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SMILE - sustainable mariculture in northern Irish lough ecosystems: assessment of carrying capacity for environmentally sustainable shellfish culture in Carlingford Lough, Strangford Lough, Belfast Lough, Larne Lough and Lough Foyle

Ferreira, J.G.; Hawkins, A.J.S.; Monteiro, P.; Moore, H.; Edwards, A.; Goven, R.; Lourenco, P.; Mellor, A.; Nunes, J.P.; Ramos, L.; Sequeiro, A.; Strong, J.. 2007 SMILE - sustainable mariculture in northern Irish lough ecosystems: assessment of carrying capacity for environmentally sustainable shellfish culture in Carlingford Lough, Strangford Lough, Belfast Lough, Larne Lough and Lough Foyle. Institute of Marine Research. (UNSPECIFIED)

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Abstract/Summary

The assessment of environmentally sustainable carrying capacity for aquaculture in coastal areas poses a major challenge, given the range of issues that must be taken into account, the interactions between natural and social components, and the coupling between watershed and coastal zone. In 2001, The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development published the Shellfish Aquaculture Management Plan for Northern Ireland. The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development stated at the presentation: “There has been a significant growth in shellfish aquaculture in Northern Ireland over the past few years. It is important that this growth is structured and that the shellfish aquaculture industry develops in a sustainable manner and with minimal environmental impact.” Following this publication, Queen’s University Belfast and the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) produced a Phase I study of Carrying Capacity in 2003. In 2004, a consortium made up of the Institute of Marine Research – IMAR (Portugal), Plymouth Marine Laboratory – PML (U.K.) and CSIR (South Africa) was awarded a two-year contract for the Sustainable Mariculture in northern Irish Lough Ecosystems (SMILE) project, with a duration of two years, with the aim of “developing dynamic ecosystem level carrying capacity models for the five northern Irish sea loughs. In order to provide medium-term guidelines, this work needed to be placed in the context of a set of European legislative instruments in the area of water policy, which include older generation directives such as Habitats, and new and emerging ones such as the Water Framework Directive and the proposed Marine Strategy Directive. The SMILE contract was conceived as an application of know-how collected in many R&D projects, but the excellent collaboration with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB) and the Loughs Agency, together with the interest and feedback of the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) and other agencies on the Oversight Committee, provided several avenues for research. In SMILE, carrying capacity assessment can be summed up as a clear practical application of integrated coastal zone management, using water quality criteria, cultivated shellfish production and sustainability of native wild species as environmental metrics. This book provides an overview of the approach taken in SMILE, and presents the key results for the five loughs. Data were drawn from many sources, and collected into databases that form the backbone of the modelling work. Our thanks go to all who provided data and information, and especially to the people on the ground, who watched this work develop and trusted us to get on with it. We are very grateful to Anne Dorbie for her support for this work, and her faith in the team, and to Jason Holt (POL) for Irish Sea boundary conditions. We additionally wish to thank all the producers and growers who helped with growth trials and provided the use of vessels, Tom Cowan, Greg Hood and Roy Griffin from Fisheries Division, Annika Mitchell from QUB and Nuala McQuaid from CMAR. We hope managers and shellfish farmers alike in Northern Ireland will find this and the other SMILE products both useful and profitable. Europe cannot hope to compete on quantity with the emerging shellfish export markets, the added value which is required to provide growth in jobs and profits at home must come from superior product quality, branding and environmental sustainability.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
ISBN: 9789729992315
Funders/Sponsors: Institute of Marine Research
Date made live: 16 Nov 2018 11:10 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/521595

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