Irish Times, 21 July 2014: Report on massive loss of farmed salmon is held over by the Minister for the Marine Mr Simon Coveney

Report on massive loss of farmed salmon is held over by the Minister for the Marine Mr Simon Coveney

Irish Times, 21 July 2014

By Derek Evans

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FOLLOWING the loss of 230,000 farmed salmon in Bantry Bay last February as a result of a cage breaking loose from its mooring and upending itself into another cage at Gerahies, the Minister for Marine, Simon Coveney, has declined to release the Department’s report on the loss, according to Save Bantry Bay (SBB) and Friends of the Earth (FIE).

The Minister’s decision asserts that the work is not completed and that the public interest would not be served by the disclosure of the report.

In March, Alex O’Donovan of SBB said they understood after the official count in February that the farm had been “virtually wiped out”. The minister later confirmed the loss of 230,000 salmon.

Despite repeated requests, FIE and SBB have been refused the report, breaking the Minister’s previous precedent of releasing such documents regarding salmon farm escapes, they said.

Last week FIE’s appeal was turned down on the grounds the report was an “internal communication in the course of completion” and that it “would not be in the public interest to release”.

Tony Lowes of FIE, said: “The Department has announced it has given permission for the operators to restock this site. How can they do this if the report on the accident is not complete and how can this secretive manner of operating be in the public interest?” FIE has appealed the decision to the Information Commissioner and are filing a complaint for maladministration with the Ombudsman.

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