Loughs Agency, Lough Foyle

Project Aim: Species restoration

The loughs Agency have been licensing vessels in the Foyle oyster fishery since 2008.  During this time we have actively monitored the stock levels within the fishery and have commissioned scientific research through several EU funded projects the most recent of which being the IBIS project.  Several PhD studies were completed on the native oyster population and there were also several supporting MSc studies.   Topics such as spawning activity, fecundity, settlement, harrowing of oyster beds, genetics, invasive species, ecological carrying capacity and climate change impacts were investigated in relation to the native oyster beds.

The Loughs Agency has continued to monitor the health of the oyster population in Lough Foyle since the completion of the IBIS project research and has adopted some of the recommendations from the findings.  An applied project to manage the broodstock levels and enhance the wild oyster population in Lough Foyle has now been started.  This project will involve the construction of spatting ponds and the relaying of shell cultch onto oyster beds to improve habitat for larval settlement.  The Agency has been working with its partners in BIM and the local shellfish cooperative to develop this project.

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