Irish Examiner: Opposition mounting . . .

Friday, February 10, 2012

Source: Irish Examiner: Read full story

Opposition is mounting in West Cork to plans by one of the world’s biggest fish farming operations to develop a €5.5m organic salmon farm in Bantry Bay.
Marine Harvest has applied to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for aquaculture and foreshore licences for the site at Shot Head. The firm says the development is part of a €14m plan by Marine Harvest Ireland to upgrade 16 aquaculture sites over the next five years.

It is envisaged six full time jobs will be created at the farm and the company is arguing the investment will secure the 40 jobs already in existence in Beara.

However, objections to the plan are growing and a public meeting is due to be held at Adrigole Community Centre tomorrow night.

One local resident Brendan O’Keeffe has written to the department on behalf of his neighbours in Traflask outlining their opposition on the grounds of the levels of sewage that will be generated, the unsustainability of fish farming and the risk to native fish from lice and toxins at the farm.

“The biggest problem is sewage. An average-sized salmon farm generates sewage equivalent to 10-20,000 people. This sewage will contaminate the lobster, crab and scallop, which are plentiful at Shot Head. Local fishing boats have on average three crew aboard each fishing boat. Who will compensate these fishermen when their catch is contaminated, or wiped out?”

Friends of the Irish Environment are also to speak on the potential of the project to impede job creation in marine tourism.

“The Irish Hotels Federation has long argued that the economic contribution per fish caught made by salmon angling tourism far exceeds that generated by the commercial fishing sector. It’s estimated that every wild salmon caught by an angling tourist, contributes €423 to the local economy,” its director Tony Lowes claimed.

Marine Harvest technical manager, Catherine McManus, has said she won’t comment on the project while a public consultation process is underway.

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