The gentle breeze coming off the water, the sound of waves gently lapping on the shore. What imagery does this bring to mind? Perhaps a nice sunny beach in the Caribbean. Would you call me crazy if I told you that this was at the Killary Fjords, right in the heart of Connemara? I was surprised too, but this view was the result of glacial movement over thousands and thousands of years in Ireland. Because of this Fjord the area surrounding it became a bastion for life, both land-based and aquatic.
Taking advantage of this bountiful area many have set up farms around the fjord. We hiked deep down the fjord to visit a mussel farm, the owner, along with his wife and employees talked about how they harvested the mussels, ensuring that they do not take too much so that it throws the ecosystem out of balance, they harvest around 80 tonnes of mussel per year, which may seem like a large amount, but they ensure that they only harvest the two year old mussels, leaving the one year olds so that they may continue the cycle of reproducing and maintaining the balance.
The mussels are farmed via a system of ropes and buoys which is a way that does not destroy their natural habitat. After seeing this system I gained a newfound respect for the way that the people of Ireland respect their habitat, unlike in the United States, they do not simply take whatever they can and destroy their environment, but seek to coexist with the world around them, many houses are small and simple on the countryside, there seem to be more farm animals than famers by a large number! Although this farm exists solely for the production of seafood consumption, the owner stated that “I make sure to try a few mussels from every batch that we catch, to ensure that they are fit for consumption, as well as that there are no problems within the ecosystem.” Comparing this way of farming to how it is conducted in China, with over-polluting and destructing the delicate ecosystem, it is easy to say which group of people have more respect for the world around them.