Sustainable Mariculture in Northern Irish Lough Ecosystems (SMILE)
launch at AFBI Headquarters
AFBI today announced the completion
of a unique piece of work designed to contribute to the sustainable management of mariculture in Northern
Ireland’s sea loughs.
In 2004, the Department of Agriculture
and Rural Development (DARD) commissioned the SMILE project (Sustainable Mariculture in Northern Irish
Lough Ecosystems), which was carried out by a consortium led by AFBI, including Queens University of
Belfast, the Institute of Marine Research, Portugal, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Council
for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.
Pat Toal CB, DARD Permanent Secretary accepting the SMILE project report from Mr Seán Hogan, Chair
of AFBI Board.
Mr Seán Hogan, AFBI Chairman, in handing
over of the report from the SMILE project to Mr Pat Toal CB, DARD Permanent Secretary, said “On
behalf of AFBI and our partners, I am delighted to be able to hand over this project to DARD. SMILE
will provide DARD with the models to ensure the future growth and long term sustainability of the shellfish
Mr Toal, in his acceptance speech outlined the
importance of this work in helping DARD address the sustainability of Northern Ireland’s marine fish
and shellfish resources and stated that “DARD has always recognised the importance of science to the
sustainability of Northern Ireland’s marine fish and shellfish resources. Fisheries science works best
when scientists and the fishing and aquaculture industries work closely together and DARD is pleased
to note that the SMILE project has benefited hugely from assistance given by many of the shellfish growers.
DARD will take into account the outcome of this work in considering the future development of mariculture
in Northern Ireland”.
The SMILE project team, headed by
Dr Matthew Service of AFBI, then presented the background to the work, described the scientific basis
of the models and explained some of the scenarios that were tested. They also presented the results
and conclusions of the project, outlining the importance of SMILE as a tangible example of the development
of an ecosystem approach to the management of a fishery resource.
hands-on session gave those present an opportunity to examine and use the computer models developed
during the project.