SBB Request Support of North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation at 2013 AGM
Yesterday, 4 June 2013, Alec O’Donovan of Save Bantry Bay, and other SBB supporters held a symbolic funeral for wild Atlantic Salmon at the 2013 AGM of the NASCO. A letter was delivered in a symbolic wild salmon’s coffin requesting the NASCO take a stand on the impacts of salmon farming on this endangered species and help pre-empt its extinction in Ireland’s waters. A full copy of the letter can be read below.
Dr Peter Hutchinson
North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization
11 Rutland Square
Edinburgh, EH1 2AS
Delivered by hand
4 June 2013
Dear Dr Hutchinson,
RE: Call for a NASCO statement on salmon farming, and review of research.
We are a diverse group of locals who are campaigning against the expansion of salmon farming in Bantry Bay – an area where wild Atlantic Salmon are already recognised to be at risk by NASCO.
We, like many other NGOs in Ireland, are calling upon NASCO for support.
Today, Simon Coveney Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Bord Iascaigh Mhara (the Irish Fisheries Board); and the salmon farming industry are pushing a policy to fast track Ireland to become one of the world’s leading suppliers of farmed salmon.
This is to be achieved through the development of ‘mega-farms’. Farms of a scale that have yet to be seen in Europe. The first such farm is currently under consideration. Such is it’s scale it alone would double the output of Ireland’s farmed salmon. Should it get approval, it will set the precedent for many more. BIM, who are behind the proposal, state there are as many as 10 more in the pipeline.
Meanwhile Marine Harvest, Ireland’s largest salmon farm operator which controls 75% of the market, are hoping to further develop operations in Bantry Bay. This is an area where NASCO reports have already raised concerns about the impact of salmon farming on wild salmon. Unfortunately, it is this company’s policy to have multiple farms in small areas in the interests of ‘efficiency’, despite the serious environmental consequences of this approach.
Multiple research studies have highlighted the impact of salmon farming on wild salmon and sea trout. Yet our government continues to deny these instead relying on a single study conducted by the Marine Institute which is under Simon Coveney’s remit. This study has been highly criticised by Inland Fisheries Ireland, the government body responsible for the conservation of wild salmon, as well as international experts. In shock of the situation, Professor Mark Costello, wrote to Minister Simon Coveney only last month warning him of the situation and highlighting the flaws in the scientific advice he is being given by his team. Prof Ken Whelan also wrote a critique of the study for the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards Scotland on 3 February 2013.
We are therefore calling upon NASCO, as the organisation responsible for the implementation for the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean to which Ireland is a signatory, to step in and make a stand. Furthermore, we ask NASCO to conduct a comprehensive and independent review of research that examines the relationship between salmon farming, wild salmon and sea trout populations.
We have attached a full briefing outlining the situation in our area.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Chairman, Save Bantry Bay