The Susfish project will be a collaborative effort amongst several Welsh and Irish universities. (Photo: Susfish/ FIS)
Irish Sea project to safeguard shellfish industry
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Friday, May 14, 2010, 21:40 (GMT + 9)
A project protecting the Irish Sea's profitable shellfish industry, including cockles, mussels and crab, estimated to be worth EUR 63 million annually, has been launched.
The Susfish project will involve academics in Ireland and Wales collaborating together to produce guidelines for future fisheries management, ensuring sustainable development of the shellfish industry in Ireland and Wales for the next 50 to 100 years.
The project has been awarded funding from the Ireland Wales Cross Border Territorial Cooperation Programme (Interreg 4A). Shelagh Malham of Bangor University is leading the partnership from Aberystwyth and Swansea Universities in Wales and University College Cork in Ireland in the EUR 2.9 million project.
"Climate change is a very real threat to the Irish Sea's shellfish. Increased incidences of disease and death in marine organisms have been linked to climatic alterations and the results of human activity. Addressing the changing climate is at the forefront of global and local concern especially to industries that rely on marine resources," said Malham.
Shellfish are one of its most abundant and diverse groups in the Irish Sea. However there are concerns about the future of the industry.
Increased temperature, disease, ocean acidification and invasive species are potential threats faced by shell-fishing communities.
The project will identify adaptation and mitigation measures to the impacts of climate change and produce guidelines for the future fisheries management for the area.
Susfish will identify the effects that climate change will have on shellfish stocks using a suite of techniques including oceanographic models linked to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climatic data, historic and current data collation, experimental research and the use of economic assessments to identify economic benefit and sustainable development for the region.
By Denise Recalde