Displaying items by tag: Galway Bay
#AranIslands - Galway Bay FM reports that the Government is seeking EU permission to extend for another year the public service contract for the daily air service to the Aran Islands which expires in August
The €6-million contract provides for three daily return flights to Inis Mór and daily returns to Inis Meain and Inis Oírr (two on weekdays and four on weekends) in Galway Bay from Connemara Airport.
That was the message from Marine Minister Simon Coveney in the Dáil last week, as reported by Galway Bay FM, after it emerged that more than 400 submissions on plans for the State's largest ever aquaculture scheme were made to the his department.
The Dáil discussions came just days after a public protest against the fish farm plans in Galway - and some months after the National Inland Fisheries Forum lambasted as "flawed" the consent process regarding the proposed development.
Some 2,000 people amassed in opposition to the 500-hectare organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands proposed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), which if it gets the go-ahead would be the largest facility of its type in Europe and would double the State's production rate of organic salmon - one of Ireland's most profitable export foodstuffs.
BIM has previously accused environmental campaigners of being "deliberately alarmist" about the fish farm, despite concerns raised my Inland Fisheries Ireland over the potential impact of sea lice infestations on wild salmon in the bay.
Meanwhile, in a letter to the Galway Advertiser last week, Attymon resident Gabe Cronolly criticises a BIM leaflet informing the public of its proposals.
"The leaflet states that sea lice can only be held responsible for one per cent of salmon losses at sea, but fail to report that 39 per cent of mortalities in fish farms are attributed to sea lice," he writes.
#GalwayPort - A former director of Statoil has said Galway needs to look "10, 20 or 30 years ahead" to make use of the vast potential of the marine sector amid plans for the redevelopment of the city's port.
As the Galway City Tribune reports, Stein Bredal made a six-day visit to the City of the Tribes during which he proposed that proper management of the Galway Port scheme would create thousands of long-term jobs across a number of sectors.
He posited his home city of Stavanger in Norway as an example to follow. The city - with double the population of Galway - has become a service hub for Norway's west coast oil and gas fields.
And Bredal believes Galway could become the same for Ireland's offshore reserves, not to mention tourism (in the form of local hospitality and berths for cruise liners) and aquaculture (such as the proposed deep-sea organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands).
“You need someone in this city to think 10, 20, or 30 years ahead," he said. "You need to give hope to the young generation, that they don’t need to emigrate to Australia or New Zealand, that the service jobs can be located here."
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, fast-tracking of pans for the €200 million redevelopment of Galway Port is on the cards thanks to a clause in EU regulations that allows for planning applications to be made under IROPI (Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest) legislation.
#InvasiveSpecies - Dr Joe Caffrey of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) presented Ireland’s position on the threat of invasive alien species to Ireland's waterways at a high-level debate at the European Parliament in Brussels on 21 February last.
Discussions centred on the issue of invasive alien species in Europe and the development of an EU policy instrument to tackle the threats.
The debate, titled ’Biodiversity’s Ticking Time Bomb: Understanding and Addressing the Problem of Invasive Species in Europe’, was organised via the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Birdlife, with the support of the European Habitats Forum.
Dr Caffrey was one of nine speakers who presented to the large gathering where he addressed the theme ‘The challenges and opportunities of member states in implementing EU legal measures: the example of Ireland’.
The talks were followed by a highly interactive panel discussion during which the pros and cons of a dedicated EU legislative instrument on invasive alien marine species were debated. The results of EU deliberations on this theme will emerge in the coming months when a consultation document will be released.
In the meantime, IFI and EIFAAC will host the FINS (Freshwater Invasives – Networking for Strategy) Conference in Galway on 9-11 April which will address key topics relating to freshwater invasive species and harmful aquatic pathogens.
The conference is attracting a large international audience of policy makers in this area. The primary objective of the conference is to provide a forum where international scientists, policy makers and stakeholders will address designated themes with a view to informing management and policy development in this increasingly important area.
Minister Fergus O'Dowd, who recently launched the world's first angling kit to combat invasive species, said of the conference: “Invasive species cause some €12.5 billion worth of damage each year in the European Union alone and are a serious threat to native biodiversity across the continent. IFI is keenly aware of the threat to our own natural resources, particularly to our economy, health and recreational activities.
“I want to congratulate IFI on the lead it has taken in its scientific, practical and proactive approach to this issue, working with stakeholders on the front line to ensure that biosecurity awareness is paramount. They are also bringing Ireland’s first-hand experience to Europe and adding to the positive debate on an EU wide cooperative framework to safeguard our natural resources through legislation and knowledge transfer."
#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.
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.
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.
Tom Ward, 39, was last seen in Galway city centre on 7 February, and was reported missing by his family 10 days later.
Gardaí stepped up their search to the shoreline areas of Galway Bay adjoining the city earlier this week, enlisting Civil Defence volunteers to search as far as Kinvara in the south-east corner of the bay.
#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the DTTAS advises all seafarers off the West of Ireland that a hydrographic and geophysical survey operation will be carried out in Galway Bay from today Friday 22 February till Tuesday 26 February as part of the INFOMAR programme.
The RV Celtic Voyager (Call sign EIQN) is expected to carry out the survey operations. The vessel will be towing different senors from time to time with a cable of up to 150m in length for magnetometer and sidescan sonar.
The vessel will display appropriate lights and markers, and will be listening on VHF CH 16 throughout the project.
Full details, including co-ordinates, are included in Marine Notice No 08 of 2013, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.
#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.
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.
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.