PRESS RELEASE, FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT:
SHOCK REPORT DAMNS SALMON FARMS
1 JUNE 2015
There has been a ‘Complete breakdown’ of the state’s authority, according to a damning Report from the environmental group FIE.
MINISTER’S DIRECTIONS FLOUTED BY SALMON FARMS
A study of the annual inspection records of Irish salmon farms by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries between 2012 and 2014 has shown a ‘complete breakdown’ of the salmon farm licensing system.
Author of the Report, FIE Director Tony Lowes, said ‘We found there were no provisions for ensuring inspections of the critical mooring components that have led to previous disasters in spite of repeated recommendations by the Minister’s officials in accident reports.
‘When license infringements were identified there was a persistent failure by operators to do anything about them.’
SALMON CAGES IN UNLICENSED LOCATIONS
‘Instructions to operators to return cages to licensed areas are being ignored, including cages located outside the boundaries for ‘a number of years’.
OVERSTOCKED FARMS REFUSE INSPECTORS STOCKING FIGURES
7 Inspections showed sites overstocked. Marine Harvest’s Castletownbere’s main site was overstocked in 2011, 2012, 2013 and then refused to provide the authorised Department Inspector with their stocking figures in 2014, as did its Deenish Island, County Kerry Marne Harvest site management.
SALMON FARM LIGHTING, RADAR AND STRUCTURAL DEFICIENCIES
Of the 70 relevant records examined, 23 showed failures in the required lighting and radar reflectors. 44 left the space for checking of the Shackles (which are key components for the structure of the installations) blank.
DANGEROUS RISKS TO WILD SALMON AND ENVIRONMENT IGNORED
3 records gave the condition of the cages as so poor as to require their removal at the earliest opportunity.
‘Successive accident reports have recommended to the Minister enhanced monitoring and enforcement protocols but nothing has been done. This Report shows that these farms are dangerous, posing a risk not only to our wild salmon, but to all who use our bays.’
The FIE Report has been sent to the Minister, Simon Coveney. Clare Daly, Socialist Party TD, has tabled written parliamentary questions to the Minister due for reply after the Dail reconvenes on 9 June.
CONTACT: Tony Lowes 353 27 74771 / 353 87 2176316
REPORT ON MARINE FISH FARMS INSPECTIONS 2012 – 2014
INVER BAY ACCIDENT REPORT