Yesterday, Sunday 24th November at FISSTA AGM in Athlone all delegates
welcomed the excellent EU commission news they are re-opening the case. This
news came following our joint protest with Friends of the Irish Environment
and Save Bantry Bay at the Good Food Ireland Awards at the Shelbourne Hotel
and the very high profile launch of the Boycott Farmed Salmon Campaign in
Dublin last Tuesday , we are delighted that the Commission has written to
FIE and others who have complained on our behalf about the salmon farming
situation informing us that the EU investigation is to be reopened.

The BOYCOTT FARMED SALMON CAMPAIGN have released a letter from the European Commission in which the head of the Environmental Enforcement unit has informed their members that the Commission is to reopen the EU investigation into salmon and sea lice closed in September of 2012.

The closure of the investigation without the views of Inland Fisheries
Ireland led to a series of ‘Requests for Redress for Maladministration’ to
the Government and the Commission.

The Irish Ombudsman announced a preliminary enquiry into the Department of Agriculture’s handling of the investigation in October. It recently
announced an extension of their investigations to include the Department of Foreign Affairs, who coordinate Irish responses to the Commission. ‘New
scientific information’ is given as the reason for the reopening of the
investigation. Scientific studies by the Marine Institute relied on by the
Department of Agriculture and BIM, who are applying for a license to double
national salmon production in Galway Bay, have been called into question.

An article by M. Krkosek of the University of Toronto and colleagues from
University of Prince Edward, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and the
Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St. Andrews and published in the Journal of Fish Diseases in August 2013 found ‘fundamental errors’ in
work by the Irish Marine Institute under the leadership of D. Jackson. The
authors demonstrate that if the data is interpreted correctly, the mortality
rates of returning salmon due to fish lice are not 1% as claimed but 30%. To
date, the Marine Institute have failed to respond which allows us all to
draw our own conclusions.

The Galway Bay Protection Association was also notified of the reopening of
the investigation. The group had provided the Commission with written
parliamentary questions tabled by Independent Galway TD Noel Grealish in
September and October about the errors in the Marine Institute’s work which
Minister Simon Coveney TD had not addressed in his answer.

Further elements that are still under investigation by the EU are outlined
in the detailed letters released by the campaigners. These include a new
examination of the Irish Government’s recent defense of the industry in
spite of an increase in sea lice on Irish salmon farms in recent years,
including 2013.

The EU Commission are also examining a number of documents and Reports,
including the damning condemnation of the Department of Agriculture’s
submission by Inland Fisheries Ireland obtained under Access to Information
on the Environment. They are analyzing this information ‘to determine
whether it provides sufficient scientific evidence to meet requirements of
burden of proof for allegations that Ireland is in breach of the Habitats
Directive as migratory channels will not be protected should the license be

Chairman Paul Lawton of FISSTA, who form the largest federation membership
group of the BOYCOTT FARMED SALMON CAMPAIGN said that at the recent launch
of the their Christmas campaign outside the Good Food Ireland Awards, the
reaction of the public and even speakers at the Good Food Ireland Awards was
that they were unaware of the issues. ‘Once people saw the weight of
scientific opinion they are astonished that the Government continues to
promote and license this form of food production after the recent food

FISSTA also welcomed the news that the new EU Ombudsman Ms. Emily O’ Reilly
had already engaged her office in the issue by communicating with our
campaign. “This is encouraging news, which makes it very difficult for
Ireland’s Minister Simon Coveney to approve a BIM application in Galway Bay
until investigations here and in Europe are complete. ‘We hope this will
give us time to show the public that this form of salmon farming is damaging
to the environment, to wild salmon, and to the consumer’s health’ said Paul

The Boycott campaign is supported by the following groups:

An Taisce 087 2411995

Aran Against Salmon Farms 086-8274636

Coastwatch 086 8111684

FISSTA – Federation Irish Salmon & Sea Trout Anglers 074 9730300

Forest Friends 087 619 8265

Friends of the Earth 01-6394652

Friends of the Irish Environment 087 2176316

Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages

Irish Seal Sanctuary 01 8354370

No Salmon Farms at Sea 087 2746755

Salmon Watch Ireland 086 826 9222

Save Bantry Bay 087 7949 227

Further information:

Secretary: NOEL CARR, Teelin Road, Carrick, Co. Donegal. Tel: 074 9730300
or 087 2352001

Note to Editors: FISSTA are an all island federation of angling clubs on the
main salmon and sea trout Rivers of Ireland. FISSTA are campaigning to
conserve the wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout against the impending
threats of sealice (emanating from salmon farms) and overfishing by the
granting of commercial draft netting licenses in estuaries.