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Shellfish waters

How do we care for shellfish waters?

We are responsible for protecting and improving the quality of shellfish waters in order to support shellfish life and growth.

One of the ways we do this is by fulfilling our commitments under the European Union Shellfish Waters Directive. This is designed to protect the aquatic habitat of bivalve and gastropod molluscs, including oysters, mussels, cockles, scallops and clams. The directive has a number of different strands:

  • It requires all member states, including Ireland, to designate waters that need protection in order to support shellfish life and growth.
  • It sets physical, chemical and microbiological requirements that designated shellfish waters must either comply with or try to improve.
  • It allows for the establishment of pollution reduction programmes for the designated waters.

Where are the designated shellfish areas in Ireland?

Following public consultation, 64 sites in the Republic of Ireland are designated shellfish areas.  Taking into account the consultation and a strategic environmental assessment that was carried out, pollution reduction programmes were put in place for the sites. To see full details of the designated areas and the programmes put in place, please click on the relevant area below:

1. Donegal - Sligo
2. Wexford - Waterford
3. Louth - Fingal
4. Galway - Mayo
5. Clare - Kerry
6. Cork

The designated areas are set out in the following regulations:

SI No 268 of 2006 European Communities (Quality of Shellfish Waters) Regulations 2006 (pdf, 61kb)

SI No 55 of 2009 European Communities (Quality of Shellfish Waters) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (pdf, 111kb)

SI No 464 of 2009 European Communities (Quality of Shellfish Waters (Amendment)(No 2) Regulations 2009 (pdf, 489kb)

How do I get further information?

For further details on the European Union shellfish waters directive, please email waterquality@housing.gov.ie or contact us in the Water Quality section at LoCall 1890 20 20 21 or +353 (0)1 888 2000.

The rates charged for the use of 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers.

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