PRESS RELEASE – FISSTA- Federation of Irish Salmon & Seatrout Anglers
MINISTER MC HUGH MUST CHAMPION OUR WILD ATLANTIC SALMON – NOT WIPE THEM OUT WITH FISH FARM POLLUTION.
FISSTA’s campaign of consistent objection and intensive lobbying is preventing fish farmers from being awarded new salmon cage licenses. A private high powered meeting took place on January 31st last as reported in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post which was held in the Taoiseach’s offices with Marine Harvest CEO Mr Aarshog and the minutes confirm that extesive lobbying for new licences were made. Hoowever, it has now been confirmed by Dail PQ that Minister Coveney some weeks later on 6th March, travelled with BIM to Norway to meet up once again with Marine Harvest Ireland CEO Mr Jan Feenstra in Bergen, Norway. Mr. Feenstra, at this meeting outlined the rapid progress and development they were enjoying in Chile, North America, Norway and in particular Scotland compared to the stagnation of the Irish industry due to delays in licenses being granted by state. The main reason for such delays may be due to negative publicity of Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD) being highlighted by FISSTA and other NGO’s who oppose the applications in the mgratory paths of the wild salmon in their marine environmental habitat.
Following several FISSTA protests against the Coveney ten mega fish farm plan announced in 2012, FISSTA helped to establish local pressure groups such as GALWAY BAY AGAINST SALMON CAGES to focus on the massive Inis Oir 15,000 ton application by BIM. Following our successful protest GBASC has grown into an active opposition to fish farming in their own righ thanks to the their Chairman and long term FISSTA member Billy Smyth. To date, Minister Coveney has delayed his decision to grant or not grant the license to BIM despite suffering several significant developmental setbacks including the resignation of their CEO Jason Whooley. The Chairman of Fissta Mr Paul Lawton stated today that “We have won the science debates, we have won the economic and jobs argument, and following our research cooperation with our international colleagues such as in the ATLANTIC SALMON FEDERATION we have proven that open net cage technology as proposed by BIM is outdated and damaging to our marine. Despite these realities which seem to be ignored, FISSTA were concerned by the news that the salmon farmers lobby can access the highest level of Government (both Taoiseach and Ministers in the Dail and Norway) to lobby their case while our Federation can only rely on doorstepping them at their constituency functions as frequently as we can. I thank all our members and clubs on our 143 salmon rivers who wait patiently to object to salmon farm applications and lobby their local politicians on the ground to prevent the dreaded salmon cages of sealice and disease that decimate our wild Atlantic salmon.
Dail record answer to CiarÃ¡n Lynch T.D.
Parliamentary Question No. 517
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he attended a meeting earlier this year with a group (details supplied) in regard to fish farms; if he will make available the minutes and records of this meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– CiarÃ¡n Lynch.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 17th September, 2014.
Ref No: 34715/14
Marine Harvest Ireland
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine : (Simon Coveney)
On 30th January I met with representatives of the company referred to by the Deputy. The meeting was chaired by an Taoiseach. Officials from the Department of the Taoiseach and my Department were also in attendance. The meeting was held at the request of the company to discuss licensing and industry development issues associated with the companyâ€™s operations in Ireland.
As is appropriate, it was explained from the outset that specific applications which the company submitted to my Department for consideration could not be discussed in detail in view of the statutory basis of the assessment process.
There is always a strict separation between my Ministerial role as decision maker in respect of aquaculture licence applications and my Ministerial duty to promote the sustainable development of the industry. This separation of duties is always strictly observed.
I will be glad to forward my Departmentâ€™s report of the meeting to the Deputy as soon as possible.
I had a separate meeting in March of this year with the Chief Executive of Marine Harvest Ireland en marge of the North Atlantic Seafood Forum, in Bergen , Norway . I will also forward the record of that meeting to the Deputy.
Related article –
With regard to political lobbying see the following article from the Irish examiner.
Political lobbying – The power to influence Government
Political lobbying and funding political parties are two sides of the same coin. They are about trying to ensure that a certain view shapes Government decisions and legislation.
This is entirely appropriate in a democracy â€” but only if they are done in an open way and if all parties to the process are aware of the objectives and status of everyone involved. Parity of access, to adapt a well-worn phrase, for all views is essential too. Achieving that level of transparency is a huge challenge but one worth pursuing. Events of recent days showed what happens when those lines are blurred or ignored.
Last month the European Commission published the EU Anti-Corruption Report which showed that 81% of us believe corruption is widespread in this country, 5% above the EU average of 76%. Once again, events of recent days, in more than one sphere, justify those suspicions. While the report found that Government had â€œundertaken substantial reforms in its anti-corruption policiesâ€ it also suggested â€œmore work could be done to improve the capacity to prosecute and punish corruption casesâ€. The authors also argued that â€œfurther work could also be required to address the few remaining concerns around the funding of political partiesâ€. So many recent developments vindicate that contention.
One aspect of this murky business that does not get the attention it deserves is how access to the highest levels of power can facilitate one view and frustrate another. For instance, in recent weeks Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney shared a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Alf-Helge Aarskog, chief executive of Norwegian fish-farming world leader Marine Harvest who hope to secure more licences for salmon farms along our shores. Would â€” or have â€” those who oppose salmon farms been offered the same high-level opportunity to influence decisions? This meeting would not have come to light had Mr Aarskog not spoken of it elsewhere. It must be assumed these off-radar meetings take place on a range of subjects without the knowledge of other, equally legitimate, interests in decision-making processes.
The role of former politicians in lobbying is more than questionable too, especially if they move seamlessly from one career to the other. The practice of retired senior civil servants joining corporations interacting with the area of public life they were so recently involved in seems pretty dubious too. It should not be too difficult to put a clause into these pension packages that would prevent this gun-for-hire approach. Ex-politicians should be subject to a cooling off period too, one measured in years rather than months, before they could join a lobbyistsâ€™ register â€” if only we had one.
However, no matter how stiff measures to prevent inappropriate lobbying or funding are made it is impossible to hermetically seal something as human as government from those determined to influence it. It is not, however, impossible to impose convincing sanctions on those who would breach those disciplines â€”if we had them. That such measures are still pending suggests that Government realises, as we all do, that they would be honoured more in the breach than in their observation. We, it seems, get the politicians we deserve in more ways than one.
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WHO WE ARE
FISSTA- Federation of Irish Salmon & Seatrout Anglers are an all Ireland angling representative body and the voice of over 20,000 wild salmon and seatrout members in up to 90 affiliated clubs located on the main Irish angling waterways. Many FISSTA registered members fish for other species such as wild brown trout and also pursue the many ouutdoor nature based sports including shooting and hunting. To ensure our voice is heard more clearly, FISSTA cooperate and assist other organiastions in protecting our countryside way of life. FISSTA have signed an agreed Memorandum of Understanding with our shooting colleagues in the NARGC.
FISSTA were established in 1986 as an effective lobby group to improve and assist the lot of the Irish angler. Local anglers who want to develop and conserve their fishery need the help to get started and FISSTA have assisted many anglers to organise themselves into formally registered clubs on their local waters and by providing the most competitively priced insurance scheme that protects the personal assets of club officers and our registered membership.
We campaign for anglers rights and conservation of wild salmonid stocks. We seek fair access to angling waters for the local club angler at a reasonable cost and campaign for the right for a 7 year secure tenure for all Irish angling clubs leasing state waters.
As an umbrella body for anglers it is a strong voice for the conservation of salmon both nationally and internationally. Our motto is “Committed to Conservation” and continue to work to achieve the abundant return of the wild Atlantic salmon to our waters and our work has been acknowldeged worldwide. In December 2007, the Icelandic President awarded the Knight’s Cross for the many years of support for the wild Atlantic salmon.
FISSTA continue to campaign for the wild Atlantic salmon to return to abundance and the issues now are the increase of draft netting, pollution from fish farms, and develpment of our salmonid habitat. We seek new members who support clean water, the sport of angling and saving the wild Atlantic salmon.
Sent from the desk of
Noel Carr Secretary FISSTA
Federation of Irish Salmon & Seatrout Anglers.
Address: Teelin Rd. Carrick. Co. Donegal Office Tel: 00353 749730300