Irish Independent Letters, 24 Sept 2013: UPSTREAM BATTLE
* Figures released on September 9 last (http://www.fishupdate.com) stated that 162,000 tonnes of Scottish-farmed salmon had a value of £537m (€638m) and sustained a total of 1,500 direct and indirect jobs.
These figures suggest that a 15,000- tonne salmon farm as proposed by the state agency An Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) would produce farmed salmon worth €60m. Utilising the Scottish figures as a benchmark, such a farm would create 138 jobs.
At first glance this looks like a great opportunity. However, if you look at claims by BIM that a 15,000-tonne salmon farm would create 300 jobs and produce salmon to the value of €102m, it would seem that maths is not the strong point of those within that state agency.
Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd recently stated that the value of angling tourism to the Irish economy was €750m per annum, much of this attributable to fishing for wild salmon.
All this is at risk due to the negative impact that open-net cage salmon farming, as proposed by BIM, will have on our environment and wild migratory stocks. I would urge those in positions of power nationally and in Europe to look very closely at these proposals before embarking on a course that leads to disaster.