Clew Bay in Co.Mayo, is a major bay on the West Coast of Ireland with hundreds of islands within a 15km by 15km area. The native oyster fishery is protected by the Clew Bay Oyster Co-operative legislation and forms an important social, commercial and environmental driver. Catches have progressively reduced to around 10Tpa and the seasonal fishing fleets of 100 + boats are no longer seen.
The Knowledge Gateway Project ‘Native Oysters a New Pathway’ is a joint operation to develop both a commercial farming model for native oysters to supplement the expanding Pacific Oyster industry and provide restorative spat settlement at the same time. The project encompasses all aspects of culture. Starting with broodstock selection to create a complex genetic profile to ensure a robust regenerated population. The Jasconius ponds in Co.Clare have been bought back into production to develop a mix of traditional and developing techniques for spat production. The spat produced is then transferred to sites in Clew Bay using the Jersey Sea Farms ORTAC and Microreef systems. Currently there are three-year classes in trial production at various sites.