EU assures Nessa Childers MEP that Galway Bay fish farm must comply with EU law
29 Aug 2013
The EU Commissioner for the Environment has confirmed to the Independent MEP, Nessa Childers, that a controversial deep sea salmon farm proposed for Galway Bay by BIM (Irish Sea Fisheries Board) must comply with EU environmental law.
In a letter to Ms Childers, Commissioner Janez Potocnik has assured her that as part of the approval process for funding, the EU Commission services will verify whether Ireland’s sea fisheries operational programme is environmentally compliant. The EU Commissioner goes on to say that ‘It is important to note that compliance with EU and national legislation is a prerequisite for the selection and co-financing of projects under these programmes’. Environmental groups, like Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), say that fish farms generate huge volumes of sea lice that latch onto and devastate stocks of wild salmon and trout.
While BIM is proposing to build the farm, another state body, Inland Fisheries Ireland, was critical of the proposal in a scientific report they provided to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Friends of the Irish Environment complained to the EU Commission that the Department had suppressed the IFI report and failed to forward it to Brussels. In his response to a request from Nessa Childers MEP that the full facts be brought into the public domain, EU Commissioner Potocnik said ‘In this regard, all information and material referred to by FIE will be sought from the Irish authorities and duly examined.’
Welcoming the Commissioner’s response, Ms Childers said ‘I am glad that the EU Commission has responded positively to my request to ensure that all the relevant scientific information is properly assessed before any decision is made on the Galway Bay fish farm proposal.’
It is expected that the EU Commission will make a decision on the Galway Bay proposal next month.