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

13th December 2017
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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.

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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