Salmon Watch Ireland Statement, 16 Aug 2013:

Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s plan for Galway Bay salmon super-farm now in tatters

16 August 2013

The following statement was issued today by Salmon Watch Ireland:

In the environmental impact statement submitted in support of its application for a licence to operate a salmon super-farm in Galway Bay, the only evidence that Bord Iascaigh Mhara (‘BIM’) put forward in support of its contention that sea lice did not constitute a threat to wild salmon was two papers published in the journal Aquaculture in 2011. Both articles were authored by Dr David Jackson and a number of his colleagues in the Marine Institute and were followed up with a subsequent paper in the Journal of Fish Diseases in 2013. All three articles have been extensively quoted by BIM in exchanges with the conservation sector about the impact on wild salmon of salmon farm generated concentrations of sea lice.

A paper published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Fish Diseases by four eminent marine scientists from Norway, Canada and Scotland* (and attached to this statement) sets out a devastating critique of the means by which Dr Jackson and his colleagues reached their conclusions. It claims that ‘Jackson et al incorrectly lead the reader to a conclusion that sea lice play a minor, perhaps even negligible, role in salmon survival’ and that ‘such a conclusion can be supported only if one is prepared to accept at least three fundamental methodological errors’. Having analysed these errors in detail the paper concludes that ‘whereas they (ie Dr Jackson and his colleagues) assert that sea lice cause 1% of mortality in Atlantic salmon, the correct estimate is actually a one-third loss of overall adult recruitment’.

In the face of these most recent revelations BIM’s justification for its Galway Bay plans is now in tatters. Taken on top of all the other deficiencies and understatement of risks in the BIM environmental impact statement to which attention has been drawn by numerous organisations and commentators, Salmon Watch Ireland suggests that Minister Coveney now has no option but to demand that BIM withdraw their application for a licence to operate a salmon super-farm in Galway Bay.

– End –

NOTES:

*M Krkosek, University of Toronto; C W Revie, University of Prince Edward Island; B Finstad, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research; C D Todd, University of St Andrews.

For further information contact:

Niall Greene 086 826 9222

Simon Ashe 087 996 2424

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