SBB Open Letter to Tom McSweeney, 28 Aug 2013


Mr Tom McSweeney,
Co Cork.

28 Aug 2013

Dear Tom,

RE: Salmon Farming in Ireland

In your recent article regarding salmon farming, we notice you ignore authoritative information about the status of wild salmon and sea trout.

Today Inland Fisheries Ireland; North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation; world expert Prof Mark Costello and many international research teams including those from Norway, Canada and Scotland; as well as anglers; environmentalists; holiday makers and the general public have all cried out against the expansion of salmon farming due to its detrimental impacts not only on the environment, but other sections of the economy and local communities.

To suggest the expansion of salmon farming is Ireland’s economic salvation is nonsensical. Today, angling in Ireland is estimated to be worth €750 million. All of which could be put at risk as sea lice devastate wild salmon and sea trout populations on which the angling industry relies. Then there’s the value of inshore fishing of lobster, crab, prawn and shrimp which will potentially be wiped out in salmon farming areas as sea lice treatments are toxic to these species. To sacrifice these industries for the sake of salmon farming is robbing Peter to pay Paul. And to make matters worse, the angling and inshore fishing industry is dominated by small family run businesses, while 75% of Ireland’s salmon farming is owned by Marine Harvest – a Norwegian multi-national whose profits go overseas and policies may change on a whim.

And, what of the market? The niche organic food industry, including Slow Food Ireland (Galway) and Darina Allen who would normally promote organic artisan products, have condemned so called ‘organic’ salmon farms.

All in all, we believe you would benefit from gaining a greater understanding of the general mood on the ground. We have attached a briefing note regarding the situation in the Bantry area which you may be interested in.

We understand that following your own campaign against the expansion of Cork Port, you would have a certain amount of understanding and sympathy for those wishing to protect their environment and resources.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Alec O’Donovan
Secretary, Save Bantry Bay
Newton House
Co. Cork

Tel: 027 50508

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