The Irish Native Oyster Fisheries Forum, funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, has been set up to help restore native oyster (Ostrea edulis) populations in oyster fishing areas in Ireland. Members of the newly formed Irish Native Oyster Fisheries Forum (INOF) 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, Tralee Oyster Fisheries 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. Members of Tralee Oyster Fisheries Society 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.
Patricia Daly, BIM said:
This forum has been set up to better influence policies that may affect native oyster stocks in Ireland. 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; Clarenbridge 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 meet four times a year with advisors from BIM and the Marine Institute. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) provides secretariat to the forum.
L-R: Eoin Nee (Comharchumann Sliogeisc Chonamara Teo), Dara Flaherty (Comharchumann Sliogeisc Chonamara Teo), Denis O’Shea (Tralee Oyster Fisheries Society), James Linnane (Clarenbridge Oyster Co-op), Brian O’Malley (North Mayo Oyster Development Co-Op), Martin Murphy (Achill Native Oyster Fisheries Group), Alex Blackwell (Clew Bay Oyster Co-op), Trish Daly (BIM).
L-R: Denis O’Shea (Tralee Oyster Fisheries Society), Francis King (Tralee Oyster Fisheries Society), Brian O’Malley (North Mayo Oyster Development Co-Op), Seamus Breathnach (BIM), Sean Coady (Inland Fisheries Ireland), Alex Blackwell (Clew Bay Oyster Co-op), Mary Hannan (BIM), Martin Murphy (Achill Native Oyster Fisheries Group), Trish Daly (BIM), Pete Donlon (BIM), Catherine Butler (BIM) Dara Flaherty (Comharchumann Sliogeisc Chonamara Teo), James Linnane (Clarenbridge Oyster Co-op), Eoin Nee (Comharchumann Sliogeisc Chonamara Teo).