Forum established to help restore native oyster stocks in Ireland

The Tralee Oyster Fisheries Society in Fenit, Co. Kerry

Using methods learned in France last year, the Irish Native Oyster Fisheries Forum is working on restoring Ireland´s native oyster population.

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23 July 2019 | 0

Following a visit to France last year to learn techniques for oyster protection and restoration, a new forum has been established to help restore Ireland´s native oyster populations.

The Irish Native Oyster Fisheries Forum (INOF), funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, will concentrate on native oyster (Ostrea edulis) populations in oyster fishing areas in Ireland. Members of the newly formed group visited Tralee Oyster Fisheries Society in Fenit, Co. Kerry in April to see the results of the organisation’s stock enhancement programme.

Earlier this year, the Tralee society, under the management of Denis O’Shea, invested in a purpose-built barge to deploy coupelles or spat collectors in large frames during summer months. Native oyster juveniles are then stripped from the collectors and held in a designated nursery area until they are big enough to resist predation when restocked into the fishery.

Tralee members visited France last year to learn the techniques surrounding this method of spat collection. They are now transferring their knowledge to forum members who hope to adopt similar technologies within their own Fisheries in the future.

“This forum has been set up to better influence policies that may affect native oyster stocks in Ireland, said Patricia Daly of Bord Iascaigh Mhara ( BIM). “Native oyster fisheries remain of high environmental and socio-economic importance to fishing communities in Ireland. This forum is helping native oyster co-ops and development to have their voice heard.”

The Irish Native Oyster Fisheries Forum includes two representatives from the following native oyster fisheries groups; Tralee Oyster Fisheries Society; Clarinbridge Oyster Co Op; Comharchumann Sliogeisc Chonamara; Clew Bay Oyster Co Op; Achill Native Oyster Fishermen’s Group; North Mayo Oyster Development Co-op and Lough Swilly Wild Oyster Society Ltd. The forum meets four times a year with advisors from BIM and the Marine Institute. Bord Iascaigh Mhara ( BIM) provides secretariat to the forum.



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