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Tel: +44 (0) 28 7134 2100

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Co Louth,
Rep. of Ireland

Tel: +353 (0) 42 938 3888

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Shellfish Stock Assessments

The native oyster fishery in Lough Foyle is one of the last remaining large oyster fisheries of its kind in Europe.

A disease called “Bonamiosis” caused by a microscopic blood parasite, resulted in a Europe wide wipe out of native oysters in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The native oysters caught in the wild by fishermen in Lough Foyle are sold to many European countries including as France and Spain.

The Agency produces stock assessments annually of the native oyster population. The oyster beds are surveyed by using shellfish dredges and the numbers of oysters are counted to allow the Agency to assess the stock structure and size.

This information informs the management decisions made by the Agency for the regulation of oyster fishing activity. The reports from these surveys are published annually by the Agency on its website.

Wild mussel stocks form the basis for the bottom culture mussel aquaculture industry in Foyle and Carlingford. The mussel farmers rely on wild seed (juvenile mussels) to settle, each year, on the seabed. Mussels are are caught by dredging and taken to the mussel farms for on-growing to a marketable size.

The Agency monitors the seabed in Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough for the presence of these juvenile seed mussels each year and produces a stock assessment on these areas when any seed mussels are discovered.