Bangor University (BU) and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) will bring together the Irish and Welsh shellfish sector to form a group (or cluster) with the aim of growing the shellfish sector by focusing on a study of juvenile shellfish settlement.
This pilot phase of the project will include a web portal for the ISPP. The overall concept of the portal will be to give industry access to the best science available in this field. This tool will be developed very closely with Industry, government and non-government organisations and regulators, via the shellfish cluster and will include information related to consents and licenses of seed collection and relaying.
The aim is to ensure that the final project evaluation is successful and leads on to a larger project - The Irish Sea Portal.
There are 5 workpackages covering the following:
WP 1 Management ISPP – Led by BU
WP 2 SME engagement and stakeholders – Led by BIM
WP 3 Recording and determining economic benefit against the output indicators – Led by BU
WP 4 Larval monitoring of shellfish seed and the formation of the web-based tool for the shellfish
industry – co-led by BU and BIM
WP 5 Evaluation of the ISPP - Led by BU
Breakdown of Workpackage 4
A. Modelling of shellfish larval movement in the Irish and Celtic Seas to ascertain their potential settlement areas. Led by BU
This activity will build upon previous work under SUSFISH and build state-of-the-art, fully validated, high-resolution ocean models. The models will cover a range of spatial and temporal scales. Cohorts of particles will be transported under realistic oceanographic and behavioral conditions to likely sink regions. All models will feed vital decision support information such as where to sample larvae and where to potentially place seed collectors. Information will also be used to inform the GIS web-based and mobile App tools.
B. Monitoring of the shellfish larvae to determine spawning patterns. Co-led by BU and BIM
This activity will involve monitoring shellfish larvae with a view to determining the spawning and settlement patterns. Following spawning events, larval samples will be taken at selected locations to assess both visually and via molecular techniques the number of any species present in the water column and the amount of different species present at the time of sampling. Sampling will be undertaken using plankton nets and where possible from shore based locations or using industry vessels. Information will be used to aid in validating the models and will give some information on sustainability.
C. Deployment of seed collectors and assessment of the resilience of seed. Led by BIM
This activity will trial different seed collectors placed at selected locations in the cross border region and will be driven by historical knowledge or via outputs from the 3D models. Seed collectors will be monitored and assessed for abundance of any particular species and assessment of other species present at the same time. Seed collection studies will look into the various designs of collectors. The monitoring of different substrates where feasible and of different settlements of seed. This activity will undertake some limited genetic studies to assess different species present on the seed collectors and whether there are any genetic differences between stocks in Ireland and Wales. Results from this activity would link to 4d with assessment of sustainability and 4e, the web-tool.
4d. Assessment of the sustainability of shellfish. Led by BU
This activity will provide the baseline for further studies. Through information gathered in relation to larvae and seed as well as knowledge of mussel areas it may be possible to assess species biomass with in the Irish Sea, origin of seed and possibly any genetic differences in species between Ireland and Wales. This will be assessed at a very basic level and will include some factor to take into account mortality on settlement and on potential relaying. Importantly, this activity will also undertake to compare the differences between Ireland and Wales in larval monitoring and seed settlement and consent to collect seed. The main findings from this activity will be fed in to the web-based tool, activity 4e to aid in helping to inform the optimum locations for fishing for seed