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Displaying items by tag: aquaculture

#FishFarm - As many as 2,000 people attended the protest in Galway against the proposed deep sea fish farm off the Aran Islands at the weekend.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the demonstration was organised by Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages on Saturday 2 March in opposition to the 500-hectare organic salmon farm proposed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

Among the speakers on the day, as The Irish Times reports, was Icelandic salmon conservationist Orri Vigfusson, who claimed the fish farm could interfere with the migration of salmon smolts from both Ireland and the rest of Europe.

GBASC vice-chairman Tommy Casserly also spoke, referring to the fish farm project as "a toxic cloud containing seven million caged salmon with all those faeces and chemicals and lice, between the Atlantic and 15,000 wild salmon which come through these waters".

Later in the day a delegation attempted to hand a letter of protest to BIM staff attending the Skipper Expo in the city, but said it was refused.

If the Galway Bay fish farm project gets the go-ahead, it would be the largest aquaculture facility of its type in Europe and would double the State's production rate of organic salmon.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

#Fishfarm - Galway Bay FM reports that a major protest is set to take place in Galway this weekend against the proposed deep sea fish farm off the Aran Islands.

Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages is organising the demonstration from Eyre Square on Saturday 2 March at noon in opposition to the 500-hectare organic salmon farm proposed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

The facility, to be located off Inis Oírr in Galway Bay, would be the largest of its kind in Europe and would double the State's production rate of organic salmon, cited by BIM as Ireland's leading organic food export.

However, the scheme has been facing 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.

Inland Fisheries Ireland is among those bodies that have expressed concern over the fish farm plans, citing research on the effect of sea lice emanating from aquaculture facilities on the mortality rate of wild Atlantic salmon.

BIM responded to news of the protest by stating such action may be unnecessary due to the appeal mechanism available in the State's decision process.

Published in Galway Harbour

#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
Page 5 of 7

Ireland's Commercial Fishing 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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