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Concerns from Locals ‘Dismissed’ as Government Gives Go-Ahead for Seaweed Harvesting in Bantry Bay

13th December 2017
The Government has given approval for a large-scale kelp harvesting project in Bantry Bay despite strong opposition from local residents. The above image is a scene across Bantry Bay to Caha Mountains from Goat's Pass. The Government has given approval for a large-scale kelp harvesting project in Bantry Bay despite strong opposition from local residents. The above image is a scene across Bantry Bay to Caha Mountains from Goat's Pass. Photo: Ben Brooksbank Wikipedia

#BantryBay - A final approval from the Government has been given for a contentious large-scale kelp harvesting project in Bantry Bay despite strong opposition from local residents.

As the Green News.ie writes the license granted to Tralee-based biotechnology company BioAtlantis covers an area of 1,822 acres along the Beara and Sheep’s Head peninsulas. It is set to be the largest kelp harvesting operation on the island and is the first license to be granted in Ireland or Great Britain for the mechanical harvesting of seaweed.

The latest development comes as a surprise to the Bantry Bay – Protect Our Native Kelp Forest group, who met with officials from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government just two weeks ago to air concerns about the project’s potential impacts on the local environment.

Group spokesperson, Deirdre Fitzgerald said that the group was told “in no uncertain terms” that the final sign off for the license was “imminent”. The representatives from Bantry Bay left Dublin “deflated and upset” that the Government officials had “totally dismissed” the local community’s concerns, Ms Fitzgerald added.

She said that despite their campaign receiving national support and cross-party political support to pause the license, the community has been “ignored to allow this experimental project to proceed”.

In a statement, the Department said that the baseline study required to allow the project to proceed has now been approved after additional information had been examined by marine experts.

BioAtlantis have no further conditions to fulfill and can commence harvesting, the Department said, adding that it is “now a matter for the licensee to decide when it wishes to commence operations”. BioAtlantis confirmed the decision, with the company’s CEO, John O’Sullivan, telling The Green News that “harvesting is expected to begin shortly”.

To read much more on this development, click here.

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