Irish Examiner, 18 Nov 2013: Letter to the Editor – Wild fish need more protection

Letter to the Editor, Irish Examiner: Wild fish need more protection

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISSTA) has protested and lodged complaints to both Inland Fisheries Ireland and Mayo County Council at the damming of a river on Clare Island.

We view this as another action that disrespects and disregards all environmental regulations that protect 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. FISSTA — whose angling membership are on the main salmon and seatrout rivers of Ireland — have been campaigning against Minister Coveney’s 10 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. FISSTA remain ever vigilant and opposed to any development that damages the wild Atlantic salmon habitat.

How much fresh water supplies will be required to treat 15,000 tons of farmed salmon in Galway Bay should Minister Coveney grant this licence? 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. 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.

Paul Lawton
Chairman, Federation of Irish Salmon and Seatrout Anglers & Cork Lee Salmon Anglers

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