Irish Braced For Organic Expansion
EU Fish News, 6 June 2014
PREPARATORY work towards applying for a 3.5 – 5k tonne per annum organic salmon farm off the coast of Mayo is still underway, the Irish seafood development agency (Bord Iascaigh Mhara) has confirmed today.
The Mayo proposal, the second of three ‘deep-sea fish farms’ announced by BIM in 2012 – along with Galway Bay and off-shore Donegal – is still in the early stages of development. BIM continues to review survey data to inform its decision regarding the ideal location of the salmon farm sites. Similar to the Galway Bay proposal, two sites are being proposed to ensure the least possible environmental impact, best husbandry practices and to ensure steady output from the proposed farm.
Current deliberations point to locations in the lee of Inis Turk and Inis Bofin. More work is required ahead of identifying the most suitable location and preparing the Environmental Impact Statement that must accompany any such application. BIM confirms that an application for the third salmon farm off-shore Donegal remains a longer-term objective, with initial survey work still to be completed.
Demand for Irish farmed salmon, especially organic certified product, continues to far outstrip supply. Bord Bia estimates that the market could facilitate another 50k tonnes of product per annum. Consequently, Food Harvest 2020, the state’s national food production strategy document, contains significant targets for the expansion of the sector. It proposes the establishment of one or more large offshore production units; bringing dormant or under-utilised licenced salmon farming capacity into production and upgrading the licencing format and terms and conditions to bring them into full conformity with best practice internationally. As a result of these actions attractive investment opportunities are going to become available in the Irish salmon farming sector in the near future, according to BIM.