Letter to the Editor, Galway Independent: If the king knew what he was eating he’d lose his appetite
25 Sept 2013
Unlike Mr Roche of the Irish Seafood Producers Group, those of us who oppose the Galway Bay Salmon Cage proposal are believers in free speech, which is why we welcomed his arrogant letter in the Wednesday 4 September issue of the Galway Independent, which we believe has covered this issue (open salmon cages) in a fair and balanced way and should be commended.
Mr Roche is hypocritical for criticizing your paper for giving space to Mr O’Donovan of the Save Bantry Bay group to “vent his opinions which could undoubtedly damage the brands grown and processed by companies in the west of the country for many decades”.
For example, Mr Roche does not give a damn about all the tourist angling jobs that were lost all along the west coast in the last 20 to 30 years due to the collapse of the wild salmon and sea trout stocks from sea lice infestation. According to a recent study carried out by Inland Fisheries Ireland, angling is worth €750 million and 10,000 jobs to the Irish economy and that is with only 62 of our 152 salmon rivers fully open to angling.
Just think how many more jobs and revenue could have been created if the millions of euro of grant aid that was wasted by BIM and Udaras na Gaeltachta on unsustainable marine salmon rearing cage operations had been spent on improving our wild salmon and sea trout habitat.
The proof of Mr O’Donovan’s opinions in relation to organic salmon can be found in BIM’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), e.g. on page 258 it states in relation to the pesticides to be used to kill sea lice on the so-called organic Galway Bay salmon rearing operation and we presume on all other such marine salmon rearing operations, organic or otherwise and I quote “three medicines (pesticides) that may be used have possible implications for inshore fisheries in the vicinity of the pens. These are the simple chemical compounds Hydrogen Peroxide and two other medicines (pesticides) with the trade names Alphamax (Deltramethrin) and Excis (Cypermethrin). These treatments are toxic to the larvae of sea lice, lobster and crab”.
It seems that Mr Roche has no concerns either for the inshore fishermen whose livelihoods may be destroyed by the use of massive amounts of these pesticides in Galway Bay and elsewhere.
The Naturland principles of organic aquaculture state, in the EIS, ”that to be considered organic, only natural remedies and treatments must be used in the case of disease and no chemicals must be used. Fishmeal and oil in the feed must be derived from by-products (offal) of fish processed for human consumption (no dedicated feed fishery)”.
So how can Mr Roche claim that farmed salmon is organic when all of the principles are being broken by the use of these toxic pesticides, toxic anti-fouling agents and antibiotics on most salmon cage operations. Also, as not enough offal can be sourced from fish processed for human consumption, fishmeal manufactures are using wild fish from unsustainable sources to the detriment of these threatened stocks.
Mr Roche, the consumer may be your king, but profit is your God. I think if the King really knew what he was eating he would soon lose his appetite.
Chairman Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages