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Major conference on Irish Sea Sustainability

A major conference on fisheries management in the Irish Sea has taken place bringing together experts and academics from Wales, Ireland and Europe.

The future sustainability of shellfish stocks and the possible impacts of climate change were amongst the issues discussed at the 4SeaConference held at the Welsh Government office in Llandudno Junction and made possible through the EU’s Ireland Wales Cross Border programme. 

The conference brought together science, industry and other users of the Irish Sea to discuss adaptation and mitigation guidelines for future management and sustainable use of the Irish Sea.  The results of the workshops held will help to inform future policies on the Irish Sea.

Minister for Natural Resources & Food, Alun Davies said:

“The immense range and depth of background expertise that has been brought together at this event contribute to the development of practical strategies for the economic and environmental sustainability of this important shared resource. The contributions will be critical for future legislation, policy and management of the Irish Sea.”

Speakers at the conference included:

•Mr Ian Shepherd – European Commission

•Mr Geoffrey O’Sullivan, Irish Marine Institute

•Dr Michael Bell, Heriot-Watt University

•Dr Simon Neill, Bangor University

•Professor Andrew Rowley, Swansea University

•Dr Matthew Longshaw, Fisheries & Aquaculture Scientific Centre

•Dr Sarah Culloty, University College Cork

The conference was organised by SUSFISH, a three year co-operation project, which has focussed on the sustainability of the Irish Sea.

It is funded through the Ireland Wales Cross Border programme, managed by the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly (SERA) in Ireland in partnership with the Welsh Government. The programme is supporting a total of 41 projects and is currently backed with some £40m from the European Regional Development Fund to develop collaborative activities to boost economic growth and skills, as well as protect the environment, on both sides of the Irish Sea.

The SUSFISH project brings together the Universities of Bangor, Aberystwyth, Cork and Swansea and incorporates experts from a wide range of disciplines.

Dr Shelagh Malham, Project Director at Bangor University said:

“The Territorial Cooperation Ireland Wales programme in supporting the SUSFISH project has demonstrated the importance of working holistically across the Irish Sea impacted by a common problem of climate change.  Results from the project indicate that climate change is predicted to alter ocean currents and where shellfish larvae are transported to. Altered temperature and acidification appear to have low level impacts on organisms and their diseases potentially impacting on the economic potential of the Irish Sea.  The conference will aid in forming guidelines for the future management so as to ensure environment and economic sustainability of the Irish Sea.”

Publication date: 25 March 2013