BIM COMPLAIN OUR CAMPAIGN IS ‘VOCIFEROUS AND DETERMINED’
Yet another piece of panic copy coming from press desk of BIM in reaction to
the massive impact our PROTEST demonstration had yesterday outside the good food awards in the Shelbourne Hotel where both Taoiseach and Minister
excused themselves from eating ‘pre harvested’ farmed salmon. Mr Whooley
BIM is a highly paid CEO who will be out of a job if the Galway Bay mega
fish farm does not go ahead. He says the 75 cages that will litter Galway
Bay will create 500 jobs. They may create that number but the he fails to do
the maths and admit that we can kiss goodbye to a large portion of our
10,000 angling tourism jobs when the wild salmon fail to return due to
sealice and disease from the farmed salmon cages. Our campaign to shine some light on this foolish plan is attacked or maybe we should take it as a
complment to accuse us of being ‘determined and vociferous’ with no budget except using the few euro the angler has in their pocket to protect their
wild Atlantic salmon and their sport for future generations. That is our
agenda – BIM’s agenda is as always to survive no matter the cost to the
state as the book titled ‘Overkill’ by Edward Fahy clearly proves.
‘Sustainable’ is a word that BIM and Minister Coveney use frequently but do
not know the meaning of as yet. Maybe our Ministers charged with protecting
the wild salmon like Tourism, or Natural Resources or Environment or Heritage or even An Taoiseach from near the Moy Valley may educate him at
the Cabinet table this week.
Below is the article from BIM in the Galway Independent.
Time to realise our salmon farming potential
BIM’s motivation in applying for an aquaculture licence for an organic
salmon farm in Galway Bay is to create 500 jobs, generate raw material to
supply Ireland’s salmon processors and to assist in the export led recovery
by providing a €100 million per annum boost to our seafood exports, writes
Jason Whooly, Chief Executive of Bord Iascaigh Mhara
Opinion by Jason Whooley CEO BIM – Applicant for 15,000 ton fish farm in
Considering that the farming of salmon only began in the mid 1970s, it is a
remarkable achievement for the industry that it has now reached an output of
more than two million tonnes per annum. It is also a huge vote of confidence
by the consumers who eat tens of millions of salmon meals all over the world every day. Over that time, the industry has also brought jobs, wealth and prosperity to the coastal communities where it has become established.
It may come as something of a surprise to learn that 40 years ago Ireland
was one of the first European countries, along with Norway and Scotland, to
establish salmon farms. Since then, Norway’s industry has grown to the point
where today it supplies 1.2 million tonnes per annum, almost 60 per cent of
global output, making it that country’s most valuable industry after North
Sea oil. Meanwhile, Scotland has also become a major producer, accounting
for around 160,000 tonnes annually.
Unfortunately, despite our uniquely well suited environment for salmon
farming, Ireland still produces less than 15,000 tonnes a year. That’s less
than ten per cent of nearby Scotland’s output and just 1.25 per cent of
Norway’s. Unfortunately, output from the industry here has largely
stagnated, despite the fact that the Ireland has eminently suitable sites
for salmon farming and our organic product is regarded as the crème de la
crème of farmed salmon.
Just recently, the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries announced that a further
45,000 tonnes of salmon farming licence capacity would be auctioned to the
industry in 2013. This clearly demonstrates the Norwegian government’s
belief and commitment to the continued growth of the industry. The
determination and ambition of the Norwegian sector is impressive and the
leading companies there confidently predict that they will be producing more
than two million tonnes each year before the end of the current decade.
The Scottish industry, situated in the remote west Highlands and Islands,
also has ambitious growth plans. A local council there has just approved the
development of 46 new underwater cages at the Isle Martin fish farm in Loch
Kanaird, near Ullapool, while the near term strategy for the industry is to
increase their output by over 70 per cent. Their catch phrase is ‘220 by
2020’. It refers to their ambition to be producing 220,000 tonnes of farmed
salmon per annum by the end of the decade. This ambition is fully supported
by the Scottish Government, who appreciate the value of the sector, now the most valuable food export Scotland has, to the rural and national economy.
A recent detailed socio-economic study from Norway has demonstrated that
every 5,000 tonnes of farmed salmon generates a staggering 635 FTE jobs,
when all of the ancillary activities associated with the production and
processing of the fish are fully taken into account.
Based on that analysis, BIM’s forecast of 500 jobs for the proposed salmon
farm in Galway is actually highly conservative and, if anything,
underestimates the positive socio-economic benefit it would bring to the
Many reasons have been advanced for Ireland’s relative lack of success in
terms of the growth of the industry, but there can be little doubt that one
of the major factors influencing the growth of the industry has been the
determined and vociferous opposition from the wild salmon and seatrout
This opposition is puzzling when one considers that, in a recent study
published by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the anglers surveyed expressed
an overwhelming preference to go angling in Scotland and Norway. Given the success of the angling tourism sector in Scotland and Norway and the desire
of our anglers to go there to fish, it is evident that salmon farming and
sport angling for wild salmon and seatrout cannot be mutually exclusive.
Based on the Norwegian and Scottish experience, it may be seen that well
managed salmon farming and angling tourism generally are highly compatible
and can certainly coexist together without significantly impacting on one
So, why is so much credence being given to a small cadre of people with a
particular sectoral interest, using fair means and foul, to block the
creation of much-needed jobs in today’s Ireland? Other countries, even near
neighbours like Scotland, have seen the light and are forging ahead and
reaping the rewards.
Now is the time for Ireland to realise the potential of its marvellous
natural resources in this area. The global industry continues to grow
rapidly on the back of seemingly insatiable consumer demand. Asia is
projected to account for the majority of increased global demand. For
example, in 1995, per capita consumption of seafood in China was 7kg; by 2020 this is forecast to have increased to 36kg per capita. This explosion in consumption patterns in a country with one and a half billion people
tells its own story and creates a veritable tsunami of demand.
This increased global demand for seafood cannot be serviced from already
stretched stocks of wild fish but must inevitably come from aquaculture.
There is now huge scope to develop ‘near-offshore’ fish farms like that
proposed for Galway Bay.
BIM’s motivation in applying for an aquaculture licence for an organic
salmon farm in Galway Bay is to create 500 jobs in the remote coastal
communities around the bay, generate a new and sustainable source of raw
material to supply Ireland’s salmon processors and to assist in the export
led recovery of the economy by providing a €100 million per annum boost to
our seafood exports.
After careful study, based on the most up to date and comprehensive
research, we believe that this can be achieved in a sustainable manner and
without displacing the interests of any other stakeholders, including salmon
and seatrout anglers. The sky has not fallen in Scotland and Norway, there
has been no catastrophic collapses of wild stocks or inshore fisheries and
they are forging ahead creating jobs and exports. Their children are able to
stay, have a career and earn a decent living in the place where they grew
We in BIM will continue to try to explain our position and we can only hope
that local people will see the sense in what we are proposing and that the
development will be allowed to progress so that we can deliver on this
positive project for the coastal communities in Clare and Galway.