Cork News: Save Bantry Bay group accuse officials of ignoring facts

Save Bantry Bay group accuse officials of ignoring facts

A group opposing plans for a multi-million euro salmon farm in Bantry has called on the Government to acknowledge research outlining the impact of sea lice on wild salmon. The committee, Save Bantry Bay (SBB), which was formed in objection to the proposed €3.5 million organic salmon farm by Marine Harvest at Shot Head near Adrigole, has stated that officials are “using statistics as a drunken man would use a lamp post- for support rather than illumination”.

The group claims that raw data from a report published by the Marine Institute indicates that sea lice emanating from salmon farms are causing a “significant problem”. They stated that officials are only focusing on the report’s data that on average 0.7% of young salmon at sea die from sea lice compared with 93% to other causes. However, SBB stated that further data shows that sea lice causes a 10% decrease in numbers of sea young salmon returning. “This is a significant figure, showing quite the opposite of what the officials appear to be claiming,” said the group.

The SBB further outlined that recent research by Inland Fisheries Ireland highlighted that “sea lice larvae emanating from farmed salmon may influence individual survivorship and population conservation status of wild salmon in these rivers”.

“This figure suggests salmon farms could cause a 44% reduction in unprotected wild salmon populations that are exposed to sea lice. Not just a significant figure, but a deeply worrying prospect for Ireland’s wild salmon stocks and angling businesses,” stated the SBB.

The group’s secretary, Alec O’Donovan stated: “If Ireland wishes to prevent further collapse of valuable wild trout and salmon stocks, and maintain its biodiversity and angling industries, such misrepresentation of the facts must stop.”

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