Irish Examiner: "Salmon stocks almost gone"

Important article in today´s Irish Examiner:

“Salmon and trout stocks in West Cork rivers “are almost gone” due to fish farming around Bantry Bay, according to a former National Parks and Wildlife Services manager.

Retired NPWS divisional manager Paddy O’Sullivan, a native of the area, was one of up to 100 people attending a meeting in Adrigole on Saturday night, aimed at halting plans by Marine Harvest to build a 12 to 14- cage organic salmon farm in the bay.

Out of 30 contributions to the meeting, two were in favour of the €5.5m aquaculture project at Shot Head. Among those voicing concerns were fishermen, anglers, residents, scientists, and holiday home-owners who had travelled from New York and London.

A Bord Iascaigh Mhara representative was in attendance at the request of Marine Harvest.

A petition has been organised, calling for the Department of the Marine to hold a meeting in the area.

Mr O’Sullivan said the area’s once bountiful native salmon, sea trout and spring stocks are “almost gone completely” due to sea lice from the farms attacking salmon smolt (baby salmon) swimming out to sea.

Freshwater pearl mussels, a protected species, are “not breeding in West Cork rivers due to the lack of fish in the water,” he claimed.

“Those rivers fed us when we were growing up. They are a vital part of our environment and heritage. We have to ask ourselves if this project is sustainable or will it damage the natural environment, the sea and rivers.

“Do we want to wipe out all the native fish stocks for a bit of foreign investment?”

Marine Harvest technical manager Catherine McManus has said the company “has the highest regard for the local environment and community” and is committed to developing the new farm in line with best environmental practice.”

Irish Examiner

Claire O’Sullivan
Monday, February 13, 2012

6 thoughts on “Irish Examiner: "Salmon stocks almost gone"

  1. we are disapointed here in Adrigole, at what they are trying to do behind our backs.
    It is time to meet with the people who we intrusted to protect our interests.

  2. I wonder if the fact that farming salmon pollutes as much as a small village dumping
    sewage directly in the sea is true? If it is, is that the reason that we have had so much red tide in Bantry Bay for longer than usual? There is already Salmon farming on the bay, did this affect the mussel farming in the area? I am concerned for the future of the bay.

  3. Whilst we welcome media coverage, this article doesn’t capture the whole argument. To sum up. There are many things wrong with this proposal:
    1. It is industrial in scale – 14 open tanks/pens spread over 1km x 1/2km inshore waters of an unspoilt, wild stretch of coastline.
    2. There are unacceptable risks to native, wild salmon species from disease, lice, escaping farmed fish – supported by empirical research.
    3. There are unacceptable risks to protected marine mammal species due to site’s proximity to legally protected areas designed to help populations rebuild.
    4. Then there are the economic risks to tourism & angling.
    5. The Environmental Impact Assessment commissioned by the applicant contains significant errors of fact, rendering it’s conclusions highly suspect.
    5. Finally, the politicians have failed to meet their community consultation obligations – which is why the community itself was meeting to organise their opposition and call a halt to the process until the community is properly consulted – not bushed aside in some farcical ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ scenario where the plans have been on display in a basement on Alpha Centauri for 50 of our earth years!

    I am not against fish farming per se, but that this one – most definitely yes.

  4. I and others have been operating a facebook page for a number of months now to try and highlight the disastrous impact that fish farms have around our coast. Minister Simon Coveneys plan to increase the number of fish farms around our coast, ten fold, is pure madness. The scientific evidence is there for everyone to see and it quiet clearly proves that fish farms kill wild salmon and sea trout due to sea lice infestation. I intend to try and get Don Staniford and Alexandra Morton, two highly respected experts in this field to comment on this page and maybe give some advice. Its time to stop Norwegian owned companies raping our waters and national assets. Once the wild stocks are gone, that is it, they won’t come back. Along with our facebook page we have also started a petition, numbers are at about seven hundred at the moment, with some very influencial people from the international angling community having signed.

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