Wales-Ireland co-operation sees launch of BlueFish Project

Researchers, industry representatives and commercial producers from both sides of the Irish Sea congregated in Bangor University on Tuesday to officially launch the BlueFish Project, a collaboration between Wales and Ireland that will examine the effect of climate change on fish and shellfish sustainability in the Irish Sea.

The project is backed by €5.5m of EU funds through the Ireland-Wales Co-operation Programme.  Over the next three years, researchers at Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences, working in partnership with colleagues at Aberystwyth and Swansea and with University College Cork, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Marine Institute in Ireland, will seek to improve environmental protection and management of commercial fish, shellfish, and aquaculture. In doing so, the project will support fisheries businesses to adapt to environmental changes and commercial opportunities in the Irish Sea.

Both the Welsh and Irish Governments have highlighted the fishing and aquaculture sectors in the Irish Sea as being economically and socially important to both nations. The fishing and aquaculture sector alone is worth millions of pounds to the Irish and Welsh economies and supports large numbers of jobs around the respective coasts. By assessing and sharing knowledge with the various project partners, BlueFish will be a vital tool for SMEs and coastal communities in their approach to commercial fishing in the future.

Speaking at the launch, Bangor University researcher and Operations Director for the BlueFish project, Dr Shelagh Malham said:

“The combination of research between academic partners and collaboration with industry partners will ensure these vital industries receive the information and support they need to be more resilient to the changes the industry is facing, and will continue to face in coming years, and to react to opportunities.”

Those attending the launch were welcomed to Marine Centre Wales by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor John G. Hughes, who highlighted the impact of cross-border collaboration between Wales and Ireland:

“Both Wales and Ireland have coastal communities that are largely dependent on the marine sector and the BlueFish Project, underpinned by our research expertise, will have real and tangible impact on the future of these communities.”

Publication date: 28 September 2017