Minister confirms single biggest salmon-farm escape in history in Gearhries, Bantry Bay in Co Cork
Irish Times, 14 April 2014
By Derek Evans
THE Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney, has confirmed that 230,000 salmon are missing after storms significantly damaged a salmon farm in Gearhries, Bantry Bay, Co Cork, on February 1st, 2014, making it Ireland’s largest single salmon farm escape in history.
“As things stand there is no evidence of any mortalities at the Gearhries salmon farm and not one of the missing salmon are accounted for. This could spell disaster for wild salmon in Bantry Bay.” said secretary Alec O’Donovan.
“The sheer scale of the escape means that the already depleted wild salmon stocks in local rivers could be swamped. The Dromogowlane, Coomhola, Owvane, Meelagh, Glengarriff and Adrigole rivers are all less than 20km from the escape site,” he said.
“We now have 230,000 escaped farmed salmon that pose a significant genetic risk to our native brood stock. The proposed Shot Head site is only a few kilometres across the bay from the escape site.
Chairman Kieran O’Shea said: “It is time to stop investing in open cage salmon farms which are clearly failing, and to start investing in land-based closed containment systems from which salmon cannot escape.”
Save Bantry Bay is calling for the proposed salmon farm at Shot Head in Bantry Bay to be rejected on grounds of environmental and economic impacts. Contact Alec O’Donovan (087-794 9227) or Kieran O’Shea (086-128 0303) for further details.