Letter to the Editor, Irish Examiner, 23 Aug 2013: Coveney must protect wild salmon

Letter to the Editor, Irish Examiner: Coveney must protect wild salmon

Friday, August 23, 2013

Your editorial comment titled “Aran salmon proposal — Report is challenged” (Aug 16) correctly urges Marine Minister Simon Coveney to review all evidence before making a final decision on the BIM application. We suggest that game, set and match must be awarded to the wild Atlantic salmon for a clean marine in Galway Bay.

Claire O’Sullivan, in the same issue, details the scientific ping-pong being played out in academia, while we see at first hand our valuable wild salmon smolts become infested with sea lice and die in vast numbers every season.

Hopefully, this costly debate has finally ended with last week’s University of Toronto study which demolishes the main defence that our minister and the EU relied upon until now. The good news for Ireland is that this news has come in time for consideration as he has yet to respond to the BIM licence application for the world’s largest ever fish farm in Galway Bay between Salthill and the northern waters off Inis Oírr.

Our federation, in vehemently opposing this application, is accused of being a group of disgruntled anglers with a vested interest.

But now we have a valuation on this vested interest and it is worth €750m and supports 10,000 jobs (source TDI study) to the State which, incidentally, is more than three times the national sea fisheries catch. All of this revenue is spent in the rural areas of Ireland where the angling takes place in contrast to a multi-national global fish farm company that sends their money home to the acclaim of the Oslo stock exchange.

Sadly, the scientists have differed and the valuable wild salmon smolts continue to die in vast numbers.

There is already evidence that the Marine Institute has cut loose from the Jackson et al mooring if they succeed in recovering their remit in “providing independent scientific advice to the minister.”

It is time for the Taoiseach to further develop the Moy Valley angling model by jettisoning this 10-fish farm plan now before we ruin any more of our wild salmon habitat that underpins over 10,000 angling jobs that we are now achieving with only 62 of our 152 salmon rivers fully open.

There is no better investment in job creation than diverting the fish farm investment or BIM budget allocation into another 10,000 jobs to re-open those 90 salmon rivers now.

Paul Lawton
Chairman, Federation of Irish Salmon & Seatrout Anglers

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved


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