Ocean modelling for aquaculture and fisheries in Irish waters
Abstract. The Marine Institute, Ireland, runs a suite of operational regional and coastal ocean models. Recent developments include several tailored products that focus on the key needs of the Irish aquaculture sector. In this article, an overview of the products and services derived from the models are presented. The authors give an overview of a shellfish model developed in-house and that was designed to predict the growth, the physiological interactions with the ecosystem, and the level of coliform contamination of the blue mussel. As such, this model is applicable in studies on the carrying capacity of embayments, assessment of the impacts of pollution on aquaculture grounds, and the determination of shellfish water classes. Further services include the assimilation of the model-predicted shelf water movement into a new harmful algal bloom alert system used to inform end users of potential toxic shellfish events and high biomass blooms that include fish-killing species. Models are also used to identify potential sites for offshore aquaculture, to inform studies of potential cross-contamination in farms from the dispersal of planktonic sea lice larvae and other pathogens that can infect finfish, and to provide modelled products that underpin the assessment and advisory services on the sustainable exploitation of the resources of marine fisheries. This paper demonstrates that ocean models can provide an invaluable contribution to the sustainable blue growth of aquaculture and fisheries.