Irish Sea stakeholders move to protect shellfish industry
A project has been launched to safeguard the Irish Sea's valuable shellfish industry, including cockles, mussels and edible crab, estimated to be worth £54 million (€63 million/$79.3 million) annually.
The Susfish project will involve academics in Ireland and Wales working 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). Dr Shelagh Malham of Bangor University is leading the partnership from Aberystwyth and Swansea Universities in Wales and University College Cork in Ireland in the £.2.5 million (€2.9 million/$3.7 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.
This 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.
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