A GOVERNMENT scientific agency, Inland Fisheries Ireland, has just published the result of 25 years of research involving more than 20,000 sea trout taken from 94 river systems in Ireland or Scotland at varying distances from salmon farms.
The research is objective and utterly credible. It once and for all confirms that salmon farms have a negative, often lethal, impact on wild fish populations.
For years the aquaculture sector — including Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the IFA — has dismissed claims that fish farms sustain unnatural levels of parasites that have a lethal impact on migrating fish using the same waters.
The sector has consistently tried to undermine findings like these and has successfully convinced governments that such claims should be dismissed as the imaginings of cranks.
There are many, many manmade reasons salmon and sea trout populations are collapsing but now we know, and can no longer dispute the fact, that fish farming is a significant factor in this spiral of decline.
Policy, especially planning policy, must quickly reflect this science.