Clean Oceans dominates BIM activities at Seafest in Cork city

Bord Iascaigh Mhara ( BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency, unveiled its Clean Oceans Experience today (Friday June 7th) at Seafest with the message ‘Love Our Ocean’. BIM activities at this year’s national maritime festival, are supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and largely focus on raising awareness of work being carried out by the Irish seafood sector to reduce plastics in our seas.

Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM, spoke of how the sector is working together to address the serious problem of waste in our seas and said:

“ More than 330 tonnes of marine litter has been collected by fishermen taking part in the BIM Fishing for Litter scheme. A further 180 tonnes of mainly plastic waste has been collected by oyster, mussel and salmon farmers in shore and pier clean ups and 600 tonnes of used or damaged fishing nets have been recycled in the BIM net recycling programme. Our fishing communities and other members of our seafood sector often live and work in some of Ireland’s most remote communities. The focus on sustainability and that of the Clean Oceans Initiative is born out of a necessity to protect and sustain our marine environment and, moreover, to protect the local economies of these communities for future generations.”

A BIM Clean Oceans Theatre, centre stage at the festival this year, is bringing the story of Fishing for Litter to life for younger audiences to help them understand how fishing communities are working together to collect plastics from our seas.  The MFV Allanah Riley, a whitefish trawler that works out of Castletownbere that is moored next to the theatre, is one of 107 trawlers signed up to the BIM Fishing for Litter scheme. Visitors are being welcomed on board the fishing vessel throughout the three days.

A number of interactive huts also surround the stage area, one of which is made up of 60kg of plastic bottles, the average amount of plastic an adult in Ireland uses each year. Other interactive huts include live demonstrations of lobster v-notching being carried out by trained BIM regional staff and opportunities to get up close to live species native to Irish waters such as brown crab, sea urchins and mussels.

Catherine Morrison, Sustainability Manager, BIM said:

” The Clean Oceans Initiative is helping us to drive sustainability across the entire seafood sector in Ireland. The sector is committed to working together to address the growing problem of plastics and other waste in our seas. Their livelihoods are contingent on having a clean and pollution free marine environment. Sustainability is central to everything they do.”

Fishmongers Hal Dawson and Pat O’Connell are sharing the Bord Bia and BIM Seafood Experience stage located next to the MFV Allanah Riley with chefs Nevin Maguire, Rory O’Connell and Martin Shanahan. Demonstrations on how to select, prepare and cook sustainably sourced Irish seafood, such as that caught by the crew of the Allanah Riley, are being given all weekend long.

BIM’s coastal training unit (CTU) is at Seafest and visitors of all ages are being welcomed on board to learn why BIM’s safety at sea training is critical to men and women working in the sector. Live demonstrations of the BIM developed online fisheries management chart are also being given on the CTU to show how regulations on mesh sizes and quotas are helping the Irish fleet to fish more sustainably.

The BIM Aquaculture Remote Classroom (ARC), also at the festival, is showing a short film to explain what aquaculture is and how species such as mussels, oysters and salmon are farmed sustainably in Ireland.

Seafest, Ireland’s national martime festival, is a free event that runs over three days from Friday 7th June until Sunday 9th June in Cork city.

Kate Harley (10) from Douglas, Cork.

L-R: James Nicholas (5); Sam Harley (12) and Kate Harley (10) from Douglas, Cork and Sara Albrecht, Sea Synergy and BIM Volunteer.