Save Bantry Bay Letter to Irish Examiner, 6 Feb 2013: Assessment needed before more salmon farming goes ahead

Assessment needed before more salmon farming goes ahead

Thursday, February 07, 2013

It was with interest I read your article ‘Industry delight as study shows lice not to blame for salmon deaths.’

The pro-salmon farming lobby are relying on a single study that found just 1% of overall marine mortality of smolts is a result of sea lice. However, this misses the point.  The fact is about 95% of salmon smolts die at sea from predators, starvation, and the harsh realities of migrating a few thousand kilometres in open ocean.
What matters is what’s happening to the 5% that would normally survive and return to spawn in our rivers to produce the next generation. Sadly, the latest research shows that 39% less are returning in areas with salmon farming due to sea lice. The original research quoted by BIM and the Marine Institute acknowledges this point.
Reflecting on the incredible promotion of this new research paper by the pro-salmon farming lobby there is only one conclusion we can draw.   They are manipulating statistics in an attempt to justify a project that will cause enormous damage to wild salmon and sea trout. Ask BIM to comment on what happened to the angling industry after the salmon farm began 25 years ago. In 1988 sea trout catches averaged almost 10,000 per annum. This plummeted to a mere 420 soon afterwards.
Now is the time for salmon farm promoters to stop trying to bamboozle the public with their misinformation. Before any further expansion of salmon farming takes place, Ireland must complete a Strategic Environmental Assessment, as is required by EU Law.  Only this way can policy makers be sure they’re not destroying our wild salmon and sea trout stocks, angling industry, tourism interests and water quality, all for a quick buck.
Alec O’Donovan   Secretary    Save Bantry Bay   Newton House   Bantry    Co Cork

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