Press Release: Aquaculture License Appeals Board demands further assessments as salmon farm may put protect bird species at risk

The Aquaculture Licence Appeals Board (ALAB) has asked the developers behind the Shot Head salmon farm to undertake further Appropriate Assessments as required by EU habitats law to ensure endangered birds are not put at risk. These assessments are to be completed by 23 September 2019, meaning any decision on the development of the salmon farm will be delayed, to no later than 31 March 2020.

Concerns remain that species of conservation interest, including Fulmar, Gannets and Guillemots are at risk in a number of Special Protection Areas including: Beara Peninsula, Iveragh Peninsula, Deenish Island and Scariff Island, The Cows Rocks, and Skelligs. Key concerns are the loss of 42.5 ha of inshore habitat used for feeding, as well as the cumulative impacts created by an additional fish farm in the area and the associated disturbance.

Save Bantry Bay welcomes the decision to undertake further screening. We have been saying all along the cumulative impacts of yet another fish farm in the area has been ignored. Many endangered species will be put at risk if we continue to ignore impacts by development in isolation of the wider environmental pressures and cumulative impact of them. It seems government has forgotten all the principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management, as enshrined in the Bantry Bay Charter. This is particularly pertinent today with the approval of plans to harvest kelp throughout the Bay, which will further exacerbate impacts on protect species” states Kieran O’Shea, Chairman of Save Bantry Bay.

Alec O’Donovan, Secretary of Save Bantry Bay adds “We are experiencing a mass extinction of wild salmon and our seas are in crisis. Yet we ignore all the warning signs in favour of continuing profit maximising developments rather than the more sustainable alternatives. Land based salmon farming technology is coming along rapidly and offers an economically viable alternative which puts no species at risk. It is time for Ireland to take the plunge and become a leader in sustainable management of its marine resources”.

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