• 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).
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Environmental Quality and Carrying Capacity for Aquaculture in Mulroy Bay, Co. Donegal

      Telfor, T; Robinson, K (Marine Institute, 2003)
      Concerns over recent expansion of the aquaculture sectors in Mulroy Bay have lead to several investigations on environmental quality within the area, including a recent report (in 2000) for the Irish Marine Institute by the Centre for Marine Resources and Mariculture (C-Mar, 2000). This study reported on changes in the physical and chemical environment within Muloy Bay over a two year data collection period, and from data collected by Marine Harvest Ireland, and related observed changes to aquaculture (notably salmon farming) outputs. The study also involved sediment bioassays using sediment collected in Mulroy Bay and a variety of test organisms to investigate whether any toxicants were present that may affect the benthic community. The current study was commissioned by the Marine Institute to draw together the results of long term monitoring of water and sediment quality, and hydrography, within Mulroy Bay collected by the Institute of Aquaculture (IoA), Stirling, on behalf of Marine Harvest Ireland since 1986. The study examines trends in the physical and chemical environment within Mulroy Bay (predominantly using IoA data) since recording began, and relates results to the present activities within the bay. The aims of the study are: • to produce a carrying capacity model for Mulroy Bay as a whole • to produce maps of waste dispersion from fish cage sites • to assess the environmental sustainability of current aquaculture activities in Mulroy Bay
    • An Epidemiological Investigation of the Re-Emergence of Pancreas Disease in Irish Farmed Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.) in 2002

      McLoughlin, M F; Peeler, E; Foyle, K L; O'Ceallachain, D; Geoghegan, F (Marine Institute, 2003)
      In the early 1990’s pancreas disease (PD) was shown to be the most significant cause of mortality in Irish farmed salmon (Wheatley et al., 1995, Menzies et al., 1996, Crockford et al., 1999). At that time the aetiology of PD was uncertain but in 1995 it was conclusively shown that PD was caused by a virus subsequently named salmon pancreas disease virus (SPDV), (Nelson et al., 1995, McLoughlin et al., 1996). It has since been further classified and named salmonid alphavirus (Weston et al., 1999, Weston et al., 2002). The clinical and histopathological features of naturally occurring pancreas disease in farmed Atlantic salmon in Ireland were described by Murphy et al., 1992 and McLoughlin et al., 2002. The original epidemiological studies of PD in Ireland indicated that mortality rates up to 48% have occurred in farmed Atlantic salmon in their first year in the sea on some individual fish farms (Menzies et al., 1996). PD was recorded in over 70% of marine sites monitored and the majority of PD outbreaks occurred during August to October (Crockford et al., 1999). A serological survey for the presence of SPDV antibody in 1996 revealed 53% of the sites (9/17) were positive and that not all positive sites had recognised clinical signs of PD. This indicated a relatively low incidence and severity of PD at that time (McLoughlin et al., 1998). This pattern persisted until 2002 when there was a serious increase in both the incidence and severity of PD reported on farmed Atlantic salmon marine sites in Ireland. In order to identify factors associated with this re-emergence of PD in Irish farmed salmon, an in-depth epidemiological investigation was carried out on all marine sites. In trying to identify the cause of a disease from epidemiological studies the concept of time, place and individual is paramount, i.e. why did a particular disease occur in a particular animal or group of animals at a particular time in a particular place? Epidemiological study designs are chosen so that predictor variables are measured in affected and non-affected “units”. These “units” may be cells, animals, pens, farms or countries. The association between these predictor variables and disease is then examined. Where associations are demonstrated then risk factors for disease can be identified. A risk factor is a predictor variable associated with the disease. However the identification of a risk factor does not imply causation. The strength, consistency, temporality and dose response effect of the risk factor add weight to it being causal but only an intervention study where the risk factor is added or omitted can confirm this. Individual or univariate analysis of the relationship between a predictor variable and disease may result in an association being demonstrated. However it is dangerous to read too much into univariate analyses as factors which have been ignored, not measured or not seen as important may have a confounding effect. Multivariate analysis is used to try to provide estimates of association adjusted for the effect of confounding factors is a much more accurate and powerful epidemiological tool, but was of limited application in this snapshot survey of a single production cycle. This report aims to describe the occurrence and severity of PD in Irish farmed salmon in 2002-2003 and to identify risk factors associated with the re-emergence of severe PD. Finally, recommendations are made on how PD can be managed to reduce its serious impact on the health, welfare and productivity of Irish farmed salmon.
    • The fate of oxytetracycline in the marine environment of a salmon cage farm

      Coyne, R; Smith, P; Moriarty, C (Marine Institute, 2001)
      This paper gives a summary of previously published results of studies on the dispersal of oxytetracycline from the vicinity of a typical salmon farm. These studies showed the environmental impact of occasional treatments to be negligible. Concentrations of oxytetracycline (OTC) were measured in the benthic sediments and in mussel Mytilus edulis sampled in the vicinity of an inshore salmon farm on the west coast of Ireland. Concentrations between 1.0 μg/g and 14.7 μg/g were observed in sediments within 120 m from the farm. Concentrations declined exponentially with time, reaching low levels after 32 days and reduced to traces at 66 days. The highest concentrations were observed in the top 2 cm of sediment, falling to trace levels at a depth of 10 cm. The half-life of OTC persistence in mussels was found to be approximately 2 days. Residues in unpolluted sediment beneath the cages were never present in high concentrations and were flushed out rapidly. In the presence of excessive quantities of unconsumed food pellets on the seabed and in anoxic sediment, the persistence of OTC was significantly prolonged. Monitoring the quality of the sediment could therefore provide adequate indication of any risk of accumulation of antibiotic, without the need for elaborate chemical analyses. Residues in sediment, invertebrates and salmon could account for not more than 1.3% of total input of OTC. It was concluded that the antibiotic was very rapidly dispersed in the environment and its use in salmon therapy posed no material risk to human or environmental health.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The Irish Coral Task Force and Atlantic Coral Ecosystem Study: Report on Two Deep-Water Coral Conservation Stakeholder Workshops Held in Galway in 2000 and 2002

      Grehan, A; Long, R; Deegan, B; Ó Cinneide, M (Marine Institute, 2003)
      Increasing public and media awareness of the unique nature of European deep-water corals has put the focus firmly on the need for sustainable management of European offshore living resources. The well documented destruction of deep-water corals off Norway and potentially along the entire European margin combined with extremely slow coral habitat recovery rates, has created a sense of urgency to move towards implementation of the appropriate management measures to ensure the long-term survival of this spectacular and important habitat. In the process, deep-water coral conservation has become in many ways a paradigm for a shift away from traditional sectoral driven resource management approaches, towards an inclusive integrated ecosystem approach to the management of European offshore resources. The EU Fifth Framework Programme, in an effort to increase the socio-economic impact of its R&D projects strongly encouraged the formation of scientist-stakeholder partnerships and development of a suitable research-product delivery mechanism. The major (€2.1 million) European Union funded research project: the Atlantic Coral Ecosystem Study successfully responded to these new challenges in a number of innovative ways. In particular, the establishment of an ACES project-stakeholder partnership through consultative workshops, provided a means for stakeholders to prioritise the scientific research and created a forum for rapid dissemination of scientific results. Complementary initiatives arising from these meetings, such as the formation of the ad hoc Irish Coral Task Force, provided a mechanism whereby scientific findings could be translated into policy advice for the appropriate national authorities. This report serves as a record of the consultative process undertaken during two stakeholder workshops held in Galway on 23rd June 2000 and 24th June 2002. Section A contains conclusions and summary records of the two meetings. Section B contains a series of papers presented at the workshops to provide detailed information on: cold-water coral research and conservation initiatives; fishing related issues; oil and gas related issues and conservation legislation and legal issues. The 2000 meeting was sponsored by the Atlantic Coral Ecosystem Study, while the 2002 meeting was sponsored by the Marine Institute (Ireland), as part of its support for the Irish Coral Task Force and ACES. Between the first and the second meeting, the need for scientific advice to support the designation of Special Areas of Conservation to protect corals under the EU Habitats Directive became a clear priority. Finally, it is obvious that much work remains to be done to achieve effective protection of deep-water corals and similarly threatened 'hot spots' of marine biodiversity along the European shelf and slope. It is also clear, however, that successful implementation of conservation measures will require on-going dialogue with stakeholders, and their participation in the decision making process.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Karenia mikimotoi: An Exceptional Dinoflagellate Bloom in Western Irish Waters, Summer 2005

      Silke, J.; O'Beirn, F.X.; Cronin, M. (Marine Institute, 2005)
      A protracted bloom of Karenia mikimotoi was present in summer 2005 along the northern half of the western Irish coastline. The onset of this bloom was identified in late May / early June. This event subsequently dissipated over the month of July and was succeeded by a bloom of the same species in the southwest in late July. The bloom was very intense and resulted in discolouration of seawater and foaming in coastal embayments. Major mortalities of benthic and pelagic marine organisms were observed and a complete decimation of marine faunal communities was reported and observed in several locations. Deaths of echinoderms, polychaetes and bivalve molluscs were observed in County Donegal and Mayo, while farmed shellfish and hatchery raised juvenile bivalve spat suffered significant mortalities along the Galway and Mayo coasts. Reports of dead fish and crustacea were received from Donegal, Galway, West Cork and Kerry. Karenia mikimotoi is one of the most common red tide causative dinoflagellates known in the Northeast Atlantic region, and is also common in the waters around Japan. Blooms of this species often reach concentrations of over several million cells per litre and these densities are often associated with marine fauna mortalities. Although cytotoxic polyethers have been extracted from cultures of the species, the exact mechanism of the toxic effect and resultant devastating damages yet remains unclear. It is known in the literature under several different names as the taxonomy and genetics have been studied. It is now known that previously reported names including Gyrodinium aureolum, G. cf. aureolum, G. nagasakiense and G. mikimotoi are synonymous with the current name given to the organism. The visible effects following the mortalities included noticeable quantities of dead heart urchins (Echinocardium cordata L.) and lugworms (Arenicola marina L.) deposited on beaches. Several species of wild fish were also found dead. The bloom coincided with a period of fine weather and tourists visiting the seaside were concerned about the safety of swimming in waters that were obviously harmful to marine organisms on this scale. A public awareness programme was mounted by the Marine Institute with several radio broadcasts, press releases and a website provided to give up to date pronouncements on the event. While there have been several instances of Karenia mikimotoi blooms reported in Ireland over the past 30 years, this scale of mortalities associated with the 2005 bloom were not previously observed. Recording the scale of this event was facilitated by satellite imagery while direct counts of the cells in seawater by the Marine Institute monitoring programme gave very useful information regarding the size and intensity of this event. The mortalities of marine organisms were documented from reports made by various observers and by Marine Institute field surveys.
    • 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.
    • Monitoring of Tributyl Tin Contamination in Six Marine Inlets using Biological Indicators

      Minchin, D (Marine Institute, 2003)
      Dogwhelk and periwinkle specimens were collected from six bays/estuaries in 2000, where Tributyl Tin (TBT) contamination was suspected. In four estuaries, shells of dead Pacific oysters were collected from 7 sites in the vicinity of culture installations. Observations on imposex in dogwhelks, intersex in periwinkles and shell thickness in the Pacific oysters were used to assess the degree of TBT contamination. The results showed low levels of contamination, which are unlikely to have detrimental effects to mollusc culture or fisheries in Mulroy Bay, Valentia Harbour or Tralee Bay. Thickening of oyster shells was detected in Carlingford Lough, Waterford Harbour, Cork Harbour and Fountainstown. The small degree of thickening was considered unlikely to affect marketability.
    • Monitoring of zebra mussels in the Shannon-Boyle navigation, other

      Minchin, D; Lucy, F; Sullivan, M (Marine Institute, 2002)
      The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) population has been closely monitored in Ireland following its discovery in 1997. The species has spread from lower Lough Derg, where it was first introduced, to most of the navigable areas of the Shannon and other interconnected navigable waters. This study took place in the summers of 2000 and 2001 and investigated the relative abundance and biomass of zebra mussels found in the main navigations of the Shannon and elsewhere in rivers, canals and lakes where colonisation was likely. During 2000 zebra mussels were found for the first time in Carnadoe, Kilglas and Grange Loughs on the River Shannon. In 2001, they were discovered on the Ballinasloe Navigation at Poulboy Lough and in Ballinasloe Harbour. For the first time outside of the Shannon-Boyle navigation, established populations were discovered in Garadice Lough on the Shannon-Erne Waterway and in Ringsend Basin and Tullamore Harbour on the Grand Canal. Zebra mussels continue to have their greatest densities in lakes and large reservoirs of the Shannon-Boyle navigation. A maximum biomass of 4.1kg per sq.m was recorded in Lough Key. No zebra mussel larvae or their attached stages were found in the larger lakes outside of the Shannon-Boyle and Erne Navigations. Larvae were found however, in Tullamore Harbour for the first time. In separate studies approximately two hundred adults were found in Lough Bo, Co. Sligo and less than ten specimens were found in Lough Gill, Co. Sligo. The only living population of native freshwater mussels (Anodonta spp.) presently known in the lake regions of the Shannon is in the Carnadoe Cut, between Carnadoe Lough and Kilglas Lough. This population of Anodonta spp. is fouled with zebra mussels. Freshwater mussels were also found in Garadice Lough and Assaroe Reservoir. These were also fouled with zebra mussels.
    • The Occurrence and Risk Assessment of the Pesticide Toxaphene in Fish from Irish Waters

      McHugh, B; Glynn, D; Nixon, E; McGovern, E (Marine Institute, 2003)
      The European Union project “Investigation into the monitoring, analysis and toxicity of toxaphene” (MATT), involving participants from The Netherlands, Ireland, Norway and Germany, began in 1997. Analytical methodology, concentration information and statistical interpretation of results for three indicator congeners, CHB’s 26, 50 and 62, are presented. Data from 55 samples, covering 18 different fish species, from Irish waters are documented. Concentrations were lowest in shellfish and in fish species having low lipid content and were highest in medium/high lipid species. Males from a number of fish species were shown to contain significantly higher concentrations than observed in female fish. Overall no samples were shown to exceed existing German MRL or Canadian TDI recommendations.