The views of anti-fish farm campaigners – environmental scientist Roderick O’Sullivan, Don Staniford of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture and Elena Edwards of Wild Salmon First – were well received at a meeting iheld in the Marine Hotel, Bantry, last Friday night.
Hosted by the local Save Bantry Bay group, and chaired by Keiran O’Shea, chairman of this group, a large and representative group from interested parties across Ireland, and some from the UK, attended the meeting. However, public representatives were conspicuous by their absence.
During the question and answer session that followed the speeches, people expressed their concerns. There was but one dissenting voice, a man who said he was a fish farmer. His views were met with silence and were at odds with the large numbers who attended.
During the session, Dr. Penny Stanway advised that the word ‘farm’ which conveys growing and nurturing, should not be used when speaking about the huge factory-sized conglomeration of fish production which is being proposed for Irish waters. She said it was similar to the situation when the method of providing cheap battery chickens was exposed in the UK in the 1970’s.
That caused such a public outcry that people stopped buying chicken when they were made aware of the conditions the animals were grown in. She and others present encouraged the media to call the product what it is, battery caged salmon.
Don Staniford presented a packet of Donegal Catch salmon to the meeting which showed that the fish was actually from Poland.
Dr. O’Sullivan and Don Staniford both claimed some of the chemicals used to kill the sea lice on these fish are banned in other countries. It was claimed also that it was environmental lunacy to pour chemicals in any form in Irish waters and bays. Questions were raised about the use of chemicals banned in other countries and if this was the case why authorities in Ireland were permitting their use.
Demise of salmon stocks
Elena Edwards of Canada’s Wild Salmon First gave a report which visually explained on a map on the screen the demise of salmon stocks in the Fraser River, British Columbia. There, the wild fish had to swim past caged fish and so were exposed to salmon lice. If was explained that if 11 lice attached themselves to a wild salmon, the salmon died.
Campaigners are urging people to log onto http://www.savebantrybay.com and read the Board of Inland Irish Fisheries Report and observations on the proposed fish conglomeration for Bantry Bay,
There is a further report in an international study which was released on November 15th from Inland Fisheries Ireland which highlights the impact on wild salmon of populations from sea lice.
It states: ‘On average 39% of salmon mortalities are attributed to sea lice which impacts wild salmon numbers and therefore wild salmon fisheries. The full report maybe downloaded at http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2012/11/01/rspb.2012.2359.full
The importance of maintaining and protecting wild salmon stocks was highlighted by representatives of the angling and tourism industries. It was claimed that exposing wild salmon to sea lice, to the chemicals used to kill the lice in the battery cages, combined by escapees, could lead to the extinction of the Irish wild salmon species as it is known today.
30 November 2012