AIE Request: Coastal Concern Alliance to Dept of Housing on Sandbank Surveys, Habitats and Designations

Note: Good summary of the issues involved by IWT is at

Habitat mapping as part of the MESH Programme; Ground truth area surveyed by Celtic Voyager


Survey Data Analysis for Hemptons Turbot Bank


This document reviews the approach of analysing multibeam bathymetric and backscatter data for habitat classification using
grab samples and video footage for groundtruthing over an area called Hamptons Turbot Banks, a series of sand waves off the north coast of Ireland.

Marine Surveys of Two Irish Sandbank cSACs


Long Bank and Holdens Bank

Ballybunnion Bank and Turbot Bank

Benthic surveys of sandbanks in the Irish Sea


Analysis of samples from the Hempton Turbot Bank

Aqua-Fact International Services Ltd was contracted by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG) to carry out the analysis of benthic samples collected in 2005 from the RV Celtic Explorer as part of the MESH sampling schedule. The samples in question were taken from the Hempton Turbot sandbank off the Co. Donegal coast.

Actions arising from Marine biogeogrpahic process

Note CCA mentioned

Conclusions Marine Biogeographic Commission meeting 2009

Internal note on prep for designation

A benthic survey of sandbank features in the Irish Sea A biological survey of the Bray, Money-weights and Lucifer Banks
July 2010

Marine sandbank designations Maps

Sandbanks summary justification 2011 (revised)

Memo: Prep work and finalising marine designations

Note to Principal Officer re Sandbank Designations

Coordinates of potential designations

Note to Minister requesting approval to designate new Marine Special Areas of Conservation and addcerta in qualifying interests to some existing sites

An Update on Marine Special Areas of Conservation around Ireland
David Lyons & Oliver Ó Cadhla

Sand bank justification document

Subtidal Benthic Investigations of the Greater Codling Bank

Renewables Areas

Scientific Unit to Des proposed change to designations

Initial observations from the Marine Institute to the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine on the notice to designate 6 Marine Sites as Special Areas of Conservation

Questions in word doc from BIM on designations

Meeting with NPWS re designation of 6 new SACs

Questions to include in the MI submission to DAFM for consideration at a meeting with DAHG

Impacts of Aquaculture on Wild Fish Stocks: Letter from Minister Eamon Ryan to Minister Charlie McConalogue

25 Jan 2022


Includes Appendix on Concerns regarding the Appropriate Assessment of aquaculture activitives in marine SACs and potential impact on Atlantic salmon, and response letter from Minister McConalogue (29 March 2022)

AIE: Salmon Farm Mortality Data (2021-2022)

AIE Internal Review

Received with thanks to Billy Smyth, Chairman, Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages

Reports to the Marine Institute of high farmed salmon mortalities on any Irish salmon farm installations between 1st January 2021 to the present day

If the answer to the above question is yes, please answer the following questions.

When and on what salmon farms did the mortalities occur?

How many mortalities occurred on each salmon farm?

How many farmed salmon were on each farm when the mortalities occurred?  

What was the reason for the mortalities?  

How and where were the mortalities disposed of?  

AIE: Salmon Farm Mortalities

Marine Institute 


Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages request the following information under Access to Information on the Environment Regulations (AIE) Aarhus Convention 2007 to 2014.

Were there any reports to the Marine Institute of high farmed salmon mortalities on any Irish salmon farm installations between 1st January 2021 to the present day?

If the answer to the above question is yes, please answer the following questions.

When and on what salmon farms did the mortalities occur? Please supply details.

How many mortalities occurred on each salmon farm? Please supply details. 

How many farmed salmon were on each farm when the mortalities occurred? Please supply details. 

What was the reason for the mortalities? Please supply details. 

How and where were the mortalities disposed of? Please supply details. 

Please reply by email as soon as possible please.

Billy Smyth

Chairman, Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages,

Email billysmyth0@aglover


The Marine Institute does not hold records of the number fish involved in each mortality event. Mortalities are reported to the Marine Institute as percentage values. This information has been released.

The Marine Institute does not hold records relating to the number of salmon held on the salmon farms at the time the mortality events occurred.

The Marine Institute does not hold any records relating to the disposal of mortalities from salmon farms.

Lehannah Pool, Beirtreach Buí Bay, Galway (Marine Institute research site)

Bertraghboy Bay, Ireland, and the location of the marine research site.

Cages and Longlines (not more than 24 structures)

Licence: maximum biomass < 100 tonnes of all species in total (annual harvest not to exceed 50 tonnes of finfish)

There are other aquaculture projects in the bay including:
• four salmon sites (inclusive of AQ176);
• three oyster sites.
• Shellfish Order – Connemara Co-Operative.

The photograph shows the cage site and the sea-based container culture (SBCC) structures. The black circle indicates the location of the experimental site in relation to the Irish West Coast

Marine Institute Board

Marine Institute

Legal basis: Marine Institute Act 1991 – S. 3
Maximum Number of Positions: 9
Gender Balance Numbers: Female (2), Male (3)
Gender Balance Percentage: Female (40%), Male (60%)

NameFirst AppointedReappointedExpiry DatePosition typeBasis of appointment
David Owens04/12/201206/02/201805/02/2023Board MemberPAS/Appointed by Minister
Donal Kelly15/04/201315/04/201814/04/2023Board MemberPAS/Appointed by Minister
Dr. Berna Grist02/12/201506/02/201805/02/2023Board MemberPAS/Appointed by Minister
John Killeen (Dr.)08/01/201408/01/201907/01/2024ChairpersonAppointed by Minister
Patricia Barker (Prof.)19/02/201319/02/201818/02/2023Board MemberPAS/ Appointed by the Minister

Phytoplankton and Algal Blooms

Phytoplankton are possibly the most important group of organisms on the planet as they generate most of the oxygen that we breath. Also, as they convert inorganic nutrients and sunlight into vegetative matter, most marine food chains depend on their presence as a primary food source.

A small proportion of species produce highly potent toxins and the monitoring of these are very important to ensure food safety.

While blooms can provide more food to organisms higher up the food chain, too much phytoplankton can also do harm. Dissolved oxygen becomes rapidly depleted as the phytoplankton die, sink to the bottom and decompose. This can result in the death of other organisms including shellfish, crabs and fish.

Photo of redtide credit: Irish Air Corps

The main groups of Phytoplankton include Diatoms, Dinoflagelates, Coccolithophorids and Micro-Flagellates. Each of these groups has distinguishing features that allow specialists to identify them to species level.

The Marine Institute Phytoplankton Monitoring Programme monitors coastal waters around Ireland for phytoplankton and algal blooms on a year round basis.

The Marine Institute monitors phytoplankton under a national programme which has been in place since the 1980s. During this period, phytoplankton scientists have developed an understanding of phytoplankton populations and dynamics around the Irish coastline.

Sample HAB Bulletin


The PRIMROSE project will develop a web-portal system providing a joint front end for transnational forecasts of harmful events for the aquaculture sector. In addition to the HAB forecasting, PRIMROSE will investigate forecasts models for microbial contamination. Reporting procedures will be standardised, and partly automated for an expert evaluator to have information available to make an accurate forecast.

The Marine Institute are the project lead in PRIMROSE. This project follows on from the successful ASIMUTH project, which delivers weekly HAB’s forecast bulletins to the Irish aquaculture industry.

Further information on the PRIMROSE project is available at


ALERTOX-NET aims to develop a technology driven applied approach to make industries aware of emerging toxin issues stemming from potential environmental change, in order to ensure the delivery of better, safer seafood-products during the occurrence of naturally occurring toxicity in coastal waters.

The Marine Institute are a project partner in ALERTOX-NET

View the ALERTOX-NET website at


Enhanced biorefining methods for the production of marine biotoxins and microalgae fish feed.

MARBioFEED is a three year project supported by the First Call for Transnational Research Projects within the Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET, involving partners from Ireland (Marine Institute), Norway (Norwegian Veterinary Institute), Spain (Spanish Oceanographic Institute and Neoalgae), and Canada (National Research Council).

Project background and aims:

The quality assurance of fish and shellfish for human consumption is of paramount importance in ensuring the marketability of products from this expanding and predominantly rural sector. The global demand for fish is increasing due to an expanding population and the awareness that fish is a healthy food source. With increased pressure on land-based agriculture due to climate change, the potential for sustainable marine sourced food is growing. The industry and regulators rely heavily on analytical reference materials to guarantee safety for human health. This project will involve large-scale algal biotechnology for the production of value added products (marine biotoxin reference materials and fish feed).

Further information on the MARBioFEED project is available at and