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Displaying items by tag: aquaculture

#MarineWildlife - If you've ever wanted to get closer to Ireland's marine wildlife, a new series of weekend excursions in West Cork may be just the ticket.

The Southern Star reports on the 'Discover Wildlife Weekends' being run from Rosscarbery by local company Ireland's Wildlife starting this April, where those taking part will be led by expert guides to explore the coastal region and have the best opportunities to spot the many species of whales and dolphins that visit our shores.

Weather permitting, the weekends will also involve some offshore whale watching in the company of 'whale watch supremo' Colin Barnes and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.

And birdwatching will also be a feature, as West Cork is a hotspot for our feathered friends - from merlins and peregrine falcons to coastal waders and more exotic fowl that skirt our coasts on their spring migrations.

The Southern Star has much more on the story HERE.

Meanwhile, marine sector stakeholders have expressed their concerns over the designation of six new offshore marine areas by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the six sites at Blackwater Bank in Wexford, the West Connacht coast, Hempton's Turbot Bank in Donegal, the Porcupine Bank Canyon off Kerry, the South-East Rockall Bank, and the stretch from Rockabill to Dalkey Island off Dublin have been proposed for designation as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect marine habitats and species listed on the 1992 EU Habitats Directive.

But at a recent meeting at the Irish Farm Centre in Dublin, a coalition of fish farmers, fishermen and marine energy stakeholders have hit out at what they characterise as "the appalling handling of inshore designations since the 1990s by the State", which they claim "has resulted in hundreds of job losses and a flight of serious investment" from Ireland's coastal areas.

“Our experience of the Irish Government’s application of the EU Habitats Directive has been a saga of mismanagement, foot dragging and buck-passing which has left over 500 fish farming licences in limbo for over 10 years and a backlog of red tape and bureaucracy which could see producers waiting until 2020 and beyond for simple renewals which are vital to underpin their businesses," said IFA aquaculture executive Richie Flynn.

"These new offshore SACs will have the same effect of preventing any fishing, marine energy or aquaculture being carried out in these areas if left in the hands of the same agencies to manage."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#FishFarm - Inland Fisheries Ireland has welcomed "a clear acceptance of the impact of sea lice on juvenile salmon" following a recent Marine Institute publication that identifies the effect of sea lice emanating from aquaculture facilities on wild Atlantic salmon mortality.

According to IFI, the paper published in the Journal of Fish Diseases "concurs with previously published international research" that it says establishes an incontrovertible link between fish farm developments and negative effects on local wild salmon numbers, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

It adds that "the debate can now progress to identify the best methodologies to reduce or eliminate this impact" as well as moves on "the issue of escaped farmed salmon".

In a statement on the new paper, IFI says the research "identified that just under 40% of released juvenile salmon showed a significant difference in return rate between sea lice ‘treated’ and ‘non-treated’ groups, indicating that mortality from sea lice is significant in 40% of the releases in the study. Unfortunately, there was a significant effect from sea lice in six different bays along the west coast over the study period.

"This recent study provides further evidence that salmon will be impacted by sea lice. The location of salmon farms in relation to salmon rivers and the control of sea lice prior to and during juveniles salmon migration to their high seas feeding ground is critical if wild salmon stocks are not to be impacted.

"The development of resistance to chemical treatment of sea lice and other fish husbandry problems, such as pancreas disease and amoebic gill disease, are likely to make effective sea lice control even more difficult in future years."

IFI also highlights the Norwegian government's concerns about the impact of sea lice and escaped farm salmon on wild salmon stocks.

The statutory body for the protection and conservation for Ireland's inland fisheries reiterated its support for "the development of a sustainable aquaculture industry" to "safeguard wild salmon and sea trout stocks into the future".

It adds that recommendations on the above issues have been made in its submission to the Department of the Marine on the Environmental Impact Statement regarding the proposed deep-sea organic salmon farm in Galway Bay, a scheme that has been the subject of controversy over recent months.

Published in Fishing

#FishFarm - RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland reports on last night's public meeting in Galway on the proposed deep sea fish farm in Galway Bay.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 500-hectare organic salmon farm proposed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) would be located off Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands, and would be the largest of its kind in Europe, set to double the State's production rate of organic salmon.

BIM's aquaculture development manager Donal McGuire moved to reassure concerned locals that the agency was "not about to damage [its] reputation" by "doing something foolish or doing something that will cause serious environmental damage".

McGuire added that organic salmon is Ireland's leading organic food export but is in "very very short supply", and that business would be lost to producers in Scotland and Norway.

However, the scheme has faced strong opposition from fisheries groups and local anglers citing the potential environmental impact on wild salmon numbers and the threat to tourism in the area.

At last night's meeting, RTE's western correspondent Pat McGrath says just two of the more than 100 in attendance spoke in support of the fish farm plans.

Another public meeting on the proposals is scheduled for tonight in Rossaveal.

BIM is expected to hold a public tender process for the proposed salmon farm project pending approval by Marine Minister Simon Coveney.

Published in Fishing

#FishFarm - Two Irish fish farms were found to have consistently high levels of sea lice over the past six months, according to new figures.

Undercurrent News reports on findings by the Marine Institute which show that a farm owned by Marine Harvest Ireland at Lough Swilly and one operated by the Mannin Bay Salmon Company in Corhounagh were "found to have levels of sea lice which exceed the Marine Institute's protocol level of two pregnant female lice per fish."

Sea lice levels at the Lough Swilly site in particular climbed from an average of 4.35 per fish to a high of 71.72 in September before dropping to a still-high 44.88 last month.

A statement issued by Marine Harvest played down concerns over the new figures, noting that "treatment trigger levels are set a low level" in Ireland compared to other countries, and that it uses "tried and tested procedures" to deal with such infestations.

It added that lice numbers can rise and fall in tandem with changes in climate, as experienced in the latter months of 2012.

As reported on Afloat.ie last month, a new international study says some 39% of salmon mortalities can be attributed to the impact of sea lice - predominantly from fish farms - on wild salmon fisheries.

In a press release, Don Staniford of lobby group the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) said: “The Irish Government should be controlling sea lice infestation on salmon farms not promoting even bigger feedlots such as the proposed 15,000-metric-ton farm in Galway Bay.”

Undercurrent News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Angling - Anglers on the River Feale in Kerry and Limerick have been assured by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) that it supports their concerns over the proposed deep-sea fish farm in Galway Bay, as the Limerick Leader reports.

Local anglers are among those throughout the region who have rallied in opposition to plans for the Aran Islands fish farm project, over fears that it would lead to “an explosion” in parasitic sea lice which would prey on wild inland salmon from Irish rivers feeding in the North Atlantic.

IFI reiterated its statement issued last month in which its board said it does not believe "that the corpus of peer reviewed international scientific literature which recognises the negative impacts of sea lice on salmonids have been adequately dealt with" in the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) as part of the public consultation process.

A spokesperson for IFI told the Limerick Leader that the authority has "major concerns about the location and scale [of the farm], as well as its potential impact on sea life. [IFI] is not supporting it in its current form.”

Earlier this month the National Inland Fisheries Forum also criticised as "flawed" the consent process regarding the 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm planned off Inis Oirr, which would be the largest of its kind in Europe.

If approved, the operation could more than double Ireland's current production rate of farmed salmon.

The Limerick Leader has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#FishFarm - The National Inland Fisheries Forum (NIFF) has criticised as "flawed" the consent process regarding the proposed deep-sea fish farm in Galway Bay which has stirred much controversy in recent weeks.

In a letter to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as part of the public consultation process, NIFF chair Derek Davis writes that the forum "considers the consent process to be flawed" as a result of "the decision making function being exercised by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food" in a number of circumstances, including where:

  • the applicant - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) - "has several appointees of the said minister at board level";
  • the State fisheries board "receives funding and policy directions from the minister's department";
  • public announcements made on the proposals and related concerns "indicate pre-judging of the issues";
  • any appeal following the minister's decision "would be dealt with by appointees of the minister"; and where
  • the "specific statutory basis" on which BIM authorises aquaculture operations "has not been adequately set out".

 

The letter reiterates Inland Fisheries Ireland's (IFI) criticisms of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) carried out on the proposed location of the 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands, stating the NIFF's believe that the document "is deficient in a number of areas" such as not adequately addressing wild salmon migration routes, and making presumptions on the potential impact of sea lice and escaped farmed salmon on adjacent fisheries.

The forum also has concerns regarding the public consultation itself, noting that requests for "specific scientific information used to underpin statements in the EIS" have not been followed through.

"The forum believes that on the basis of the information supplied, the minister is not in a position to make a positive decision on this application," writes Davis. "To do so would represent a failure to adhere to the precautionary principle" which applies "where there is uncertainty as to the existence or extent of risks".

The letter in full is available as a PDF to download HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

#FishFarm - A group opposed to the Galway Bay deep-sea salmon farm proposals has announced it will protest the constituency office of Marine Minister Simon Coveney this Saturday 15 December.

In a statement to the media, No Salmon Farms At Sea (NSFAS) said that it will join likeminded groups Save Bantry Bay, Save Galway Bay, FISSTA and Friends of the Irish Environment, along with other local and national organisations, in a protest march through Carrigaline, Co Cork to Minister Coveney's office in the town, where invited speakers will address the crowd to express their opposition to the fish farm.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 15,000-tonne deep-sea organic salmon farm would be located on a 500-hectare site in Galway Bay off Inis Oirr in the Aran Islands, and would be one of the largest projects of its kind in Europe, projected to be worth more than €100 million annually for the economy, according to Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

But the proposals have raised the ire of local anglers and conservationists who fear the development could have a negative impact on wild salmon numbers in the area.

"Minister Coveney has been a strong supporter of the aquaculture industry and we intend to let him know that his support is misguided and will result in catastrophe not only for our stocks of wild atlantic salmon and sea trout, but also for the communities and local businesses that depend on their very existence," said NSFAS.

The statement also cited the recent international study involving experts from Inland Fisheries Ireland which concluded that 39% of all young salmon mortalities are directly attributable to sea lice in areas where salmon farming takes place.

It added: "The highly inflated number of jobs, which BIM claim will be created, will be far outweighed by the number of jobs lost in areas where no other industry exists apart from that in tourism...

We have a world class sport fishery here in Ireland and our outwardly projected clean environment is one of our greatest assets. However it is fragile and will be destroyed if the salmon farming industry is developed further.

"Anglers and conservationists will do everything in their power to prevent any further destruction to our environment and already declining wild salmon and sea trout stocks."

Meanwhile, in today's Irish Times, angling correspondent Derek Evans writes that "anglers, stakeholders, hoteliers, restaurateurs, islanders and west coast citizens are 'up in arms' and rallying in large numbers in opposition" to what he describes as "this outrageous proposal".

He also backtracked on his previous claim about the location of the deep-sea farm as "a step in the right direction", explaining that he was contacted by a man living on Inis Oirr who said the location for the new fish farm is just "one land mile" opposite the beach, posing a threat to its tourism assets.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

#FISHFARM - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) is set to hold a public tender process for the development of the proposed deep sea fish farm in Galway Bay, according to The Irish Times.

Financiers around the world have expressed interest in the 500-hectare organic salmon farm to be located off Inis Oirr in the Aran Islands, though BIM said it was not at liberty to disclose who they are.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the proposed fish farm would be the largest of its kind in Europe, set to double the State's production of organic salmon.

BIM says it is already receiving inquiries for jobs from emigrants wishing to return home.

However the scheme has faced opposition from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and local anglers, who cite the potential threat to wild salmon numbers in the area.

IFI recently issued a statement regarding its submission on the project's Environmental Impact Statement, raising concerns about the scale of the development and the impact of sea lice - infestations of which are often concentrated by aquaculture.

The public consultation that began in mid-October is scheduled to conclude next Wednesday 12 December.

Published in Fishing

#GALWAY FISH FARM - In his latest angling column for The Irish Times, Derek Evans writes of his 'deep concern' over the proposed deep sea salmon farm off the Aran Islands in Galway Bay.

Making reference to new research that shows infestations of sea lice - which often concentrate in fish farms - pose a significant threat to the survival of wild salmon fisheries, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, Evans writes that the "untold damage" from such infestations would be "nothing short of catastrophic".

He adds: "While this latest proposal is a step in the right direction in terms of its 'off-shore' location, nevertheless, it will bring a plethora of problems, beginning with the size of its annual output and the 'baggage' that entails if and when it moves into unchartered waters."

Evans also points to the submission on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) made by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), which includes "an additional checklist for consideration including the location and dimension of this proposed farm; site characteristics; production process; potential impacts; monitoring; and organic farming", as well as suggesting an assessment of all wild salmon fisheries in the affected area, plus a full monitoring system and baseline study.

Evan's comments come in the wake of IFI's dispute with Bord Iascaigh Mhara over the exclusion from the statutory consultation of a report critical of the proposed salmon farm off Inis Óirr, which has faced opposition from local salmon anglers.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

#GALWAY FISH FARM - The board of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has issued a statement on the proposed Aran Islands deep sea salmon farm in Galway Bay, which has been the source of some controversy in recent weeks.

The board said it agrees with the recent statement by Minister Fergus O’Dowd on offshore salmon farming, and that it welcomes the development of Ireland’s aquaculture sector "once any development complies with Ireland’s obligations under relevant EU environmental legislation, particularly the Habitats Directive, and does not adversely affect salmon and sea trout stocks."

In addition, the IFI board said it has made a submission on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) for the proposed offshore salmon farm as part of the public consultation process, which is available on the IFI website.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the public consultation period began last month for the 500-hectare organic fish farm to be located off Inis Oirr. BIM has applied for a deep sea salmon farming licence at the site, which would be one of the largest of its kind in Europe. If approved, the operation could more than double Ireland's current farmed salmon production rate.

The IFI board's statement notes: "In the submission, concerns were raised in relation to the location and scale of the proposed salmon farm and how its development and operation could impact on wild salmon and sea trout stocks and their habitat.

"These concerns are based on scientific reports by respected authors and knowledge of the impact of existing fish farms on salmon and sea trout populations off the west coast of Ireland."

The submission also highlights "recent peer reviewed international scientific literature on the impacts of sea lice on salmonids" which poses a significant threat to wild salmon in Irish waters, as reported on Afloat.ie.

The board said it does not believe "that the corpus of peer reviewed international scientific literature which recognises the negative impacts of sea lice on salmonids have been adequately dealt with in the EIS".

While welcoming "any sustainable initiative which will provide jobs in rural coastal communities", the IFI board said it questions the figure of 500 jobs it's been reported the 15,000-tonne fish farm project would create, making comparison to a new 2,000-tonne aquaculture scheme in Scotland that's expected to create just four full-time positions.

The board members say they "have serious concerns that whatever the number of jobs created by the current proposal, they will be more than offset by the associated loss of jobs in the recreational angling and tourism sectors" if the scheme results in any negative effects on those areas.

"Ireland's reputation as a pristine wild fishery destination must be safeguarded," they added, noting that proposals for two further offshore salmon farms in Mayo and Donegal "are premature given that significant issues over the current proposal have not yet been resolved.

"No further applications should be progressed until all stakeholders are satisfied that the current proposal is sustainable and has no adverse impact on wild salmon and sea trout stocks."

Inland Fisheries Ireland is the State agency charged with the conservation, protection, development management and promotion of Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resource.

Published in Galway Harbour
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