Marine Harvest’s response to Save Bantry Bay’s information campaign highlights the public’s predicament when they are faced with conflicting stories from a developer.
Your reporter states that ‘this new development will enable Marine Harvest to move fish from one site to another, allowing a fallow period in one location while the other continues to produce fish.’
Yet the company told the Minister in its license application document [EIS] that in reality the second site will ‘enable continuous harvesting’ as salmon take two years to mature and two sites will facilitate an annual harvest.
The governments recommended Single Bay Management advocates that entire Bays are fallowed (empty) together to break the cycle of sea lice infestation and the many diseases that build up in the open pen cages. This will not be possible if Marine Harvest proposal goes ahead.
The company reassures the public that ‘It [salmon farming] has operated without incident for almost 40 years’ when in fact caged salmon production in Ireland has fallen over the last 10 years because of continued health and environmental problems. Marine Harvest are having prolonged fish health problems at the Roancarrig site with prolonged and persistent gill disease.
The catalogue of damage to the aquaculture industry through algae blooms is well documented in your pages. The additional nutrients from the proposed salmon farms will further fuel these blooms.
Save Bantry Bay has asked both the Government and Marine Harvest to release the amounts and times of chemical use and any incident of fish diseases and sea lice. The government refers us to Marine Harvest, who simply refuse to respond to repeated request. How pious then is Marine Harvest’s statement to you ‘we hope that he established opposition groupings can work with us to improve an already established marine industry for the benefit of the community.’? Why won’t Marine Harvest release this information – what have they got to hide?
The Minister assured the Senate in January that fish farms would be moved off shore because of their impact on salmon rivers. The proposed fish farm is even further down in the Bay than Roancarrig and is within 500m of a salmon river and in close proximity to 5 more.
Each wild salmon caught brings approximately €450 into the local community
Meanwhile a proposal is being prepared for an onshore contained fish farm in Bantry Bay where all inputs and outputs can be properly controlled and regulated. This is the sustainable way forward for fish farming.
Alec O’Donovan, Secretary
Save Bantry Bay