Global fish producer Marine Harvest has applied for an aquaculture licence for a twelve to fourteen cage salmon farm at Shot Head, Adrigole, Bantry Bay.
The Location of the proposed Salmon Farm is Shot Head, Trafrask, Adrigole, Bantry Bay and it will cover an area of 42.4 ha equivalent to 106 acres.
A public notice was published in the Southern Star on 14th January 2012 informing the public that an Environmental Impact statement had been published and was available to the public who were invited to make submissions or observations within four weeks from the date of publication of the notice.
The Southern Star also published an article which was in reality a marketing speech for the proposed development.
In Febuary 2012 a meeting was held in Adrigole to gather views on the proposed salmon farm at Shot Head. A crowd of over 100 gathered, nearly all of whom were strongly opposed to the development. Concerns ranged from impact on water quality, wildlife, angling, fishing, tourism, shipping navigation, and watersports. Realising we needed to join forces, Save Bantry Bay was formed.
Since then a supporters meeting was held in Glengarriff, which over 200 attended. A media campaign established, resulting in local and national press coverage. A political lobbying programme developed, with all local TDs being met, as well as key Ministers. Website and leaflets produced, and demonstrations organised. And, we will continue this work until we achieve our aim.
Save Bantry Bay Groups´s position to proposed salmon farm is as follows:
Cork’s coastal and inland waters are a major asset in terms of tourism. It is estimated that the marine leisure sector supports 14, 500 jobs, [compared to the 250 employed by Marine Harvest nationally] There is considerable potential to increase this, which could be important throughout the County (East and West Cork in particular). The West Cork Strategic Plan and the Cork Area Strategic Plan emphasise the potential for development of marine leisure.
Both the Glengarriff and the Adrigole Local Area Plan emphasise the importance of marine tourism and the national importance of the landscape in the area:
In addition a significant level of income can be generated from wild salmon fisheries. The five main rivers that enter Bantry Bay are all salmon rivers. The contribution to the economy of one wild salmon caught by an angling tourist is estimated to be €423.
Farmed fish spread diseases and parasites to wild salmon. Some cultivated escapees also interbreed with the native fish, reducing the ability of their offspring to survive. Research finds that the mortality of wild salmon from farming is really large in many cases — more than 50 percent reductions every year, that is not sustainable for any populations.
The farm also pollutes the local environment with sediments from waste feed and faecal matter, nutrients and toxic chemicals used to treat the salmon for sea lice infestations and disease.
Drift nets are now banned and there is a real opportunity to develop wild salmon fishing which can generate numerous jobs and income to the local communities.
Commitments under the Bantry Bay Charter state that wherever possible, decisions affecting the Bantry Bay coastal zone should be taken on the basis of consensus; where general agreement amongst the local community is reached. This is so that the decisions can have the strongest support from within the community.