FISSTA Press Release, 7 Nov 2013: WILD ATLANTIC SALMON IN DANGER OF WIPEOUT AFTER FRESH WATER SUPPLIES ARE TAKEN FROM RIVER FOR TREATMENT OF DISEASE AT CLARE ISLAND SALMON FARM

WILD ATLANTIC SALMON IN DANGER OF WIPEOUT AFTER FRESH WATER SUPPLIES ARE TAKEN FROM RIVER FOR TREATMENT OF DISEASE AT CLARE ISLAND SALMON FARM

Federation of Irish Salmon & Sea Trout Anglers (FISSTA)

Press Release
7.11.13

FISSTA – The Federation of Irish Salmon and Seatrout Anglers have protested and lodged complaints to both Inland Fisheries Ireland and Mayo County Council at the damming of a river on Clare Island.

FISSTA view this as another action that disrespects and disregards all environmental regulations that protects our wild fish habitat. FISSTA are extremely alarmed that regulations guarding our fresh water sources for our wild salmon and seatrout habitat are being further ignored by fish farmers as they attempt to treat more outbreaks of Amoebic Gill Disease at fish farms all along the west coast of Ireland.

Recently, fish farmers made emergency applications to both Donegal and Mayo County councils for renewed supplies of fresh water to treat the increased outbreak of Amoebic Gill Disease in several of their cages in both Fanad in Donegal and Clare Island off the Mayo coast. Donegal County Council immediately granted some supplies in order to ‘protect the jobs at Marine Harvest in Fanad’ ( as reported in the Donegal News – cutting available). The transporting of the water on a 240 km round trip by lorry tankers through the length of the county Donegal proves that fish farming is in a crisis. Some of the Killybegs water supply has been even been transported to Clare Island by well boat to treat the disease while the local River Doree on the island (traditionally a salmon river – but wiped out after 30 years of infestation by sealice) has now been dammed apparently without compliance with planning authorities. The increased temperature of the salt water attracts an abundance of plankton causing increased outbreaks of AGD particularly in the Summer and Autumn months. This requires urgent treatment of the fish by bathing them in fresh water with the aid of a number of well boats (costing over €5m per vessel) which are specially designed ships for handling and managing diseased farmed salmon. The very fact that such a large investment is being made to treat diseases and pollution emanating from fish farming and sealice suggests that the global leader of fish farming, Marine Harvest, regard our country’s regulations as a light touch regulation rather than the higher compliance being enforced in their home country of Norway or perhaps Scotland. Recent quarterly financial reports from many fish farmers confirm widespread disease and very high sealice figures.

FISSTA – whose angling membership are on the main salmon and seatrout rivers of Ireland have been campaigning against Minister Coveney’s ten mega fish farm plan and in particular with the BIM application in Galway Bay in which they lodged a 35 page objection to last December.

Chairman of FISSTA Paul Lawton asks “How much fresh water supplies will be required to treat 15,000 tons of farmed salmon in Galway Bay should Minister Coveney grant this license? The future for Irish salmon appears especially bleak in the face of new policy that will allow unbridled development of offshore open pen salmon farms to increase production from 14,000 to 150,000 tonnes in the salmon’s migratory channel off the west coast.”

The first mega farm is planned for Galway Bay, a mecca for domestic and international tourists. FISSTA, seasoned campaigners against such off shore fish farms, attend all the international conferences and delivered the opening NGO group address at the last North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO – 19 Atlantic salmon governments) on behalf of millions of people around the North Atlantic who value their wild Atlantic salmon, urges the Irish Government to stop this destructive expansion of open net pens. The Irish Government must develop alternative industries and employment opportunities such as expansion in tourism and fisheries, which depend on a pristine environment and abundant wild fish populations. It’s time for government to rethink its obsession with open net pen salmon aquaculture, which contributes to declining salmon populations, and displaces anglers, commercial fishermen and tourists wherever it operates” says FISSTA Chairman Paul Lawton.

Recently, the value of Irish angling was estimated at €755m to the Irish economy while Mayo and the Moy Valley in particular was the highest earner. FISSTA will continue to urge Mayo Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tourism Minister Micheal Ring TD to remain committed to doing everything possible to protect their huge sustainable earner that salmon angling is to Mayo and the island of Ireland. FISSTA are intensively lobbying every member of this government to honour their international commitment under NASCO to grant safe passage and protect all the wild Atlantic salmon (both Irish and EU fish) on their migratory way to the north Atlantic feeding grounds.” says Mr. Lawton.

Further information:

Secretary: NOEL CARR, Teelin Road, Carrick, Co. Donegal. Tel: 074 9730300 or 087 2352001

Note to Editors: FISSTA are an all island federation of angling clubs on the main salmon and sea trout Rivers of Ireland. FISSTA are campaigning to conserve the wild Atlantic salmon and seatrout against the impending threats of sealice (emanating from salmon farms) and overfishing by the granting of commercial draft netting licenses in estuaries.

Chairman: PAUL LAWTON, 37 Connoly Green, Ballyphehane, CORK.

Secretary: NOEL CARR, Teelin Road, Carrick, Co. Donegal.

Tel: 087 2352001 or 074 9730300. email: dgl1@indigo.ie

http://www.fissta.com

Below is an image of the River Roree on Clare Island which has been dammed up to extract fresh water to treat AGD farmed salmon stock in a multiple of cages nearby.

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