Showdown looming over future of fish farming in Bantry Bay

Salmon Farm CageBANTRY is set to become the centre for the showdown between those who are for or against the future development of salmon farming in the bay.
On Friday November 23rd, the Maritime Hotel in Bantry will see what the organisers hope will be a large turn out to demonstrate against Marine Harvest’s proposed new salmon farming development of Shot Head.
“At our last protest meeting, which was held in Glengarriff at the beginning of the summer we had over 200 concerned Beara residents showing their united support against Marine Harvest.

“We then sent out over 7,000 leaflets to all the residents around Bantry Bay and the response we have received has been incredible,” the Save Bantry Bay committee chairman Kieran O’Shea said.
The Save Bantry Bay (SBB) committee also wrote to every TD in the Dáil looking for their support.

“We cited not only European legislation intended to protect wild salmon, but the loss of fishing grounds, the increased pollution, the negative effect on the local shellfish industry, the potential destruction caused to the six local salmon rivers, and of course the effect this new salmon farm will have on tourism in the area,” Mr O’Shea continued.

The meeting at the Maritime Hotel will be addressed by international anti-fish farming campaigner Don Staniford.
Mr Staniford was recently cleared by British Columbia’s Supreme Court of defamation charges after he ran a campaign linking cancer from cigarette smoking to cancer from farmed salmon.
He has been described by aquaculture trade media as salmon farming’s “public enemy number one”.

Also speaking will be Elena Edwards of the Canadian Wild Salmon First campaign and Dr Roderick O’Sullivan, the author of the first study on salmon farming in Ireland in 1989.

“Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney appears to have forgotten the Bantry Bay Charter agreed by the representatives of the stakeholders in the area, including local interests and regulatory bodies, which recognised ‘the valid opinions and perspectives of all the interests in the area’ and requires ‘at least a broad-based consensus for any future developments” SBB secretary Alec O’Donovan concluded.

The SBB protest meeting at the Marine Hotel begins at 7.30pm on Friday November 23rd.

West Cork Times, 21 November 2012

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