Aberystwyth scientists contribute to €7m EU investment in Wales and Ireland’s fisheries industry
Seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) one of the species that will be studied by the project. The Bluefish operation will deploy the Irish research vessel Celtic Voyager and the Welsh research vessel Prince Madog in joint cross-border survey and sampling cruises.
09 March 2017
Scientists at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) will play their part in research that has secured more than €7m of EU funds.
This funding is to be invested in science and technology projects to help protect marine life whilst developing the fisheries and aquaculture industries in Wales and Ireland, and helping to strengthen economic links and cross-border collaboration between the two countries.
The funding will support a scientific investigation of the opportunities and risks posed by climate change in the Irish Sea and the deployment of technology to reduce energy costs and help businesses develop new products and processes.
Aberystwyth University’s IBERS scientists will be working on the €5.5m Bluefish project, led by Bangor University and working with partners Marine Institute, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, University College Cork, and Swansea University.
Professor Paul Shaw of IBERS said: “There has been limited investigation in the Irish Sea area directed at future impact of climate change on local fisheries and aquaculture, and more knowledge is required to provide better advice to fishers and policy makers to aid in building climate-resilient businesses that are sustainable and conserve marine biodiversity. Marine fisheries and aquaculture are worth tens of millions of pounds to the Irish and Welsh economies, and supports large numbers of jobs on both coasts. ”
The IBERS team, led by Prof Paul Shaw alongside Dr Joe Ironside, Dr Jim Provan and Dr Niall McKeown, will lead the Bluefish activities investigating genetic biodiversity of fish and shellfish, and modelling potential changes in species distributions across the Irish Sea.
The project will employ two postdoctoral researchers, and will link into ongoing research in IBERS into the diversity, evolution and dynamics of fished species and the potential future effects of climate change on oceans.
The project will also interact with ongoing fisheries management work being done in IBERS by Prof Shaw in collaboration with Welsh Government Maritime & Fisheries Division and with Natural Resources Wales.
The aim of the Bluefish operation is to carry out baseline studies to reduce knowledge gaps in marine ecosystem understanding and climate impacts, and to transfer to local communities and other stakeholders that knowledge, transnational expertise and best practice with respect to the management of commercial fish, shellfish and aquaculture under a context of climate change.
The fishing and aquaculture sectors operating in the Irish Sea have been highlighted by the Welsh and Irish governments as economically and socially important, and both countries have recognised the need to increase both activities.
The Bluefish project is supported by €5.5m EU funds through the EU’s Ireland-Wales co-operation programme. More information about the programme can be found at www.irelandwales.eu.