Novel Irish Fish Breeding Programme Reaches Milestone

Monday, 5 January 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) The first milestone has been reached in a new fish breeding research project with the transfer to sea off the west coast of over 20,000 juvenile cod. The project, led by NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute, has placed the specially bred juvenile cod into cages in the Trosc Teo. fish farm in Connemara, Co. Galway. The fish, bred from a specific Irish strain, will be further reared to reach market size. These are the first juvenile cod stocks produced under the research project which is called EIRCOD and funded by the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan. The project came about in response to declining wild catches, caution over exploitation and depletion of fish stocks, and also the need to diversify the Irish aquaculture industry. The EIRCOD initiative's overall objective is to design, establish and operate a cod broodstock and breeding programme which is customised for the Irish environment and underpins the native fish farming industry. According to Dr Richard Fitzgerald, Senior Scientist with the EIRCOD project at the Martin Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, the release of the fish is a significant step: "This is the first time a native strain of cod has been bred and released in these numbers in Ireland. While similar concepts are exploited with cod in Norway, Canada and Iceland, this is the first occasion where a national breeding programme has been employed in this country. It represents a significant step forward and a major support for the Irish fish farming industry". The juvenile cod came from eggs collected from the Celtic Sea, off the South coast, and then hatched and further reared at the Martin Ryan Institute's facilities in Connemara, Co. Galway. The parentage of these fish is known and the growth performance of the different groups will be monitored up to market size with the better performing groups being selected for use in future breeding activities. Dr Fitzgerald added: "What we are doing, much as we do in cattle or sheep farming, is breeding the best stock we can. In this case, we are drawing on the genetic reservoir of local cod populations that are most suited to our coastal conditions. The objective is that these fish, when market size, will have been more disease resistant and have grown rapidly to market size". For the past four years, MRI Carna has been the major performer in Ireland in this area and has conducted a programme of applied research to develop a national capacity to produce and rear fish. John Kavanagh, Director of the Ignite Technology Transfer Office at NUI Galway, says the technologies developed by MRI have huge potential: "What we have seen at the Martin Ryan Institute is the rearing of ova through the larval phase, to juvenile fish. The associated hatchery skills and specialist technologies have the potential for a new industry in Ireland. This is enabling technology that can be applied to other fish species leading to complementary seasonality and greater choice in the marketplace. There is a significant business opportunity in establishing a company to rear marine juvenile fish for the commercial sector". The EIRCOD project is led by NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute in Carna, Co. Galway with partners UCC, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Irish Seafood Producers Group and Dr Ashie Norris. The project builds on work carried out by the Martin Ryan Institute and Trosc Teo. over the past four years with the assistance of the relevant state agencies Údarás na Gaeltachta, Marine Institute, and BIM.
Éacht Suntasach Bainte Amach ag Clár Nuálach Síolraithe Éisc in Éirinn
(View in English) Éacht suntasach a bhaineann leis an tionscadal taighde nua síolraithe éisc seo is ea go bhfuil breis is 20,000 trosc óg scaoilte amach san fharraige ar chósta an iarthair. Is í Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain in OÉ Gaillimh atá i mbun an tionscadail seo agus tá an trosc óg atá síolraithe go speisialta á stóráil i gcaighin i bhfeirm éisc Trosc Teo. i gConamara, Co. na Gaillimhe. Beathófar na héisc seo, atá síolraithe as tréithchineál sonrach Éireannach, go dtí go mbeidh siad oiriúnach don mhargadh. Is é seo an chéad stoc de throsc óg tairgthe faoin tionscadal taighde ar a dtugtar EIRCOD, tionscadal atá á mhaoiniú ag Foras na Mara agus a áirítear mar Fhochlár Taighde Mara den Phlean Forbartha Náisiúnta. Forbraíodh an tionscadal seo le dul i ngleic leis an laghdú a bhí le sonrú sa líon gabhálacha, imní maidir le róshaothrú agus ídiú stoc éisc, le cois a chinntiú go gcruthaítear éagsúlacht i dtionscadal dobharshaothraithe na hÉireann. Is é príomhaidhm thionscnamh EIRCOD stoc troisc agus clár síolraithe a dhearadh, a bhunú agus a fheidhmiú - clár a oireann d Éirinn agus a thacaíonn leis an tionscal dúchasach feirmeoireachta éisc. Dar leis an Dr Richard Fitzgerald, Eolaí Sinsearach le tionscadal EIRCOD in Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain, OÉ Gaillimh, gur céim shuntasach chun cinn é go bhfuil na héisc seo scaoilte chun farraige: "Is é seo an chéad uair riamh a bhfuil tréithchineál dúchasach troisc síolraithe agus a bhfuil an oiread sin éisc scaoilte chun farraige in Éirinn. Cé go bhfuil coincheapa cosúla á gcur i bhfeidhm le trosc san Iorua, i gCeanada agus san Íoslainn is é seo an chéad uair riamh a bhfuil clár síolraithe náisiúnta curtha i bhfeidhm sa tír seo. Is cinnte gur céim shuntasach chun cinn atá ann mar aon le léargas ar an tacaíocht atáthar sásta a thabhairt do thionscadal feirmeoireachta éisc na hÉireann". Tháinig an trosc óg ó uibheacha a bailíodh ón Muir Cheilteach, amach ó chósta an Deiscirt, agus ansin goradh agus beathaíodh na huibheacha in áiseanna Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain i gConamara, Co. na Gaillimhe. Tá tuismíocht na n-iasc seo ar eolas agus déanfar comparáid idir fás na ngrúpaí difriúla go dtí go mbeidh siad feiliúnach don mhargadh agus na grúpaí a bhfuil ag éirí go maith leo agus atá á roghnú le húsáid i ngníomhaíochtaí síolraithe a bheidh ar bun amach anseo. Chomh maith leis sin dúirt an Dr Fitzgerald: "Go bunúsach is éard atá ar bun againn, díreach mar a dhéanaimid i gcás feirmeoireachta eallaigh nó caorach, an stoc is fearr agus is féidir linn a shíolrú. Sa chás áirithe seo, tá leas á bhaint againn as an daonra áitiúil troisc - na troisc is fearr a oireann dár gcoinníollacha cósta. Is é cuspóir na hoibre seo go mbeidh na héisc seo, nuair a bheidh siad feiliúnach don mhargadh, frithsheasmhach in aghaidh galair agus feiliúnach don mhargadh in achar gearr ama". Le ceithre bliana anuas, bhí MRI Carna ar thús cadhnaíochta in Éirinn sa réimse seo agus tá clár taighde fheidhmigh curtha i bhfeidhm ar mhaithe leis an acmhainn náisiúnta chun éisc a thairgeadh agus a bheathú a fhorbairt. Deir John Kavanagh, Stiúrthóir Oifig um Aistriú Teicneolaíochta Ignite in OÉ Gaillimh go mbaineann féidearthacht iontach leis na teicneolaíochtaí atá forbartha ag MRI Carna: "Is éard a tharla in Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain gur tógadh ubháin tríd an bpas larbhach go dtí gur foirmíodh éisc óga. D'fhéadfaí leas a bhaint as na scileanna gorlainne agus na teicneolaíochtaí speisialta seo chun tionscal nua a chruthú in Éirinn. Teicneolaíocht chumasúcháin atá anseo a d'fhéadfaí a úsáid le speicis éisc eile d fhonn séasúracht chomhlántach agus rogha níos fearr a chruthú san áit mhargaidh. Tá deis shuntasach gnó ann cuideachta a bhunú chun éisc óga mara a thógáil don earnáil tráchtála". Is é Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain, OÉ Gaillimh, atá lonnaithe i gCarna, Co. na Gaillimhe i gcomhar leis na comhpháirtithe seo a leanas atá páirteach i dtionscadal EIRCOD - Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Grúpa Táirgeoirí Bia Mara na hÉireann agus an Dr Ashie Norris. Tá an tionscadal seo ag cur le hobair atá curtha i gcrích ag Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain agus Trosc Teo. le ceithre bliana anuas, obair a rinneadh le cabhair ó na gníomhaireachtaí stáit ábhartha, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Foras na Mara agus Bord Iascaigh Mhara.
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