Displaying items by tag: aquaculture
#FishFarm - The expected debate between two State agencies at loggerheads over the proposed Galway Bay deep-sea fish farm failed to take place as planned over the weekend as neither body sent a representative.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had been expected to debate the planned 500-hectare organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands during the Galway Food Festival over the Easter weekend.
Organisers were informed at the last minute that neither agency would be involved in the public event, with BIM telling The Irish Times it did not feel it would be appropriate to discuss the matter in an open forum when negotiations were ongoing.
Both sides have differed over the potential impact on wild salmon populations in the area, with IFI citing research that damns the negative consequences of sea lice infestations in fish farms.
Despite their absence, the debate went ahead as scheduled, with local businesses on both sides of the argument expressing their views.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
Cllr Jim Cuddy said at this week's meeting of Galway County Council that concerns had been expressed to him by angling interests over plans for the 500-hectare aquaculture scheme in Galway Bay and its potential effects on wild salmon stocks.
His motion, which was seconded by Cllr Thomás O'Curraoin, comes in the same week as 13 seafood companies based in the City of the Tribes showed their support for the fish farm plans in letters of support to Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).
As reported earlier this week on Afloat.ie, two West Galway TDs were at loggerheads over the proposals, the planning application for which is still under consideration.
Eámon Ó Cuív of Fianna Fáil says Marine Minister Simon Coveney is showing inappropriate support for the aquaculture scheme proposed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara.
In response, Fine Gael deputy Seán Kyne reiterated the minister's own Dáil statement earlier this month that procedure would be followed 'to the letter' and that he could not take sides on the matter.
According to Galway Bay FM, the application for the 500-hectare fish farm, to be located off the Aran Islands, is still under consideration.
If greenlit, the facility would be the largest of its kind in Europe and would double the State's production rate of very profitable organic salmon.
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.
#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.
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.
#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.
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.