Irish campaign group concerned over China salmon deal
Undercurrent News: August 2, 2013
On Thursday, it was reported that Ireland had secured full market access to China for salmon exports, ending four years of negotiations.
Irish campaign group Save Bantry Bay said it is concerned over the cost of securing such a deal.
“I am horrified at this announcement” said Alec O’Donovan, secretary of Save Bantry Bay.
“Before any deal was done, government should have addressed the controversies already boiling at home.”
Farmed salmon is detrimental to wild salmon populations and the environment, the NGO said in a press release. For Ireland to fulfill even the smallest increase in demand in China production would have to increase dramatically – as would the associated environmental impacts, it argued.
Even if each person in China ate just one small portion (100g) of Irish farmed salmon a year, they would be consuming nine times Ireland’s current total output, it said.
“We have government agencies at loggerheads, and increasing numbers of anglers, fishermen, tourism business owners, residents and holiday makers protesting around the country,” said O’Donovan. “Now the ink is dry, we can only ask how government can commit to delivering massive tonnage of salmon while at the same time continuing to claim it is making ‘independent’ decisions on current applications to expand salmon farming.”
Save Bantry Bay has called on the government to undertake a full strategic environmental assessment of salmon farming policy as it says is required by EU legislation.
In addition Save Bantry Bay has asked for a review of current aquaculture licensing systems, which give almost total control to the minister of agriculture, food and the marine. To date, the government is reportedly planning neither.