Killary Harbour is a fjord or sea loch on the west coast of Ireland. With the growth of aquaculture the harbour has become the site of both raft mussel cultivation and more recently, salmon farming. The successful management of these resources requires a detailed knowledge of the harbour's hydrography and ecology. In 1980/1 an extensive survey of the harbour was made. Papers dealing with primary productivity (McMahon & Patching, 1984) zooplankton (Ryan et al. 1986) and the biology of mussels (Rodhouse et al. 1984 a, b, 1985) have already been published. In this paper, we describe the phytoplankton of the harbour and factors which influence distribution and growth.