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 Bannow Bay Special Protection Area , it was concluded that disturbance from aquaculture activities on the distribution of some bird species could not be fully discounted. On this basis, a monitoring programme is required to fully determine the current and ongoing status of shorebird species in the SPA, in light of current licencing decisions.
In light of this, suppliers responding to the competition are invited to submit proposals to carry out monitoring of shorebirds.
A full technical description is available in the attached Invitation to Tender document.