The aquaculture industry is an important economic activity on all coasts of Ireland.
The aquaculture industry produces a variety of shellfish as well as salmon and
trout. A significant proportion of the activity occurs within, or in proximity to, Natura
2000 sites which are designated areas under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.
These sites have a special status in that the features (habitats and species) for
which they are designated must, in the long term, not be allowed to deteriorate.
They are not closed areas or areas which fisheries and aquaculture need explicitly
to be prohibited. Rather the activity of this sector must be planned in order that the
risk they pose to the designated environmental features can be appropriately
assessed and the scale and type of activity can be regulated such that the
impacts to the environment in the long term are mitigated.
On foot of a full assessment of oyster culture using bags and trestles in intertidal
areas in Dungarvan Harbour SPA , it was concluded that the negative impact of
aquaculture on the distribution of some bird species could not be discounted.
Specifically, in the region of Whitehouse Bank, the impact of structures on the
distribution on two bird species (Grey Plover and Dunlin) on the shore was
considered significant. Movement up and down the shore appeared to be
restricted by the recent addition of structures. In order to mitigate the impact of the
structures, it was proposed that a 400m wide corridor (clear of all structures and
use by operators – i.e. an exclusion zone) be created through the shore (from
high-water to low-water) in order facilitate bird movement (and site use)
throughout a full tidal cycle.
In light of this, suppliers responding to the competition are invited to submit
proposals to carry out monitoring of the effects of this mitigation measure on
specific bird species as one lot.