The Loughs Agency has a long history of utilising science in the management of the natural resources of the Foyle and Carlingford areas and has been at the forefront in investigating novel techniques and their practical application in management. An example of this is the successful partnership with our scientific advisors from the Aquatic Food and Bio-sciences Institute (AFBI) and the Marine Institute in developing and using cutting edge genetics to manage wild salmon populations.
With the agency’s increase in responsibilities there is an even greater need to produce such high quality information to back up management decisions and policy formation. Therefore, in partnership with colleagues from the University of Glasgow and Queens University Belfast the agency as Lead Partner applied for funding to INTERREG IV A under Priority 2 Co-operation for a more sustainable cross-border region. The European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Progammes Body (SEUPB) has provided funding of over £6 million to establish a new cross-border project (IBIS – Integrated Aquatic Resource Management Between Ireland, N Ireland and Scotland) that will help to protect aquatic resources across Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.
The Project aims to deliver 70 years of applied research through doctoral and masters projects, 16 Continuing Professional Development courses and 12 Knowledge Transfer workshops between now and June 2015. This will ensure that the project leaves a legacy of expertise in the sustainable management of aquatic resources in the three jurisdictions. Research, education and training will be provided at The Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (University of Glasgow) SCENE on Loch Lomond and at the Marine Laboratory in Portaferry (Queen’s University).
IBIS has established an Advisory Group which comprises the main governmental and non-governmental environmental agencies in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. This group will ensure that all works undertaken address the needs of stakeholders and complement those ongoing or planned by other organisations.
The ethos of IBIS is to aid economic development in an environmentally sustainable manner within the INTERREG IVA programme area through evidence-based management of aquatic resources. The data generated will enter the public domain through the statutory agencies, and will be made available to stakeholders through Knowledge Transfer workshops.