Oyster farmers gather in Galway12 March, 2010 –
An IFA Aquaculture meeting of oyster farmers from every corner of the coast was held in the Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore, Galway today (Friday) to discuss health, environment and trade issues. The meeting was chaired by John Evans of the Marine Institute and is a follow up to a national growers meeting held in September 2009 hosted by IFA.
The meeting was called primarily to review the preliminary results of a major study carried out over the last 6 months to examine Irish oyster farms who had experienced mortalities in their stocks during the summer of 2009.
The study, carried out by the Marine Institutes Fish Health Unit with BIM, is to try and find practical solutions to the problem which will avoid similar mortalities later this year. French producers who have trade and production interests in Ireland were also in attendance to give information of similar experiences in France.
The 2009 mortalities have led the European Commission to produce a new regulation aimed at protecting unaffected areas by way of a surveillance programme and listed control areas, as well as potential restrictions on trade in live oysters.
The regulation is due to be implemented later in March and growers heard how the Marine Institute intends to operate the new law in Ireland, which lasts until the end of December.
IFA Aquaculture Executive Secretary, Richie Flynn, who opened the meeting, said, Oyster production is an integral part of the Irish seafood business and generates 15 million in trade every year. Over 100 oyster farms around the coast produce around 8,000 tonnes per annum. The health and trade issues outlined today are key to the survival and development of the sector and IFA will work closely with the Marine Institute and BIM to ensure the future sustainability of oyster production in Ireland.