and fish health.

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Marine Environment and Health Series

Recent Submissions

  • Chemical Residues in Irish Farmed Finfish, 2012-2014

    Glynn, D.; Kelly, C.; Moffat, R.; Reid, A.; Toomey, M.; O'Hea, L.; Elliott, M.; Hickey, C.; Geary, M.; Ruane, N. M.; McGovern, E. (Marine Institute, 2015)
    The Marine Institute carries out monitoring of chemical residues in aquaculture in accordance with Council Directive 96/23/EC of 29 April 1996, on measures to monitor certain substances and residues thereof in animals and animal products, also known as the Residues Directive. This is carried out on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). For the aquaculture sector, the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) with technical support from the Institute is responsible for residue controls on farmed finfish on behalf of the national residue monitoring plan. Annually, the National Residues Control Plan (NRCP) for Aquaculture is prepared by the Institute and this sets out the monitoring requirements for residues in animal products in required by the directive. The main objectives of the National Residue Control Plan for Aquaculture is to ensure farmed fish are fit for human consumption; to provide a body of data showing that Irish farmed fish is of high quality; to promote good practices in aquaculture; and to comply with EU Directive 96/23/EC. Based on production tonnage, the following species for the period of 2012 to 2014 were sampled and tested: Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), freshwater and sea reared trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss & Salmo trutta). In excess of 2,141 tests and a total of 4,972 residue measurements were carried out over this three year period. Tests were carried out for banned substances such as growth promoters and other unauthorised substances such as malachite green, which should not be present. Harvest fish were also tested for authorised veterinary treatments such as antibiotics and sea lice treatments, environmental contaminants such as trace metals, polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides, to check for compliance with Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) where available. As in previous years, no non-compliant results were reported in the surveillance monitoring programme for farmed finfish during the period 2012 to 2014. Overall, in recent years the outcome for aquaculture remains one of consistently low occurrence of residues in farmed finfish, with 0.23% non-compliant results from routine targeted monitoring in 2004, 0.09% in 2005 and one of full compliance with 0% non-compliant target residue results for the period 2006-2014.
  • Chemical Residue in Irish Farmed Finfish, 2011

    Glynn, D.; McGovern, E.; Slattery, T.; Ó Conchubhair, D.; Toomey, M.; Kelly, C.; Reid, A.; Moffat, R. (Marine Institute, 2013)
    On behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM), the Marine Institute carries out monitoring of chemical residues in aquaculture in accordance with Council Directive 96/23/EC of 29 April 1996, on measures to monitor certain substances and residues thereof in animals and animal products. The main objectives of the Aquaculture National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) is to ensure farmed fish are fit for human consumption, to provide a body of data showing that Irish farmed fish is of high quality, to promote good practices in aquaculture and to comply with EU Directive 96/23. In 2011, in excess of 630 tests and 1,566 individual measurements for substances were carried out on 140 samples of farmed finfish taken on farms and at processing plants for a range of residues. In accordance with Council Directive 96/23/EC, the following species were sampled and tested: Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), freshwater and seareared trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Tests were carried out for banned substances such as growth promoters, and other unauthorised substances such as malachite green, which should not be present. Harvested fish were also tested for authorised veterinary treatments such as antibiotics and sea lice treatments, environmental contaminants such as trace metals, polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides, to check for compliance with Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) where available. As in previous years, no non-compliant results were reported in the surveillance monitoring programme for farmed finfish. Overall, in recent years the outcome for aquaculture remains one of consistently low occurrence of residues in farmed finfish, with 0.23% non-compliant results from routine targeted monitoring in 2004, 0.09% in 2005 and 0% for the period 2006-2011.
  • An Assessment of Dangerous Substances in Water Framework Directive Transitional and Coastal Waters 2007-2009

    McGovern, Evin; Cronin, Margot; Joyce, Eileen; McHugh, Brendan (Marine Institute, 2011)
    This report presents an assessment of hazardous substance contamination in Irish transitional and coastal waters. This was carried out in support of the EPA’s assessment of the quality status of surface waters (2007-2009) as required by the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC).
  • Irish Sea Marine Aggregate Initiative (IMAGIN) Technical Synthesis Report

    Sutton, G (ed) (Marine Institute, 2008)
    The Irish Sea Marine Aggregates Initiative (IMAGIN) is a collaborative project between Ireland and Wales focused on the sustainable management of marine aggregate resources. IMAGIN was a 2-year project with a total budget of €1.1 million. IMAGIN was part funded (66%) under the Ireland/Wales Inter Regional (INTERREG) IIIA Community Initiative Programme 2000-2006. The remaining project budget was met by contributions from partner organisations (19%) and aggregate companies – CEMEX, Lagan Ltd., Kilsaran Concrete and Roadstone Ltd. (15%). The IMAGIN grouping was a collaborative partnership comprising experts in Ireland and Wales from 3rd level Institutes, State agencies and industry. The grouping included the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre – University College Cork, Marine Institute, Geological Survey of Ireland, Geoscience Wales and representatives from the aggregate companies. The overall aim of the IMAGIN project is to facilitate the evolution of a strategic framework within which the exploitation of marine aggregate resources from the Irish Sea may be sustainably managed with minimum risk of impact on marine and coastal environments, ecosystems and other marine users. IMAGIN was structured around a series of work packages, each focusing on the different aspects of the marine aggregate question. Marine aggregates can be defined as sedimentary material - sand or gravel of various grain and class sizes (grades). Extraction of marine aggregates typically involves dredging of the deposit to remove it from the seabed. Aggregates may be screened at sea before being transported to a port or wharf facility for unloading and then further processing, if required, and subsequent transportation. In common with terrestrial aggregates, sands and gravels sourced from the seabed are an important economic resource, which can contribute to the development and maintenance of infrastructure, e.g. buildings, roads and bridges. Marine aggregates are also used for beach nourishment and coastal defence purposes, the demands for which have become more pressing when set against the predicted implications of climate change, sea level rise and associated effects on low lying coastal areas. A number of countries have sought to meet the demand for aggregates by utilising sources from the seabed to replace or complement terrestrial sources. Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are primary examples of countries within Europe that have a long established practice of marine aggregate extraction, providing an alternative to sole reliance on terrestrial sources.
  • Pilot Water Quality Monitoring Station in Dublin Bay North Bank Monitoring Station (NBMS): MATSIS Project Part I

    O'Donnell, G; Joyce, E; O'Boyle, S; McGovern, E (Marine Institute, 2008)
    The lack of short-term temporal resolution associated with traditional spot sampling for monitoring water quality of dynamic coastal and estuarine waters has meant that many organisations are interesting in autonomous monitoring technologies to provide near real-time semi-continuous data. Such approaches enable capturing short term episodic events (which may be missed or alternatively skew datasets when using spot samples) and provide early warning of water quality problems. New policy drivers such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD) provide added impetus to develop this field. Therefore, as part of the interreg IIIa funded MATSIS project the Marine Institute undertook to develop and pilot an autonomous monitoring station in Dublin Bay (North Bank Monitoring Station NBMS). This report presents the outcome for this pilot study.
  • Proceedings of the 8th Irish Shellfish Safety Workshop

    McMahon, T.; Deegan, B.; Silke, J.; Ó Cinneide, M. (Marine Institute, 2008)
    This document outlines the proceedings of the 8th Irish Shellfish Safety Scientific Workshop. This event was organised by the Marine Institute, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara to discuss the methods and advances of food safety with respect to shellfish health.
  • Issues and Recommendations for the Development and Regulation of Marine Aggregate Extraction in the Irish Sea

    O'Mahony, C; Sutton, G; McMahon, T; Ó Cinneide, M; Nixon, E (Marine Institute, 2008)
    This report details the work undertaken as part of the INTERREG IIIA Irish Sea Marine Aggregates Initiative (IMAGIN) project which aims “to develop recommendations for a strategic policy framework for an administrative and regulatory process, and operational guidelines under which dredging for marine aggregates in the Irish Sea can be sustainably managed.” It considers policy and regulatory issues from an Irish context. Aggregates in the form of sand and gravel deposits are a vital natural resource, providing essential material to support societal needs for infrastructure and the construction industry. Thus, the importance of aggregate supply to the economy of many nations cannot be understated. As a result of Ireland’s economic boom since the early 1990s, the national consumption of aggregates per head of population in Ireland has spiralled upward and is currently standing at four times the European average. At present, all aggregate used in the Irish market is extracted from terrestrial sources. This project set out to examine the marine extraction option for current supply and future Irish demand.
  • Management recommendations for the sustainable exploitation of mussel seed in the Irish Sea

    Maguire, J A; Knights, T; Burnell, G; Crowe, T; O'Beirn, F.X.; McGrath, D; Ferns, M; McDonough, N; McQuaid, N; O'Connor, B; Doyle, R; Newell, C; Seed, R; Smaal, A; O'Carroll, T; Watson, L; Dennis, J; Ó Cinneide, M (Marine Institute, 2007)
    As it currently stands, the management of the bottom mussel aquaculture in Ireland is a complex process that is governed by three overriding factors; these are; 1) Government policy and regulation, 2) industry and economics and 3) Science and biology. These three factors are influenced by a range of different issues that influence the implementation of resource management either individually or in combination and include, inter alia, aquaculture licensing, carrying capacity, company structure and operating practices, animal health legislation, vessel registration and licensing and North/South agreements, prevailing weather conditions and uncertainty of seed supply. The mussel seed fishery in the Irish Sea, as the primary source of seed, is integral to the continued viability of the bottom mussel sector in Ireland. This report is the outcome of a project initiated over concerns raised regarding the sustainability of the fishery. A goal of this project is to develop and implement a science based management system for the sustainable exploitation of seed mussels in the Irish Sea. A specific goal of the project was to identify environmental drivers governing the distribution and abundance of the seed mussel resources in the Irish Sea. A number of outputs were expected from this project: 1. A literature search and review of existing biological, fisheries, survey and hydrographic data. 2. Studies to estimate adult reproductive cycles and spatfall patterns. 3. Hydrographic models of targeted areas of high mussel population. These models allow for behavioural characteristics of the larval swimming phases. 4. Draft a management strategy to detail the optimum manner in which to effect the sustainable exploitation of the resource, including the hatchery option. This report addresses the final workpackage above, wherein a series of recommendations encompassing both management and research aspects, based upon the scientific outputs of the project, are presented.
  • Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus and its impact on the Irish Salmon Aquaculture and Wild Fish sectors

    Geoghegan, F; Ó Cinneide, M; Ruane, N. M. (Marine Institute, 2007)
    Infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) is an economically significant viral disease of salmonid fish worldwide. Infectious pancreatic necrosis is categorised as a List III disease under Annex A of EU Council Directive 91/67/EEC. List III diseases are present within the EU and up to 2004 were regulated under national control programmes within each member state. The disease was first described in freshwater trout in North America in the 1950’s (Wood et al., 1955) and has been reported in Europe since the early 1970’s (Ball et al., 1971). Initially, IPN was regarded as a serious disease affecting rainbow trout fry and fingerlings (Roberts & Pearson, 2005). However as the salmon farming industry began to expand during the 1970’s, incidence of IPN disease in salmon also increased with the result that IPN is now widespread in the salmon farming industry in both Norway and Scotland. The economic loss due to the disease is large and outbreaks may occur in Atlantic salmon juveniles in fresh-water and in post-smolts after transfer to sea-water. Historically in Ireland, isolations of the IPN virus have been rare and occasional outbreaks have occurred in both rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon facilities. The Marine Institute and its predecessor, the Fisheries Research Centre, have been testing farmed and wild fish for disease pathogens since the mid 1980’s. The first reported clinical outbreak of IPN in Atlantic salmon occurred in 2003. However in 2006 severe outbreaks in a number of freshwater salmon hatcheries occurred which were all linked to imports from a specific single source. To date, clinical outbreaks of IPN in Ireland have been associated with imports of infected ova and their subsequent movement within the country. This report reviews the prevalence of the IPN virus in the Irish salmon farming industry and also in wild fish from selected rivers. It describes the steps taken by the industry to control the disease in 2006 and aims to provide some practical solutions to reduce the prevalence of the virus in farmed and wild fish and to prevent future outbreaks of the disease.
  • Bonamia ostreae in the Native Oyster Ostrea edulis

    Culloty, S C; Mulcahy, M F (Marine Institute, 2007)
    Ireland has a long history of producing and harvesting native flat oysters, Ostrea edulis. At the start of the nineteenth century, almost every bay and harbour, around the coast had abundant beds of native oysters. Intensive dredging to meet the demands of the markets in Dublin and England depleted the stocks, so that in 1845 the government passed legislation to permit the formation of private oyster beds to improve the ailing stocks. According to the book on “Shellfish & Shellfisheries of Ireland” (Wilkins, 2004) Irish stocks began to collapse between 1850 and 1860. By the second half of the twentieth century, only the beds of Tralee Bay, Galway Bay and Clew Bay were still yielding a good return for local fishermen. The arrival of the oyster parasite Bonamia ostreae in the mid 1980s was an additional blow to the Irish native oyster stocks. This report sets out to document the spread and the impact of the Bonamia ostreae parasite in Irish bays since the 1980s.
  • Isolations and purifications of AZAs from naturally contaminated materials, and evaluation of their toxicological effects (ASTOX)

    Hess, P; McCarron, P; Rehmann, N; Kilcoyne, J; McMahon, T; Ryan, G; Ryan, M P; Twiner, M J; Doucette, G J; Satake, M; Ito, E; Yasumoto, T (Marine Institute, 2007)
    Since 1995, when several people became ill following consumption of shellfish from Ireland, azaspiracids (AZAs) have been known as shellfish toxins, causing symptoms associated with gastro-intestinal disorders, including diarrhoea, vomiting, headaches and others. The aims of the ASTOX-project were to provide control tools for the analysis of AZAs in shellfish, i.e. calibration standards and tissue reference materials (RMs), and to clarify the toxicity of AZAs in qualitative and quantitative terms, i.e. to understand the mode of action of AZAs and to derive a No Observable Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) for safe consumption of shellfish.
  • Pancreas Disease in Farmed Salmon - Health Management and Investigations at Irish Farm Sites 2005-2008

    Graham, D; Rodger, H; Ruane, N. M. (Marine Institute, 2008)
    This publication constitutes the final report for the research project ST/05/01 “Site investigations and disease management of the pancreas disease virus in Irish farmed salmon”, funded under the NDP Marine RTDI Programme. Work undertaken within the project included longitudinal studies of rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon at sea following the course of infection, testing for vectors and reservoirs of the virus, molecular studies of the virus and an epidemiological investigation of pancreas disease in Ireland. Results have shown that although pancreas disease is endemic in marine farmed Atlantic salmon, no evidence of infection in rainbow trout farmed at sea was found. Serological and molecular based diagnostic methods were shown to be suitable for the screening of fish stocks for the presence of the virus. For the confirmation of clinical outbreaks, farm data and histopathological results should be included. The results also suggest that horizontal transmission of the virus may be the main route of infection between sites. The project also involved the technology transfer of molecular and serological diagnostic methods for pancreas disease between partners and the final chapter includes practical information on management of, and mitigation against, pancreas disease. Pathologies such as pancreas disease, heart and skeletal muscle inflammation and cardiomyopathy syndrome, pose a serious threat to salmonid farming in Ireland, Scotland and Norway. Most significant among this group of diseases is pancreas disease, a viral disease affecting Atlantic salmon during the marine stage of the production cycle. From the first description of pancreas disease in farmed Atlantic salmon from Scotland in 1976 the disease has now become endemic in Ireland and parts of Norway and continues to be significant in Scotland. The causal agent of pancreas disease, a salmonid alphavirus, has now been characterised and a closely related subtype of the virus is known to cause sleeping disease in farmed rainbow trout on continental Europe and in the United Kingdom. The Irish salmon farming industry has estimated that pancreas disease has resulted in a total loss of turnover of €35 million with €12 million loss of profit in the years 2003-2004. The economic impacts are estimated to be in the range of €100 million per year in Norway. In Scotland, pancreas disease and related pathologies are increasingly responsible for significant losses in marine salmon farms but these have yet to be quantified.
  • Proceedings of the 7th Irish Shellfish Safety Workshop

    Marine Institute (Marine Institute, 2007)
    This document outlines the proceedings of the 7th Irish Shellfish Safety Scientific Workshop. This event was organised by the Marine Institute, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara to discuss the methods and advances of food safety with respect to shellfish health.
  • Review of the Potential Mechanisation of Kelp Harvesting in Ireland

    Werner, A; Kraan, S (Marine Institute, 2004)
    A diverse seaweed industry has developed in Ireland over the past few decades. The seaweed industry today comprises several sectors, such as biopolymers, agriculture/horticulture, cosmetics, thalassotherapy and human consumption, with the former two sectors being of most economic importance. Approximately sixteen seaweed species are commercially utilised, three of which are of particular commercial importance. These are the calcified red algae, referred to as maërl, which mainly comprises of two species (Phymatolithon calcareum and Lithothamnion corallioides) and are exploited by a single company for agricultural, horticultural, food and cosmetic applications. The other bulk species is the brown alga Ascophyllum nodosum, which is used for alginate extraction and agriculture/horticulture applications. The latter species sustains an industry, which is an important factor in contributing to the maintenance of coastal communities especially in rural areas of the west coast, particularly in the Gaeltacht of Connemara (Guiry 1997, National Seaweed Forum, 2000). Mechanical harvesting of seaweeds in Ireland is limited to the exploitation of maërl. At present, one company has a licence to harvest calcified algae in the south-west of Ireland (Bantry Bay) with 8,000 - 10,000 wet tonnes of maërl being extracted from the seabed annually in recent years. The supply of raw material for the Ascophyllum-processing industry as well as for the other industrial sectors relies on harvesters who harvest the seaweed by hand. Although hand-harvesting provides a source of employment in rural areas along the west coast, the age profile is increasing and the numbers of harvesters are declining due to insufficient recruitment of younger harvesters (National Seaweed Forum 2000; Kelly et al. 2001). With growing demands for seaweeds, it is uncertain whether hand-harvesting will provide sufficient raw material in the long-term. The National Seaweed Forum has evaluated the current state of the Irish Seaweed Industry. The forum was launched by the Minister for Marine and Natural Resources in 1999 and consists of 19 members from state agencies, third-level institutions and industry. In the final report (National Seaweed Forum, 2000) it was stated that the natural sustainable seaweed resources in Ireland are under-utilised and the industrial potential, including high-value applications, has not been fully realised. The National Seaweed Forum identified two key areas as being crucial to the development of the Irish seaweed industry: 1) Seaweed aquaculture was assumed to provide the most cost-effective method to meet growing market demand with high-quality seaweed for specific sectors such as human consumption, cosmetics and biotechnology. Additionally, a seaweed aquaculture industry is expected to create attractive and high-skilled jobs, especially in peripheral communities in coastal areas. This is based on the fact that seaweeds of interest to high quality applications are often not bulk species, which are easy to harvest in large amounts. Therefore, with cultivation you strongly increase volume/area, which facilitates harvesting and also standardises quality. Cultivation of a bulk species such as kelp is economically not feasible in Europe. 2) The development and introduction of harvesting machinery suitable for Irish conditions was thought to have a significant impact on the expansion of a viable Irish seaweed industry. As a measure to ensure long-term continuity of raw-material supply of bulk species (e.g. A. nodosum, Laminaria species) the investigation of mechanical harvesting techniques with emphasis on sustainability and environmental impact were prioritised as an R&D area (National Seaweed Forum, 2000). An initial comprehensive study of hand and mechanical harvesting of Ascophyllum nodosum, including an environmental impact assessment, was conducted in the late 1990s (Kelly et al., 2001). In this study, a device similar to the Norwegian Ascophyllum cutter (a flat-bottomed boat fitted with a Vaughan vertical wet-well chopper pump) was used. When hand and mechanical harvesting were compared, there was no significant difference in environmental impact caused by the two methods, but mechanical harvesting was found to be less effective and more expensive than hand harvesting. At present, kelp species in Ireland such as L. digitata, L. saccharina and Alaria esculenta, are harvested by hand but only in small amounts. This means that the natural sustainable resources of kelps of Irish shores are under-utilised. Due to the economic importance of L. digitata and L. hyperborea for alginate extraction and the growing demand for kelp by the phycocolloid and other industries, the introduction of mechanical harvesting is currently being considered for Ireland. Mechanised harvesting enables the harvester to remove large amounts of biomass from an area in a relatively short time. It is therefore essential to develop a suitable management scheme to ensure sustainable exploitation of natural resources and continuous integrity of marine habitats. The objective of the present study is to provide an extensive literature review on kelp research, harvesting and resource management as essential background knowledge for the development of an appropriate management strategy for Ireland. The report addresses the following topics: • Biology of kelps • Biodiversity of kelp forests and ecological significance of kelps • Commercial kelp harvesting in France and Norway (methods, management and environmental impact) • Investigations of kelp in Ireland (Growth rates, biomass, biodiversity of kelp beds, regeneration potential, kelp resources) • Legal framework for seaweed harvesting in Ireland • Conclusions and recommendations
  • Trace Metal and Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Concentrations in Various Fish Species Landed at Selected Irish Ports, 2002

    Tyrrell, L; Twomey, M; Glynn, D; McHugh, B; Joyce, E; Costello, J; McGovern, E (Marine Institute, 2004)
    The Marine Institute sample a range of finfish species landed at major Irish ports on an annual basis, in accordance with the monitoring requirements of various European legislation designed to ensure food safety. During 2002, a total of 38 samples from 20 different species of finfish were collected from five major Irish fishing ports and analysed for total mercury concentration in the edible tissue (Common names and species names are listed in Appendix 3). The concentration of mercury ranged from less than the limit of quantitation (0.03 mg/kg wet weight) to 0.46 mg/kg wet weight with a mean and median of 0.09 and 0.06 mg/kg respectively. These levels are within the maximum limit of 0.50 mg/kg wet weight for mercury in fishery products set by the EU (1 mg/kg for selected species). This survey confirms previous studies, which show that Irish seafood is effectively free from mercury contamination. Selected samples were also analysed for other trace metals and chlorinated hydrocarbons. Overall, the levels of lead and cadmium detected in the edible portion of the fish were low and well within the standard values of 0.20 and 0.05 mg/kg wet weight respectively, set by the EU. There are no internationally agreed standards or guidelines available for the remaining trace metals and chlorinated hydrocarbons in fishery products. Therefore results are compared with the strictest standards or guidance values for fish tissue, which are applied by contracting parties to the OSPAR Convention. The levels of these additional contaminants are well below the strictest values listed.
  • Proceedings of the 5th Irish Shellfish Safety Workshop, Rosscarbery, October 28th 2004

    Marine Institute (Marine Institute, 2005)
    This document outlines the proceedings of the 5th Irish Shellfish Safety Scientific Workshop. This event was organised by the Marine Institute, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara to discuss the methods and advances of food safety with respect to shellfish health.
  • Trace Metal and Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Concentrations in Shellfish from Irish Waters 2002

    Glynn, D; Tyrrell, L; McHugh, B; Monaghan, E; Costello, J; McGovern, E (Marine Institute, 2004)
    Major shellfish growing areas were sampled in accordance with the monitoring requirements of Council Directive 79/923/EEC, on the quality required of shellfish waters, and Council Directive 91/492/EEC, laying down the health conditions for the production and placing on the market of live bivalve molluscs. Data for physicochemical parameters in water and trace metal levels and chlorinated hydrocarbon concentrations in shellfish are presented. In 2002, a total of 24 samples from 22 different shellfish sites were analysed for chlorinated hydrocarbons and trace metals, including nickel and silver. The median concentration of mercury in shellfish sampled in 2002 was <0.03 mg/kg wet weight, which is well within the European maximum limit of 0.50 mg/kg wet weight for mercury in bivalve molluscs. The levels of lead and cadmium detected were low, with means of 0.16 and 0.33mg/kg wet weight and maxima of 0.34 and 0.66 mg/kg wet weight respectively, also within the respective European maximum levels of 1.50 and 1 mg/kg wet weight. There are no internationally agreed standards or guidelines available for the remaining trace metals and chlorinated hydrocarbons in shellfish. Therefore, these results were compared with the strictest standard or guidance values for shellfish, which are applied by contracting countries to the OSPAR Convention, and were found to be well below the strictest values listed. This is evidence of the clean, unpolluted nature of Irish shellfish and shellfish producing waters. As in previous years, the water quality from shellfish growing areas was good and conformed to the requirements of the Directive. Petroleum hydrocarbons were not visible in any of the shellfish waters or as deposits on the shellfish. This survey confirms previous studies (Glynn et al., 2003a, 2003b; McGovern et al., 2001; Bloxham et al., 1998; Smyth et al., 1997 and Nixon et al., 1995, 1994, and 1991), which show that contamination from trace metals and chlorinated hydrocarbons is low in Irish shellfish aquaculture.
  • Investigation into levels of dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls and brominated flame retardants in fishery produce in Ireland

    Tlustos, C; McHugh, B; Pratt, I; Tyrrell, L; McGovern, E (Marine Institute, 2007)
    The Food Safety Authority of Ireland in collaboration with the Marine Institute and An Board Iascaigh Mhara (Sea Fisheries Board) has carried out a surveillance study of levels of dioxins (PCDDs), furans (PCDFs) polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), specifically polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), in a variety of fish species and fishery products, including fresh and processed products available on the Irish market. The study was undertaken because of concern about the possible effects on human health of these bio-persistent environmental contaminants, known to be present in a number of foodstuffs, notably meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. The study showed that levels of PCDDs and PCDFs in Irish fish and fishery products available on the Irish market were well below existing EC legal limits for these contaminants as laid down in Regulation 466/2001. The lowest level was found in a sample of canned tuna (0.012 ng WHO TEQ/kg whole weight) with the highest level found in a farmed salmon sample (0.82 ng WHO TEQ/kg whole weight), compared with the maximum level under the legislation of 4 ng WHO TEQ/kg whole weight. The levels found were also below the new limits for dioxin-like PCBs (dl-PCBs) and for the sum of WHO-TEQs for PCDDs, PCDFs and dioxin-like PCBs, which were introduced in November, 2006 via Regulation 199/2006. The upper-bound mean levels of PCDDs, PCDFs and dioxin-like PCBs expressed as total WHOTEQs ranged from 0.05 – 2.15 ng/kg WHO TEQ whole weight, which can be compared with the new maximum level of 8 ng WHO TEQ/kg whole weight for the sum of PCDDs, PCDFs and dioxin-like PCBs. Results of this study are in line with those from previous FSAI studies on PCDD and PCDF levels in fish and also in meat, milk and eggs, and indicate relatively low levels of these contaminants in fishery produce available in the Irish marketplace. Reductions of PCDD/Fs and dl-PCBs in Irish farmed salmon were observed in comparison to levels measured in a previous FSAI/MI survey in 2001, in which a mean level of 4.02 ng WHO TEQ/kg whole weight was detected compared with 2.15 ng/kg WHO TEQ whole weight in the present study. Similar observations can be made for levels reported in a study carried out by An Board Iascaigh Mhara in 2004, in which a mean level of 1.75 ng WHO TEQ/kg whole weight was reported. Concentrations of brominated flame retardants were also low. The mean PBDE concentrations ranged from <0.31 to 3.71 µg/kg whole weight in canned tuna to farmed salmon respectively. Although there are no acceptable daily intake (ADI) or maximum limits set for PBDEs or HBCD, the levels of these contaminants found in the study were low, and are very unlikely to present a health risk to Irish consumers. Although fish is a recognised dietary source of PCDDs, PCDFs and PCBs, the health benefits of eating fish are well established, and on the basis of these results the FSAI considers that there is no need to alter current advice on fish consumption. Current advice is that consumers should eat two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily. The full study report follows, providing further sampling details, analytical methodologies and discussion of the resulting datasets.
  • Trace Metal Concentrations in Shellfish from Irish Waters, 2003

    Boyle, B; Tyrrell, L; McHugh, B; Joyce, E; Costello, J; Glynn, D; McGovern, E (Marine Institute, 2006)
    In accordance with the monitoring requirements of Council Directive 79/923/EEC, on the quality required of shellfish waters, and Council Directive 91/492/EEC, laying down the health conditions for the production and placing on the market of live bivalve molluscs, water samples from major shellfish growing areas were tested for physicochemical parameters and shellfish were tested for trace metal levels. In 2003, a total of 30 samples were analysed for trace metals. All mercury concentrations measured were below or close to the limit of quantification, 0.03 mg/kg wet weight, which is well within the European maximum level of 0.50 mg/kg wet weight for mercury in bivalve molluscs. Levels of lead were typically low, with a mean of 0.26 mg/kg wet weight and maxima of 1.04 mg/kg wet weight, also below the respective European maximum level of 1.50 mg/kg wet weight. In addition, levels of cadmium were all below the European maximum level of 1 mg/kg wet weight, though the level of cadmium determined at Castlegregory in Tralee Bay was 0.97 mg/kg, close to the European limit. Castlegregory has not been included in the sampling programme since 1994, but will be included in future monitoring. There are no internationally agreed standards or guidelines available for the remaining trace metals in shellfish. A compilation by the OSPAR Commission of standard and guidance values applied by member states of OSPAR indicated the Spanish standard for copper in shellfish of 20 mg/kg wet weight to be the strictest available. This excludes oysters for which a higher standard of 60 mg/kg wet weight has been set, as oysters accumulate copper to higher levels. All copper results were within these Spanish standards. The results obtained provide evidence of the clean, unpolluted nature of Irish shellfish and shellfish producing waters. As in previous years, the water quality from shellfish growing areas was good and conformed to the requirements of the Directive. Petroleum hydrocarbons were not visible in any of the shellfish waters or as deposits on the shellfish. This survey confirms previous studies (Glynn et al., 2004, 2003a, 2003b; McGovern et al., 2001; Bloxham et al., 1998; Smyth et al., 1997 and Nixon et al., 1995, 1994, and 1991), which show that contamination from trace metals is low in Irish shellfish aquaculture.
  • Guidelines for the Assessment of Dredge Material for Disposal in Irish Waters

    Cronin, M; McGovern, E; McMahon, T; Boelens, R (Marine Institute, 2006)
    Prior to the present guidelines the assessment, by the Marine Institute on behalf of the Department of Communication, Marine and Natural Resources, of the suitability of dredged materials for disposal at sea had employed provisional action levels as an aid to evaluation. These provisional action levels were based entirely on sediment chemistry. The responsible agencies have decided that these levels now need to be updated and formalised. The approach proposed in this document aims to provide an improved, and more integrated, assessment of the ecological risks associated with individual sediment dredging and disposal activities. It offers flexibility to deal with issues on a case-by-case basis and improves transparency of the decision-making process. The list of parameters to be assessed has been revised and methods for setting numerical guidance values in other countries have been reviewed. Ideally, guidance levels should comprise chemical and ecotoxicological data specifically relating to Irish sediments. In the absence of a comprehensive dataset for Irish sediments, proposed threshold guidance levels have been based on ecotoxicological data from other sources. Wherever possible, lower threshold guidance values have been based on existing Irish background levels of contaminants. Where background data do not exist for a particular parameter, ecotoxicologically-derived values, corresponding to expected no-effect levels, have been taken from reputable sources. Similarly, upper threshold guidance levels (i.e. levels at which effects may be expected) have been based on ecotoxicological data from reputable sources. The assessment strategy has been designed so that decisions concerning the acceptability of sediments for sea disposal will take into account a range of intrinsic and environmental factors i.e. the strategy adopts a Weight of Evidence approach. The guidance will be reviewed and revised as necessary, as more information becomes available. Sampling and storage methodology is presented as well as quality assurance and reporting requirements. Guidance on analytical procedures and approval of analytical laboratories is included.

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