Water quality monitoring on Irish oyster farms

We’re tracking the temperature and salinity of bays in Ireland in order to understand the impact of these factors on the performance of oyster stock.

Project aim: Identify ideal conditions for oyster farming

In 2009, high death rates in juvenile oysters around the Irish coast were linked to the ostreid herpes virus OsHV1 uvar. To see how the virus, as well as the general growth and mortality of oysters, is affected by the temperature and salinity of bay water, BIM began closely monitoring these conditions in June 2010. 

Our methods: How we collect the oyster bay data

We teamed eight BIM staff with 17 producers to monitor 17 bays around the Irish coast.

The next steps involved:

  • Releasing 12,000 oyster seed in the 17 sites, spread evenly between the upper, middle and lower shores
  • Installing a CTD datalogger device at each site to monitor salinity, temperature and depth of the water by the hour

Oyster seeds ready for release 

Oyster seed released in the sites, spread evenly between the
upper, middle and lower shores.

A datalogger attached to an oyster bag 

CTD dataloggers have been deployed to measure and
record temperature, salinity and depth in Irish bays.

Once a month, at each of the sites

  • Information from the CTD dataloggers is retrieved
  • Growth and mortality of the oysters is measured

Seeing the benefits: How the oyster bay data is used

Ultimately, the data we’ve collected on water quality and on oyster health and population levels will inform a critical study carried out by the Marine Institute. This study is intended to help us to predict future threats to oyster populations in Ireland and to help increase productivity in this field of farming.

Farmers working on the oyster  beds at low tide 

It’s hoped that the Oyster bay monitoring project will help preserve and
strengthen Irish oyster stock in the long-term. 

Contact Us

To learn more about this project, contact:

Trish Daly
Direct: +353 1 2144253
Email: daly@bim.ie