Save Bantry Bay, a local committee formed to oppose any further expansion of fish farming in Bantry Bay, has alleged that Marine Harvest, the largest salmon farm operators in Ireland, are not meeting standards recently agreed by the industry.In spite of its membership of the ‘Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue’ which recently released agreed new standards for the industry, the local group says that Marine Harvest is failing to meet any of the requirements of Principle 7 requiring salmon producers to ‘be a good neighbour and conscientious citizen’.
The Norwegian Company responsible for the proposed expansion of fish farming in Bantry Bay is refusing to release details of chemical treatments regularly used against parasites and diseases prevalent in the industry.
The Department of Agriculture Food and Marine has told Save Bantry Bay that they do not hold this information and that the residents must apply to the company for the data.
Principle 7 of the new standards requires:
- Evidence of regular and meaningful consultation and engagement with community representatives and organisations
- Presence and evidence of an effective policy and mechanism for the presentation, treatment and resolution of complaints by community stakeholders and organisations
- Evidence that the farm has posted visible notice at the farm during times of therapeutic treatments and has, as part of consultation with local communities communicated about potential health risks from treatments.
A spokesman for Save Bantry Bay says that ‘Marine Harvest has met none of these standards in its current operations inIreland.’
According to the Committee the consultation with the local community consisted of a small notice in a local paper. Save Bantry Bay says that ‘The EIS omitted more than half of the houses in the area. Not only do such inaccuracies deeply insult local communities, but they put into question the accuracy of the document as a whole.’
Marine Harvest’s offices in Castletownbere and Donegal and have refused to meet with community groups and organisations, as required by the new Standards.
‘Our repeated requests to the company at every level for information on their practices have been entirely ignored for more than 6 months. These chemicals effect not only the marine life from salmon to prawns but also residents and visitors using the Bay for a variety of purposes.
‘There is a cloud of secrecy surrounding the nature, amount and frequency of the chemicals going into our environment, rather than the transparent communication required by these standards.’
‘Any such operation on land would be required by law to make this information available, but it appears that once a polluting industry is located off-shore all the rules are out the window’, said the spokesman. ‘It’s quite unbelievable.’
For further information contact:
Alec O’Donovan, Secretary, Save Bantry Bay 087 7949227 (mobile)
Tony Lowes, Committee Member, Save Bantry Bay 027 74771 (office) 087 2176316 (mobile)
Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue – http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/globalmarkets/aquaculture/dialogues-salmon.html
Aquaculture Stewardship Council – http://www.asc-aqua.org/index.cfm?act=tekst.item&iid=3&iids=18&lng=1