More than €7 million in EU funding has been given out to researchers investigating the risks posed by climate change on the sustainability of fish and shellfish in the Irish Sea.
Two projects will receive funding through the EU’s Ireland-Wales co-operation programme and it’s hoped that the research will help protect and develop marine life and fisheries industry in Wales and Ireland.
Around €5.5 million will go to support the Bluefish marine science partnership. This will investigate how climate change is affecting the health of fish stocks, the migratory movement of commercial fish, and risks from new non-native species. It will also come up with solutions to help fisheries businesses adapt to environmental changes and capitalise on new commercial opportunities. The project is being led by Bangor University in partnership with Irish and Welsh organisations.
Dr Shelagh Malham, senior research fellow at Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences said: “The combination of research between academic partners and collaboration with industry partners will ensure these vital industries receive the information and support they need to be more resilient to the changes the industry is facing and will continue to face in coming years, and to react to opportunities.”
A further 1.8 million euro will go to the piSCES project which aims to improve the quality and security of energy supply for fisheries businesses in remote locations while minimising their exposure to energy price peaks and reducing their carbon footprints.
A group at Waterford Institute of Technology, Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) will research and design new energy networks in collaboration with Cardiff University. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) will work with businesses in the fish processing sector to provide live data and test sites.
Sean Lyons, project manager at TSSG, said: “Collaborating cross-border with our partners will bring together a wealth of experience from an R&D and implementation perspective and expose the technology to different regulatory environments bringing significant benefits to the industry.”
Welsh Government finance secretary Mark Drakeford said: “These projects bring together expertise from both nations to support an industry in Wales and Ireland that shares the same opportunities, challenges and resources within the Irish Sea.
“Collaborative schemes like these are why we are clear about the advantages to Wales of ongoing access to territorial co-operation programmes, including the Ireland-Wales programme, when the UK leaves the EU.”
Irish minister for public expenditure and reform, Paschal Donohoe, added: “I am delighted to see the launch of another two projects under the Ireland-Wales programme.
“This is a clear demonstration of our continuing commitment to the programme. It also underlines the importance of EU funding for scientific research into areas of shared interest.”