In a letter to The Irish Times yesterday, Tony Lowes of Friends of the Irish Environment says that the delay – to allow for proper environmental studies to be conducted – "has been explained again and again" by Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney.
He was responding to a letter last Friday by Richie Flynn of IFA Aquaculture, who highlighted the "suffering" of coastal communities as a result of processes that "hamper development and delay investment in the hundreds of companies involved in farming salmon, oysters, mussels, trout and other species".
Lowes writes in counter that salmon farming "is a highly polluting industry", and that discharge of nitrogen and phosphorous from aquaculture facilities "can fuel toxic algae blooms, which have cost the shellfish industry dear".
He claims that the proposed salmon farm in Bantry Bay in West Cork would have a nitrogen and phosphorous discharge "equivalent to the sewage of a town 10 times the size of Bantry".
Lowes also alleges that the deep-sea "super salmon" farm in Galway Bay - the licence application for which is undergoing statutory consultation till 2 October - would produce the equivalent effluent of a city more than double the size of Galway.
"The EU habitats directive requires baseline studies and environmental impact statements," writes Lowes. "Licensees can be granted only if the project will not have adverse impacts on protected species and habitats."