Enhancing the survival of discards and developing hatchery technologies
Researchers at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are part of a new of €2.4 million EU project that aims to develop and enhance the sustainability of the prawn fishery. The research will focus on developing hatchery and ranching technologies, and enhancing the survival of discards. The latter is a contentious issue in ongoing EU Common Fisheries Policy negotiations.
Nephrops norvegicus, also known as ‘Dublin Bay prawn’, ‘langoustine’ or ‘scampi’ will be the specific focus of the ‘NEPHROPS’ project. It is being led by NUI Galway and the Orkney Fisheries Association, and will bring together expertise from the fishing industry, technologists and academia across Europe to explore the potential for enhancing the sustainability of inshore fisheries.
“The mortality of prawns is generally the result of poor handling and inappropriate discard protocols,” explains Dr Anne Marie Power, a Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway. As part of this project we will be developing ways of enhancing the survival of discards from fisheries.”
After capture by trawl or creel undersized prawns (often as much as 45% of the catch) may be thrown back and it is estimated that 75% of discards from trawl fishing may die.
Another aspect of the project is to develop hatchery technology suitable for use by groups of local fishermen interested in enhancing their fishery by releasing juveniles onto suitable grounds. “In order for this research to be successful, we will need to understand better what makes good grounds for prawns, how they behave when they are released and what can be done to enhance survival at the critical release stage”, said Dr Power.
The main areas of work for researchers at the Ryan Institute are the identification of suitable inshore prawn habitats, as well as mapping and tagging studies to examine movement of animals.
Growth trials will be conducted at the University’s Carna Aquaculture Research facility. The project leaders within NUI Galway are Dr Anne Marie Power and Professor Mark Johnson, who is also overall scientific leader for the NEPHROPS consortium.
Professor Johnson commented: “Nephrops is a really important fishery in Ireland due to its economic value. This is a great opportunity to work with industrial partners, especially pot fishermen, to provide more opportunities to sustainably develop the resource.” The project will also include close liaison with Dr Colm Lordan of the Marine Institute.
The University’s element of the project is worth €540,000. Other research institutions involved are University of Hull, Swansea University, Goteborg University and the Technology Institute in Norway.The research has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA Research Executive Agency http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/103402_en.html under grant agreement no. 286903.
For more information and a full list of contacts visit: www.nephrops.eu