Salmon Watch Ireland also question sea lice research quoted by officials

Salmon Watch Ireland

We need to face up to collateral damage from salmon industry

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mr Richie Flynn (Irish Examiner, May 11) would be well advised to honestly confront and resolve the problems posed around the coast by salmon farming, rather than engage in sleight of hand exercises in front of an audience that is less well informed about the issues than he and some of the rest of us are.

Mr Flynn states that recently published research by scientists in the Marine Institute ‘shows no possibility of impact from fish farms on wild stocks’. One presumes he is referring to two short articles published in two issues of the journal Aquaculture in 2011. If so, then it is hard to see from where he got his paraphrase because the latter of these two articles concludes only that ‘[sea lice] infestation of outwardly migrating salmon smolts …  as generally being a minor component of overall marine mortality in the stocks studied’.

The conclusions of a study based on more extensive research by Dr P G Gargan and Dr G Forde of Inland Fisheries Ireland (together with Scottish colleagues) were published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in February of this year. Their results showed that sea lice-induced mortality on adult salmon returns in Ireland can be significant and that sea lice larvae emanating from farmed salmon may influence individual survivorship and population conservation status of wild salmon. The rivers studied were in the west of Ireland and adjacent to salmon farms.

It is long past time that the salmon farming industry, the Department of Agriculture, which both promotes and regulates the industry (a conflict of interest?), Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Udaras na Gaeltachta honestly faced up to the need to deal with the collateral damage inflicted on the marine environment by this industry. If that were done then the undoubted potential for the further development of the industry might be capable of being realised. In the meantime, let us remember that over the past 20 years the taxpayer has already invested some €50m in this industry for a return of less than 200 jobs today, but with very considerable damage to wild salmonids and to valuable recreational angling tourism.

Niall Greene Salmon Watch Ireland Raheen Lisnagry Co Limerick

You can read the full story here

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