Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Creed Discontinues Mowi Fish Farm License in Kerry

22nd April 2019
1709 Views
Minister for Marine Michael Creed Minister for Marine Michael Creed

Minister for Marine Michael Creed has discontinued a license held by Norwegian multinational Mowi for a fish farm in Co Kerry.

A breach of license conditions at a smolt hatchery run by the Norwegian aquaculture company’s Irish division in Donegal has also been identified by Mr Creed’s department.

A third investigation by his department found no “provable” breach of license conditions at a salmon and rainbow trout farm run by the same company near Inishfarnard in Coulagh Bay, Co Cork.

Mr Creed’s decision to discontinue a fish farm license for the first time was taken under the Fisheries (Amendment) Act, 1997, which permits him to revoke or amend a license if he considers it in the public interest, or if he is satisfied of a breach of conditions.

Mowi, the world’s largest farm-reared salmon company, has its headquarters in Norway, and runs farms in Chile, Canada, Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Islands. It employs almost 300 people at over a dozen fish farms in five coastal counties here.

Its global operation employs over 14,000 people in 24 countries and recorded a turnover of almost €3.6 billion in 2016.

As reported in today's Irish Examiner, investigations by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine identified overstocking at Silver King Seafoods Ltd at Deenish in Ballinskelligs bay, Co Kerry three years ago.

The Kerry farm is licensed to harvest up to 500 tonnes (dead weight) of salmon in any one year, but harvested just over 1100 tonnes in 2016 – over 121 per cent more than permitted.

The breach is “significant”, the department says, and the decision to rescind the license under section 68 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 is “proportionate and warranted”.

“The company was fully aware of the limits set by the specific condition of the licence governing harvest tonnage,”it notes.

“Breaching licence conditions serves to undermine public confidence in the regulatory system, and therefore enforcement by the department of licence conditions is in the public interest,” it says.

The department says that an increase of 121 per cent in stock harvested from the site must increase its effluent discharge.

Mr Creed’s department also identified a license breach at a freshwater smolt cultivation site run by Comhlucht Iascaireachta Fanad Teo T/A Marine Harvest Ireland at Lough Altan, Procklis near Falcarragh, Co Donegal.

Under the license terms, annual production should not exceed 2.5 million smolts (two point five million) at the plant, which provides juveniles for seawater farms.

However,the department opted not to revoke the license, but to amend it, due to the “very serious commercial consequences for the company”. The department’s inspector had recommended revoking the license.

The department also decided to amend the license at the Inishfarnard farm in Co Cork where it found “no provable breach” in “circumstances where evidential issues may arise as to what technically constitutes a smolt”.

The license amendment is to “avoid a similar situation occurring in the future”, it states. Its inspector recommended discontinuing this license.

Mr Creed declined to comment on the decisions. Mowi/Marine Harvest said it was seeking legal advice and would comment further. It said it was “disturbed” by the fact that it had sought a renewal and improvement of the Deenish license back in 2007.

Environmental group Salmon Watch Ireland said it “welcomed the fact that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is doing its job”.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) welcomed the decision in relation to the Deenish fish farm in Co Kerry.

However, FIE spokesman Tony Lowes urged Mr Creed to reconsider his decision in relation to the two other fish farms, given the recommendations by the department’s own official.

“The high levels of overstocking means that the pressures on the environment have not been assessed, as required by European and national law. The overstocking also undermines the department’s sea lice control, where the number of lice is based on samples taken multiplied by the number of fish licensed,” Mr Lowes said.

Mr Lowes said that a “failure to deal vigorously with significant breaches of licence conditions is a result of the conflict of interest within the department between its role as industry developer and as industry regulator”.

“The Government must reorganise the department so that the Marine Institute and the Sea Food Protection Authority are administered by a non-fisheries division of the department,” he said.

Published in Fishing
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating