BIM, Ireland’s seafood development agency, has unveiled a unique marine garden for Bloom 2019 (May 30-June). Aquamarine, supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, is full of sea life – from different types of seaweeds to fish species native to Irish waters. The marine garden also highlights the need to protect the marine environment against plastic waste.

“ Ireland is an island nation. We’re surrounded by water and almost half of us live 5km or less to the coastline. We need to work together to protect this precious resource. Sustainability must underpin our actions,” remarked Jim O’Toole, BIM chief  executive.

BIM also supports initiatives in the fishing and seafood sectors that reduce and reuse plastic from the marine environment and which “stop it from getting there in the first place,” he added.

The marine garden resembles a giant rockpool and has a fishing net suspended overhead to demonstrate the active role the fishing and wider seafood sector are taking to reduce plastics in our seas.

Fishing for litter

BIM has been tasked to ensure every Irish registered fishing trawler is participating in its Fishing for Litter scheme under the national Clean Oceans Initiative by the end of 2019.

Fishing for Litter is an entirely voluntary scheme that involves fishermen collecting plastics and any other waste they haul up in their nets and bringing it ashore. BIM then works with harbour masters to manage the waste that is collected and recycled or disposed of in a responsible way.

Fishing for Litter currently operates in 12 of Ireland’s main fishing ports. To date more than 330 tonnes of marine waste has been collected by participating fishermen.

Recycled material

Designed by Oliver and Liat Shurmann of Mount Venus Nurseries, Aquamarine contains 27,000 cubic metres of sea water. All of the materials used in the garden were salvaged or recycled and will be reused after the event.

“We thought we could take a cross section of a marine landscape, say a rockpool, and highlight that as something so incredibly valuable, clean and undisturbed hence the name of the garden Aqua Marine,” explained Oliver Shurmann.