Salmon farm proposal for Ballydavid – BIM to meet local fishermen

BIM logoWednesday November 14 2012
BÓRD Iascaigh Mara (BIM) is to investigate the possibility of locating an organic salmon farm off the West Kerry coast and will liaise with fishermen in the Ballydavid area in the coming weeks in an attempt to identify possible sites.

A similar BIM project, near the Aran Islands, is currently progressing through the planning process and, if it is allowed proceed, is expected to create up to 65 jobs at sea with several hundred auxiliary jobs coming on-stream onshore.

The idea to target a site in the Ballydavid area for consideration is understood to have arisen out of a recent meeting which took place in Dingle between Ballydavid fishermen, South Kerry Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, Cllr Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald and Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney.

Minister Coveney was visiting Dingle last month to speak at the Garraí Glas food, fishing and farming conference, organised by Joan Maguire in An Díseart, and to launch the 2012 Dingle Peninsula Food Festival. At the conference, the Minister spoke of the Aran Islands salmon farming project and how BIM is examining the possibility of similar projects off the coasts of Mayo and Donegal. Following the conference, Deputy Griffin, local fishermen and Cllr Fitzgerald held talks with the Minister, urging him to include a West Kerry site in those considerations.
This led to Deputy Griffin approaching BIM CEO Jason Whooley with the proposal and BIM has now confirmed that it is interested in investigating the possibility of locating an organic salmon farm off the West Kerry coast.

Deputy Griffin says that the project is at very early stages yet but that “the idea needs to be pursued fully, given the huge benefits it could potentially offer.”

“My discussions with the CEO of BIM, Jason Whooley, have been very positive and I am delighted that BIM plans to liaise with the Ballydavid fishermen with a view to identifying potential sites,” Deputy Griffin told The Kerryman this week.

“It is estimated that the Aran Islands project could create up to several hundred jobs at full production – this is an ideal template for a similar project in West Kerry. The local knowledge and expertise available in Ballydavid will also assist greatly in moving along this process,” he said.

“It isn’t every day that the potential to create a large number of jobs in West Kerry – which has been hit hard by unemployment and emigration – comes along,” local Cllr Cosaí Fitzgerald added. “Therefore we must explore every aspect of this idea to see if it can become a reality.”

Deputy Griffin said he will be meeting Mr Whooley to discuss the matter in the near future and is also due to meet with Minister Coveney for further talks.

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