Pesticide bitter medicine for anglers
Galway Independent, 7 August 2013
Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s description of chemicals approved for use in the Galway Bay salmon farm as medicines rather than pesticides has been slammed as laughable by opponents of the farm
Concerns have been raised over the choice of pesticides for the proposed Galway Bay Salmon
Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s description of chemicals approved for use in the Galway Bay salmon farm as medicines rather than pesticides has been slammed as laughable by opponents of the farm, who insist these chemicals “should never be used in an aquatic environment”.
BIM, the state body seeking to locate the organic fish farm off the coast of Inis Oírr, has stated that three chemicals approved for treating sea lice in farmed salmon, cypermethrin, deltamethrin and hydrogen peroxide, “have been commonly used for a number of years in the treatment of farmed animals, both land and marine-based”.
A spokesperson for BIM said that it was committed to ensuring “that any potential use of medicinal products on the proposed Galway Bay Salmon Farm will be in full compliance with national and EU regulation”.
“Use of medicinal products on salmon farms must be in strict compliance with the National Integrated Pest Control Plan and under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon,” he added.
However, Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC), a lobby group composed of anglers, environmentalists and members of the tourism industry, has said that the pesticides are toxic to crustaceans such as lobster, prawns, crab and shrimp and have rejected BIM’s assertion that the chemicals will be so diluted as to be safe.
“The people around Galway Bay who depend on the bay to make a living are being told by BIM that these pesticides will cause no damage to the aquatic environment in Galway Bay because they will be so diluted,” said a GBASC spokesperson.
“This is misleading to say the least, as vast quantities will have to be used to kill sea lice on 7.2 million salmon in the open cages,” he added.
Billy Smyth of GBASC said that BIM’s insistence on describing such chemicals as medicines rather than pesticides was misleading and laughable.
“They say that they don’t use pesticides, they use medicines, which is a laugh. If you read any dictionary, it states that a pesticide is ‘any substance which is used to kill animal pests’. They’re calling them medicines, which is a total con-job,” said Mr Smyth.
Mr Smyth said that two of the chemicals approved for use in the proposed Galway Bay salmon farm, cypermethrin and deltamethrin, are freely available to purchase in Galway and are labelled by their manufacturers as being “very toxic to aquatic organisms”.
“We are wondering how these can be approved for use, when it states clearly on the bottles that they’re dangerous to the aquatic environment. If Galway Bay isn’t an aquatic environment, we don’t know what is.”
The proposed Galway Bay salmon farm would produce up to 15,000 tonnes of organic salmon per year and BIM claims it would create up to 500 direct and indirect jobs, a figure hotly disputed by opponents of the project.
The licence application for the salmon farm is currently before Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney and a decision is expected in the coming months.