FISSTA continue to campaign for the wild Atlantic salmon to return to abundance in our Irish rivers and confront the issues that impedes this progress such as pollution from salmon cages in the open sea or estuaries. We work to support clean water for the enhancement of our salmonid habitat for the sport of angling and oppose the imposition of salmon cages and especially the ten mega fish farms planned by Minister Coveney, the first to be located in Galway Bay as applied for by BIM back in December 2012.

Chairman Paul Lawton states that “FISSTA are very concerned that our government have failed to protect our wild salmon resource to date and judging by the Marine Harvest meetings and minutes we have observed to date we fear that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine will sacrifice our wild salmon stocks in exchange for open net salmon cages that will ruin the remainder of our salmon and seatrout” he said. FISSTA believe the minutes give the impression of the Government as willing to facilitate Marine Harvest’s requests, and in effect, being an agent for the company and its business interests in the State. The appointment of Minister of State Joe Mc Hugh TD in July 2014 confirms that Marine Harvest’s proposals as recorded in the January 29th 2014 minutes could be interpreted as the government implementing them while proposals from FISSTA to end the licensing of open net sea cages from FISSTA fall yet again on the deaf ears.

Ireland Wild Atlantic coastline is most unsuitable for such an industry as the offshore farms are particularly problematic given that the widespread pollution and sea lice emanating from the cages have little or no availability of freshwater to treat such diseases as AGD. There is continuous danger of mass escapes such as the 250,000 salmon disaster last year in Bantry Bay which no compensation has been paid to the victims for their massive losses to date. Contained farms and on shore farms are the future of the industry and FISSTA have lobbied for the farms be moved out of the estuaries on to the land and the framework to do that has to be put in place.

The minutes obtained by FISSTA under a Dail PQ request relate to a meeting which took place on January 29th 2014 in Government Buildings between the Taoiseach, Minister Coveney, and senior personnel from the Taoiseach’s department and the Department of Agriculture, with Marine Harvest CEO Alf-Helge Åarskog and other high ranking members of the company. The minutes have sent alarm bells ringing among anglers, environmentalists, some sections of the scientific community, and many TDs and councillors who oppose An Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s contentious proposal to construct a 1,126 acre, 15,000 tonne, open sea caged salmon fish farm off Inis Óirr.

Serious questions about Government impartiality and independence over controversial plans to construct a massive salmon farm off Inis Óirr have been raised following the emergence of minutes from a meeting between the Taoiseach and a fish farm industry giant.

FISSTA are also worried by the request, made at the meeting by Marine Harvest, that the industry needs “a ‘champion’ to take a developmental role (as distinct from the regulatory role) to drive forward the interests of the industry and to co-ordinate interactions with the EU Commission and Inland Fisheries Ireland. The company felt there should be ‘one voice’ communicating with the Commission from Ireland in relation to the industry.

Chairman Paul Lawton concluded by stating “Such meetings illustrate that the Government may not be impartial on the issue and appears to have made up its mind to give the go-ahead, despite the serious scientific and environmental questions which have been raised about the effects of such farms on wild salmon stocks. That is why we in FISSTA serve notice of legal action now on Minister Coveney to cease all considerations and actions to approve this application in Galway Bay immediately. “Ends.


Chairman of FISSTA Paul Lawton serves legal notice on Minister Simon Coveney


FISSTA 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 also pursue the many outdoor nature based sports. To ensure our voice is heard more clearly, FISSTA cooperate and assist other organisations under the 250,000 members in the Irish Sports Coalition to protect our angling, salmon stocks and countryside way of life.

FISSTA receive no revenue from any State Bodies so we speak with an independent voice for the Irish salmon and sea trout angler.

FISSTA have failed as yet to convince Minister Coveney to scrap his and BIM’s ten mega fish farms plan first announced in 2011.

Our campaign titled “IRELAND AGAINST SALMON CAGES” continues to gain momentum while the FISSTA founded local pressure group called Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages have done Trojan work winning the hearts and minds of both politicians and the general public. The intense pace of our sustained campaign over the past three and a half years consisting of five major protest marches in Carrigaline, (Minister Coveney’s office), Castlebar (Taoiseach’s office), Dublin (BIM Aviva Conference) , Shelbourne Hotel (Good Food Irl awards). By far the most successful with over 2,500 turning out on the day took place in Galway city where our true and loyal friend to the wild salmon, international Goldman award winner Orri Vigfusson was the keynote speaker.

FISSTA have held meetings with An Taoiseach, Minister Simon Coveney TD, ministers and several key civil servants in our campaign to stop sealiced fish farms infesting our migrating smolts, but under Freedom of Information answers we now know so too are Marine Harvest who we are certain are very active seeking new licenses starting with a mega 15,000 ton one with over 70 cages near Inis Oirr in Galway Bay. FISSTA appeal for support to help with our Plan A, B, and C to save our wild Atlantic salmon and seatrout.

SECRETARY:NOEL CARR, Teelin Road, Carrick, Co. Donegal. Tel: 074 9730300 WEBSITE:WWW.FISSTA.COM