Located in Bantry, County Cork, Daithi O’Murchu Marine Research Station (DOMMRC) works with private and public partners across Europe on several fronts, from forecasting algal blooms, integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA), to fish and shellfish rearing programs.
“We have a freshwater hatchery for salmon and a shellfish hatchery in which we hatch scallops, sea urchins and sea cucumbers,” marine biologist and research director Dr. Julie Maguire told Hatchery International.
Currently the station contains a laboratory, both pump ashore and recirculation units, a seawater filtration and treatment complex (uv, ozone, biofiltration), seawater storage silos, workshop and office.
The hatchery itself (200m2) contains conditioning broodstock tanks, larval rearing tanks, settlement tanks, nursery rearing tanks and algal rearing units. Outside the building there are two systems containing larger tanks (4m2 and 1m2). In 2007, the building was extended by a further 486m2 and a nursery facility was installed.
Maguire and her staff conduct research that addresses some of the larger issues facing the Irish, and larger European, aquaculture industry. Some of the hatchery-related work includes:
• Commercialization of hatchery technology and juvenile production
• Broodstock, shellfish and salmon, program development
• Selective breeding
Maguire said that one of the successes of their broodstock program has to do with shellfish growth cycles. “We are trying to shorten the growing time for Pecten maximus which is currently five years to harvest size in Ireland.”
On a general scale the hatcheries are used for supplying juvenile species for other experiments conducted at the marine station.
The DOMMRC has been in operation since 1991 as part of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre (AFDC), University College Cork. However, in late 2005 it was established as an independent commercial research station with an experimental hatchery and growout operations on and offshore.
Maguire has been at the station for over eight years. Her background is in marine shellfish biology but has experience working in several areas of research.
She told Ireland’s technology news service, Silicon Republic, in an interview that location is part of the success at DOMMRC.
“We are an island nation, so it’s the perfect place to study the marine [environment] and we have a huge area offshore that is our own territory,” she said in the interview. “Ireland is also an ideal spot for monitoring things like climate change - we are at the southerly limit for a lot of northern species and the northerly limit for a lot of southern species - so it’s a great melting pot for looking at the effects of climate change on species.”
- Erich Luening