Ireland's first Marine Finfish Hatchery established

Monday, 28 July 2003

The first custom-built facility to produce farmed marine finfish is being established in NUI Galway's MRI Laboratories in Carna, Connemara. With support from Údarás na Gaeltachta, the €600,000 facility will commence operation in the autumn (2003) with the pilot commercial scale production of juvenile cod in a research project funded by the Marine Institute.

Wild cod stocks have been severely depleted in recent years resulting in the imposition of quotas and conservation measures. The combined landings of wild cod in the waters off Ireland and UK have plummeted from an average of 75,000 tonnes per annum to less than 25,000 tonnes of cod since the mid 1990s.

"Cod is perhaps the best known species of white fish in the North Atlantic with a readymade market of millions of consumers on both sides of the Atlantic", according to Declan Clarke, Development Manager at NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute. "There is a strong market opportunity for farmed cod in Ireland and other European countries. Technology developed for cod will also be readily transferable to other white fish species, including haddock, hake and halibut," he said.

Research at the MRI Laboratories will support emerging commercial development in terms of Ireland's marine finfish brood stock programmes, live feed production and fish health.

Micheál Corduff, Marine Project Executive, Údarás na Gaeltachta said, " This is a very exciting project with tremendous potential for sustainable development, commercial success, and job creation."

This project is part of an inter-agency initiative to develop new species and technologies, which involves the Marine Institute, NUI Galway, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Department of the Marine.

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