Case study 1 - Enabling Sustainability:
Wild capture fisheries provide livelihoods to about 40 million people worldwide. Yet the status of the majority of fished populations, particularly those in developing countries, remains unknown. GMIT’s expertise in population ecology, experimental design, statistical modelling and high-performance computing, contributed to an inter-disciplinary response to this challenge. In collaboration with Conservation International, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and an international expert working group, the MFRC developed and assessed the performance of new and existing methods for assessing fisheries populations where limited data exist. The results indicate the strengths and weaknesses of particular fisheries assessment methods. They will contribute to the methodology implemented for the FAO’s State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture reports. FAO’s annual reports provide policy makers, resource users and all involved in the fisheries industries with an objective account of the global and regional status of wild-caught fisheries.
Case study 2 - Conserving Biodiversity:
MFRC researchers, funded by National and EU agencies, worked in collaboration with the Marine Institute and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to understand the complex interactions between predators and their prey in the Celtic Sea. Such work informs the management of fisheries and protected species. Within this vast discipline MFRC scientists apply their internationally recognised expertise in bio-acoustics to monitor underwater noise for the population assessment. Noise caused by human activities is now recognised as a pollutant in the marine environment. Noise from seismic surveys, sonar, pile-driving, acoustic deterrents and the use of explosives each effect marine life. These effects are of growing concern to scientists, legislators and the public. MFRC scientists, funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, have assessed and monitored ocean noise in Irish waters. The MFRC’s research has quantified seismic activity within Irish waters highlighting particular areas with a greater frequency of seismic exploration and seismic intensity. The research has delivered a national obligation of Ireland’s commitment to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
Case study 3 - Improving Productivity:
The Clare based company SeaVest Ltd specialises in exporting live shellfish to lucrative markets in China and Japan. Optimising the survival of live shellfish exported to Asia is a critical commercial imperative for companies in this industry sector. Ongoing access to these markets required improved transport chains, overcoming previously high rates of mortality associated with shipping and re-tanking shellfish. The MFRC works closely with State and semi-State agencies, other Higher Education Institutes and industrial stakeholders like SeaVest to transfer, develop and commercialise novel products, methods and services to optimise and modernise the seafood industry. GMIT’s particular expertise in shellfish physiology and its excellent sea water holding facilities provided the research platform for SeaVest to investigate their problem. Working collaboratively with SeaVest GMIT’s scientists identified several different stressors associated with handling-induced mortality. This allowed GMIT scientists to design improved re-tanking systems that overcame the stress related to re-tanking. GMIT was able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the improved re-tanking systems on a scale of relevance to the company’s operations. Use of the enhanced re-tanking systems has enabled SeaVest to secure access to its target export markets with minimal re-tanking mortality. GMIT’s collaboration with SeaVest has facilitated the company’s business growth: Increased export quantities have resulted in improved profitability.