The trip to Irleand from Norway
The week before Easter, students taking the course Marine Species were fortunate enough to be on a study trip to Ireland, through a Euaqua project. The aim of the trip was to learn more about their species, and how they drift farming in Ireland. In addition to the Norwegians, there was a group of French students, who also would participate, with the same purpose, to develop skills for other species. In Ireland, they operates breeding of many species that we only farm/grow in small quantities, or not at all, here in Norway. Therefore, it was a very nice and copious trip. We were well received, and got to learn more about algae (seaweed), mussels, abalone (a type of snail), oysters, sea urchins, and saw how Ireland operates salmon farming in relation to us.
When we got to Ireland, we met the French students, and then we started on the long journey towards Castletownbere, Cork, where we would stay for almost a week.
The first day, started with a lecture on the private sector in Ireland. An exciting lecture where we got a closer insight into several species, and what challenges and opportunities that are associated with farming.
The first day was devoted to learning more about algae in the intertidal zone. David, who worked at BIM showed us their fauna of algae. However, it was not just a craft tour, but also a wonderful nature experience, with historic touches.
The students visited many different farms:
One group visited Marine Harvest’s fish farms. Another group was on an Abelonefarm, where they saw the production and juvenile department. Others were trying to work with oysters, and found out that this could be quite demanding, since oysters thrive in the tide and can only be worked on when the tide is low. The seabed is also often muddy, which can be demanding to walk in. Another group were at their big beautiful mussel farm, with tastings. Trout was also part of the farmed species, and we did see one farm that was running it on the “old” way, with a river as water source (common), but he had dug huge holes in the ground, where the trout swam, but still the trout were living under good conditions. Some of the students also got to visit a research station.
In the evening we were invited to a social Irish evening, with both dance and good food.
After a few nice days together in Castletownbere, we had to start our long drive back to Dublin by bus. We stayed in Dublin for two days, shopping, and visiting the zoo. We had a very nice stay in Ireland 🙂
– What have you learned about sea urchins during this trip ?
I have learned that conducting sea urchin farming has many simple processes, but also some problems. For example, it is almost impossible to tell the difference from a male and a female, the only way is to have them separately and force them to spawn. Then you will see the difference from getting orange egg or white sperm. One female sea urchin could spawn as much as 3 million eggs. To speed up the spawning was relatively easy using either temperature or inject pottasium chloriade, which shocked them to spawn.
– What did you most forward by the various company visits we made during the trip?
Visiting Dáithí O’Murchu Marine Research Station was what I looked most forward for. Here they have everything from Algae, sea urchins and fish research. I was one of the lucky ones who got to follow them to the salmon cages and feed them.
– Have you learned anything new?
When it comes to algae research, there was a lot to learn. In Ireland, they had both algae on land and in the sea. For me personally, it was a revelation to see the production of algae in tanks on land. I were also surprised by the good growth of Alaria esculenta (an algae type that we also grow at Val vgs (http://val.vgs.no/) in Norway ). They expected between 10 to 15 kg per. meter ropes.
– Which farming locations did you visit in Ireland?
I visited an Abalone farm, mussel farm, and a salmon farm held by Marine Harvest.
– What did you like the best during the period? Why?
Everything! Specially that we had the opportunity to visit an Abalone farm and to visit a trout farm because it was so different from what I expected.
Written by Anette Hølleland