arrow_drop_up arrow_drop_down

Seagriculture 2018

7th International Seaweed Conference

6-7 November, Galway, Ireland

Meet your conference speakers

Freddie O Mahony

Company Director, Cartron Point Shellfish Ltd., IRL

 "Hatchery Cultivation of Macroalgae – An Irish Perspective"

Freddie O Mahony was awarded an M.Sc. in 1982 based on her research at the NUIG Shellfish Research Lab. The results of this work led to the development of a low cost and reliable mass phytoplankton cultivation system for bivalves. This production system is in use in all Irish bivalve hatcheries to this day. Freddie has 35 year’s experience in aquaculture, including bivalve production and macroalgal and microalgal cultivation. Cartron Point Shellfish Ltd. (CPS) was established in 1992 by Freddie O Mahony and Iarfhlaith Connellan. The shellfish hatchery is managed by Iarfhlaith at the company base in New Quay, Co. Clare, Ireland.

Since 2004, with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) funding and support, Freddie has concentrated on hatchery production of macroalgae with an emphasis on research and development. The early research led to the establishment of a pilot scale macroalgal hatchery which is situated adjacent to Bantry Marine Research Station (BMRS) In West Cork. Species cultivated include Alaria esculenta, Saccharina latissima and Laminaria digitata. Freddie O Mahony has run this unit for the last 12 years. 20kms of string seeded with Alaria esculenta will be produced this year. This hatchery is the only source of seeded macroalgal string for the developing Irish seaweed industry.

With funding from BIM the potential for land based Palmaria palmata cultivation was investigated. Results comparing seasonal trials at New Quay and Bantry demonstrated that, seasonally, biomass could double in 2 weeks.Growth patterns varied significantly between sites. Freddie is currently researching the cultivation of asexual Porphyra umbilicalis. Growth trials on asexual Porphyra umbilicalis have been carried out in the hatchery and neutral spores have been settled on glass beads and Kuralon string. Sea trials using seeded string are scheduled to occur later this year or early 2019.

Seaweeds are now becoming mainstream as part of our diet. This has led to an increasing interest and upsurge in seaweed cultivation. My role through R & D is to develop methodologies which will provide seed material for seaweed farmers. Currently the greatest demand is for Alaria esculenta also known as Atlantic wakame. The research on asexual Porphyra umbilicalis has the potential to revolutionize the production of nori. The work focusses on the cultivation of plants to produce neutral spores thus eliminating the comlex conchocelis phase as found in sexual Porphyra. Also the collection and maintenance of separate family lines is essential to maintain genetic diversity in our cultivation methodology.