When is a smartphone a key tool for Irish fishermen?

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We all have at least one app on our smartphone that just makes your day to day life that much easier, but what would that be when you spend your days trawling for fish?

The creation of a smartphone app to help fishermen target areas where they can catch fish for which they have quota and to avoid fish for which they don’t, is just one of the innovations being developed by researchers at Galway’s Marine Institute.

It, along with numerous other innovations, were presented at the Marine Institute’s Research Symposium last Thursday at its Oranmore headquarters.

The research, presented by Dr Julia Calderwood, is part of the EU-funded DiscardLess project, helping to end the discarding of unwanted, non-quota fish by fishermen.

More than 70 researchers took part in the recent symposium, providing a short overview of their work to enable them all to brainstorm, share ideas, and help push projects forward.

The initiative to try to integrate better research across areas such as fisheries science, climate change, oceanography, fish health, seafood safety and ocean chemistry is a critical goal of the Institute’s strategy, Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute explained the thinking behind the Research Symposium.

“The Marine Institute provides essential scientific evidence and advice to Government and to stakeholders to ensure that we are sustainably managing our marine resources and our extensive maritime territory, which is about ten times the size of our landmass.”

“Our research is central to providing the knowledge we need to inform policy and to address challenges such as climate change and ocean pollution while helping to build sustainable maritime sectors such as aquaculture, ocean renewable energy and marine and coastal tourism.”

Research presented at the symposium included outputs from a project tracking the migration patterns of blue fin tuna, new approaches to persistent pollutants, as well as multiple projects supporting the seafood sector.

Food safety issues around marine biotoxins as well as research into the genetic basis for natural starvation in wild Atlantic Salmon were shown to researchers.

It’s hoped that, through manipulation of diet and temperature, the latter will help reduce the time taken for farmed fish to reach a stage of maturity where they can go out to sea cages, thus reducing grow-out time and costs for the salmon farmer.