200 attend Save Bantry Bay Meeting in Glengarriff

Today´s Irish Examiner writes about Save Bantry Bay´s supporter meeting in Glengarriff:

Fisheries official angry at being told to leave meeting

 A Bord Iascaigh Mhara employee was asked to leave a public meeting hosted by a group opposed to a planned €3.5m fish farm.

BIM regional development officer David Millard had questioned the accuracy of assertions made by the Save Bantry Bay (SBB) group in a presentation in Glengarriff at the weekend.

According to Mr Millard, he queried a statement that in Spring 2010, sea lice levels at the existing Marine Harvest farm were at dangerous “trigger levels” whereby the farm would have to be treated with chemicals.

Director of Friends of the Irish Environment Tony Lowes said he based this section of his presentation upon Marine Harvest’s own environmental impact statement (EIS).

However, during the question and answer section of the meeting, Mr Millard said this assertion was “factually incorrect” and was ruled out of order by the SBB secretary, retired harbour master Alec O’Donovan, and its chairman, fisherman Kieran O’Shea.

Mr Millard said he was allowed to speak for about two minutes.

“I am very disappointed that I was asked to leave by the organisers. I was trying to be factually correct. This is not the first Save Bantry Bay meeting that I have attended and I have offered repeatedly to bring people on farm visits to see Roancarrig, the other Marine Harvest site,” he said.

Mr Lowes said Mr Millard “was told that he could take his seat and remain but that the meeting was restricted to supporters and if he did not yield the microphone and cease his interventions he would have to leave. He refused to yield the microphone but subsequently left the building”.

Mr Millard said he was attempting “to represent an accurate picture of fish farming” and said that “too many people at the meeting had closed their minds to hearing the other side of debate”.

He has long argued that Marine Harvest has a good environmental and safety record in West Cork and Kerry.

SBB members say they have twice sought access to information on Marine Harvest’s use of chemicals but have been refused.

Mr Millard said it was “unreasonable” to expect a private company to release such commercially sensitive information.

Nearly 200 people attended Saturday night’s meeting at the Eccles Hotel.

Save Bantry Bay is made up of fishermen, residents, guest house proprietors and members of the environmental and tourism sector.

The group argues that Bantry Bay has reached its capacity for salmon fish farming.

Marine Harvest wants to develop an 100-acre organic salmon fish farm at Shot Head, Adrigole and has lodged an application for a foreshore and aquaculture licence with the Department of the Marine, where it is currently being examined.

A public consultation process was held in advance of the licence application.

By Claire O’Sullivan

Monday, March 26, 2012

Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/fisheries-official-angry-at-being-told-to-leave-meeting-188340.html


2 thoughts on “200 attend Save Bantry Bay Meeting in Glengarriff

  1. I am very confused about all this:

    David Millard of BIM expresses the need to be “factually correct”, and contests that the information in the presentation is incorrect. Yet the information in the presentation was taken directly from Marine Harvest Environmental Impact Statement (see Figure 89, page 225). Why does David Millard believe he knows more about Marine Harvest’s operations than Marine Harvest themselves?

    What is more, why does David Millard of BIM attend these meetings and not staff from Marine Harvest? Has Marine Harvest been led to believe they don’t need to attend as BIM is there to address any opposition on their part? I hadn’t thought offering PR services on the behalf private companies was part of BIMs remit. Is BIM now now taking on the role of getting aquaculture licenses through for industry? Is there no requirement for them to be independent at all? I’ve been looking at the Regulations that founded BIM http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1952/en/act/pub/0007/print.html#sec14 and it seems not. Such a system appears extremely open to corruption and abuse.

    All in all, it appears the Government body founded to help develop sustainable aquaculture development is actually a puppet for industry. This puts Ireland in a very dangerous position where a gold rush mentality could result in ill thought out aquaculture developments maximise profits for overseas based companies such as Marine Harvest and leave Ireland paying the price of associated environmental and economic degradation.

  2. It seems the EIS prepared as part of the Shot Head application by Marine Harvest is riddled with errors and even David Millard of BIM challenges the accurateness of the facts contained therein, so it cannot possibly serve as a basis for the current application, which should thus be rejected pending a new environmental impact assessment. I believe the use of chemicals does not constitute “commercially sensitive information” but is a requirement for the continued operation of the fish farm? What about the final sentence of the above report: what kind of “public consultation” was held in advance of the application?

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