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Displaying items by tag: Aran Islands

#Fishing - The Irish Times reports that Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has expressed "serious concerns" over the findings of a new study on wild salmon in Ireland.

The State agency for Ireland's fisheries argues that the study - which concluded not only that pollution has a greater impact on wild salmon numbers than fish farming, but also that salmon catchments in close proximity to aquaculture schemes were some of the best performing - is based on flawed methodology.

IFI is among the chorus of voices opposed to the planned organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands in Galway Bay - a 500-hectare project by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) that would be the largest of its kind in Europe if given the go-ahead.

Marine Minister Simon Coveney recently attempted to alleviate concerns over the controversial scheme, claiming there would be no damage to the environment or fish stocks.

However, the controversy doesn't end there, as last month celebrity chef and 'Slow Food' champion Darina Allen wrote to the minister over erroneous claims in BIM's environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project.

As reported by the Galway Independent, Allen contacted Minister Coveney to clarify that the Slow Food movement does not support fish farming projects, after references to the initiative in the EIS "seemed to create a lot of confusion".

Allen told the paper: “Many people contacted me under the perception that Slow Food endorsed the whole salmon farm thing and actually Slow Food has made no statement whatsoever on it.”

Later, Michèle Mesmain of Slow Food International confirmed that “salmon farming does not fit in any pillar of Slow Food”.

The Galway Independent has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Surfing - A trio of Galway windsurfers completed the 95km round trip to and from the Aran Islands last weekend - setting a new Irish record for stand-up paddle boarding in the process.

The Irish Times reports on the successful adventure by Dan Gardner, Daniel King and Joe Gallagher, who embarked on the challenge to raise funds for the Galway RNLI lifeboat service.

Setting out before 5.30am on the morning of Saturday 8 June, they returned to the Galway Docks before 11pm that night - stopping at the halfway mark for lunch on Inis Mór.

The trio are each believed to have covered some 4,000 strokes an hour to make their record time of 17 hours 33 minutes. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

In other surfing news, the Sunday Independent reports on a website that's seeking to connect surfers of all levels with the right waves for them.

Waterford-based Liam Sinnott set up Swellseekers.ie with business partner James Hassey two years ago, filling a gap in the market for booking surfing trips online at a time when Ireland was only just emerging as a world-class surfing destination.

Though the site currently only takes bookings for surfing and other watersports in the Waterford area, Sinnott says he hopes to expand his site's scope nationwide by next year to serve a growing wave-riding community of "50,000 surfing all year round".

Published in Surfing

#FishFarm - The Galway Bay fish farm debate rolls on as Ireland's Marine Minister says there will be no damage to the environment or wild fish stocks.

Simon Coveney was speaking to Galway Bay FM last week on Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM) proposals for a deep sea salmon farm off the Aran Islands.

The 500-hectare scheme would be the largest of its kind in Europe and has the potential to create hundreds of jobs in the region. A decision on BIM's licence application for the development is set to be made in the coming months.

But the plans have been opposed by conservationists, local anglers and the even the State fisheries body.

Last Wednesday 22 May, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) published an FAQ on its concerns regarding the Galway Bay fish farm proposal, its own submission regarding the environmental impact statements attached to the licence application, and its reasons for avoiding a public debate on the issue.

"IFI is satisfied that its submission, which is supported by international scientific studies, clearly sets out its concerns and recommended measures for mitigation," it says.

Published in Fishing

#FishFarm - Galway Bay FM reports that Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has pulled out of a public meeting on the proposed Galway Bay deep sea fish farm scheduled for this evening (25 April).

The Sinn Féin-organised meeting at the Westwood Hotel in the city tonight was intended to be a debate hearing arguments from both sides regarding the controversial aquaculture project, according to the Galway Advertiser.

However, a statement issued by BIM - which is proposing the salmon farm scheme - claims that "recent statements from some angling groups" have made it impossible to provide a public platform for its side of the issue.

If the project goes ahead, the 500-hectare facility would be the largest of its kind in Europe. But it has faced strong opposition from local anglers and the State fisheries body Inland Fisheries Ireland over the risk posed by sea lice.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the proposed fish farm off the Aran Islands has even put local TDs at odds over questions of the potential benefits and hazards.

Meanwhile, the Galway Advertiser says that opposition group Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages plans to lodge their protest at the constituency office of Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Castlebar this Saturday 27 April as part of a nationwide campaign.

Published in Galway Harbour

#RNLI - Aran Islands RNLI in Galway Bay assisted six fishermen from a 24m trawler yesterday Thursday 18 April.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 4.20pm following a report that a fishing vessel, the Archangel, with six crew on board had got into difficulty and broken down one mile north west of Inishmore.



There was a six-metre swell at the time with a force seven to eight wind.



The lifeboat crew under coxswain John O’Donnell arrived on scene accompanied in the air by Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 - the subject of its own documentary TV series currently showing on RTÉ One - and established a tow line removing the vessel from any immediate danger.



The trawler was then towed back to Rossaveal in Connemara. 



Speaking following the call-out, Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat operations manager Michael Hernon said: "Thanks to the speed and efficiency of the crew in launching the lifeboat, we were able to arrive on scene in good time to assist the fishermen and successfully tow the trawler safely to shore."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#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.

Published in Galway Harbour

#FishFarm - A Galway county councillor has declared his reservations over the proposed deep-water organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands, as Galway Bay FM reports.

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.

Published in Galway Harbour

#FishFarm - Galway Bay FM reports that two West Galway TDs are at loggerheads over the proposed deep-water organic salmon farm for Galway Bay.

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.

But the plans have faced opposition from Inland Fisheries Ireland and local anglers, many of whom joined a 2,000-strong protest against the project in Galway city centre on 2 March.

Published in Galway Harbour

#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.

Published in Galway Harbour

#FishFarm - The Government 'will follow procedure to the letter' regarding the proposed €100-million deep sea fish farm for Galway Bay.

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.

Published in Galway Harbour
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