BIM has focused on the modernisation and restructuring of the Irish fishing fleet to improve safety and working conditions for fishermen. BIM has developed environmentally-friendly fishing methods such as square mesh panels to release juvenile fish and acoustic devices to deter dolphins from accidentally entering tuna nets.
BIM also supports the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry that produces farmed fish and shellfish. BIM has developed environmental initiatives such as CLAMS (Co-ordinated Local Aquaculture Management Systems), a system to encourage public consultation on local aquaculture and ECOPACT, designed to encourage adoption of Environmental Management Systems within the aquaculture sector.
BIM’s marketing strategy promotes the consumption of quality Irish seafood products at home and abroad. It achieves this by offering commercially relevant services to the industry at all stages from vessel or fish farm to fork. The services include financial support and providing key product and market information through BIM’s overseas offices. The Seafood Development Centre (SDC) provides consultancy advice on seafood product innovation and food related legislation.
BIM’s training centres are based in Greencastle and Castletownbere and are supported by two mobile Coastal Training Units. The aim is to develop a knowledge - based Irish seafood industry and provide essential skills and safety training to all sectors. Courses are available to new entrants or those already engaged in the industry.
For more information about BIM please log on to www.bim.ie.
Aquaculture, the husbandry of animals and plants in aquatic environments, is also an important industry. Ireland has an abundance of aquatic environments suitable for aquaculture ranging from its extensive and varied coastline, to its abundant inland waterways.
The maximum sustainable yield from a fishery occurs when the rate of reproduction of the fish is at a maximum. This occurs at half the carrying capacity of the fishery. A fish stock can be compared to an investment fund. If interest is withdrawn from it faster than it accumulates then the fund declines. Several fish stocks in the sea areas around Ireland are overfished.
With an estimated 80% of species in EU waters being overfished it is essential that our fisheries work in a sustainable manner to ensure that our marine resources are kept in good health for future generations. In order to do this a detailed understanding of marine ecology is required.