Pacific oysters are cultivated in bags on metal trestles on the foreshore. They are grown from juvenile or seed oysters, imported mainly from France. This method is unsuitable for native European flat oysters.
Pacific oysters are not native to Europe. The seed used in their cultivation is bred to ensure the adults cannot breed outside of controlled hatchery conditions.
Imports of seed oysters to the Lough Foyle farms are reported to the Fish Health Units of the Marine Institute in Ireland or to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland.
What is the role of the Loughs Agency?
Loughs Agency carries out an annual survey of the Lough Foyle farms to monitor their size and extent.
We have no responsibility for licensing or developing aquaculture in Lough Foyle or Carlingford.
In Lough Foyle, the farming of Pacific oysters is currently unregulated. In Carlingford Lough, production ‘north’ of the shipping channel is licensed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) in Ireland ‘south’ of the channel.
High-level discussions about jurisdictional issues are continuing between the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Loughs Agency is not involved but hopes the talks will lead to the issue of unlicensed oyster farms being addressed.
For further information about licensing or farming Pacific oysters, please contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) in Ireland and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland.