Group Calls for “Fundamental Rethinking” of Government’s Salmon Farming Policy
West Cork Times, 12 Oct 2014
By Stephen Johnson
Salmon Watch Ireland this weekend called for a “fundamental rethinking” of the Government’s salmon farming policy, warning that large-scale marine operations are having “catastrophic” effects on the sector.
“It is time that Ireland embraced the on-land , closed-containment farming of salmon,” the group said in a report issued at its Annual Geranal Meeting (AGM) in Galway on Saturday.
Adopting such a policy “could put Ireland in a position to be a scientifc and technical leader in this sector,” said Niall Green, Chairman of Samon Watch Ireland.
“Closed-containment salmon farming is operating successfully in Canada, the United States and Denmark and has gone well beyound the experimental stage,” Green said.
“In a controlled growing environment, the fish grow faster, risks such as storms and predators are eliminated and damage to wild fish and the wider environment are eliminated,” Green said.
“So why is Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) ignoring this opportunity for better commercial and environmental outcomes?” Green asked.
“And why do we have a primitive system of salmon farming when our land-based farmers are constantly striving for more efficient and reliable forms of production?”
Green answered his own questions, suggesting that the Government’s policy is heavily influenced by large marine operators like Norwegian-owned Marine Harvest, which, he said, controls 70 percent of the production off the Atlantic Coast of Ireland. Green called their operations “environmentally damaging and inefficient.”