Irish Examiner: "Trinkets to the Natives"

Fish farm company accused of trying to ‘buy’ community

By Claire O’Sullivan


Irish Examiner, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 07, 2012


Residents in West Cork, opposed to the development of a €3.5m fish farm by one of the world’s biggest aquaculture companies, have accused the developers of trying to “buy” the local community “with trinkets”.

The comments came after Marine Harvest launched a competition aimed at primary schools whereby a school can win €900 and a pupil €100, if they choose the winning name for the firm’s new fishing boat.

The company is seeking a foreshore licence from the Department of the Marine to develop a second fish farm in Bantry Bay and have met fierce local resistance.

Letters were sent to primary schools in Kenmare and Bantry, where the company already have farms, detailing the prize fund.

Secretary of Bantry Salmon and Trout Club, Alec O’Donovan accused Marine Harvest of “trying to give trinkets to the natives in the hope of creating a feelgood factor”.

He said the competition was “an attempt to buy the local community and to offer badly-needed funding to hard-pressed primary schools”.

And Save Bantry Bay chairman, fisherman Kieran O’Shea, urged school principals and teachers to ensure that parents’ and children’s opinions were not swayed by the prize money on offer. 

He urged the schools to teach pupils about his group’s opposition to the planned 106 acre organic salmon farm at Shot Head.

Once Save Bantry Bay heard of the competition, they sent a letter to the schools asking them to discuss the proposed Shot Head project with the children so they might understand “the wider context of this competition”. They urged teachers to “not let the prize money sway your pupils’ opinion”.

“We fully respect your need for funding. However, many peoples’ income depends on activities that would be put in jeopardy by the positioning of this particular salmon farm and there are very serious scientific concerns about the impact on the environment in this location. We, as a group, are not against all salmon farming, we just wish it to be conducted in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner,” wrote Save Bantry Bay chairman, Kieran O’Shea.

A Marine Harvest spokesman said: “We commissioned this vessel from a local steelworks in Castletownbere and it will be used to support the company’s existing farms.

“It is regrettable that such unjustified comments have been made as the application for Shot Head is a completely separate matter.” 

The newly-named boat is to be launched next month.

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3 thoughts on “Irish Examiner: "Trinkets to the Natives"

  1. Marine Harvest may claim it is a seperate matter… Call me cynical, but the timing is most suspicous. There is massive opposition to a local development and rather than talk to the community and have public consultation to find a solution that works for the community, environment and businesses this company goes for a playground popularity contest. This is not setting a good precendent.

    This is a company that does not follow it’s own corporate social responsibility claim that “Our local management is encouraged to give attention to the views of local communities and engage in dialogues to find mutually beneficial or acceptable solutions to any concerns that are raised with respect to the activities of Marine Harvest” (see Nor does it follow the international guidelines it has helped develop (see the Salmon Aquaculture Dialouge, final draft standards for responsibile salmon aquaculture) which states “a salmon farm must respond to human concerns that arise in communities located near the farm…”

    Marine Harvest needs to start practing what they preach.

  2. According to “We also sponsor the following local schools and organisations: Cranford National School, […] Drumalla National School, Loreto Community School, […].” Should our national schools really receive money from large multinational organisations? How will this affect the respective Board of Management’s independence and the parents’ objectivity? Will corporations now replace the Church or the state in “educating” future generations?

  3. How can a Marine Harvest spokesman state: “It is regrettable that such unjustified comments have been made as the application for Shot Head is a completely separate matter”, when on their own website’s-Leading-Organic-Salmon-Farm-Business-to-.aspx, they indicate: “The company will also commission a marine vessel with a local ship builder to service the Shot Head site.” So wouldn’t the two seem to be related?

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