Fissta recently highlighted their frustration with the Marine Institute assimilation of their advice to Minister Coveney. In a week where a major Scottish scientific report was released he announced the granting of a new open net sea cage license to Marine Harvest at Shot Head Bantry Bay Co Cork – as if he was acting on independent advice from Marine Institute. Fissta claim that as the Minister still allows his Marine Institute to be directed within his Fisheries Division, where such scientific evidence can be interfered with by the seafood industry.
Fissta welcome the press statement of our colleagues in Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages which we copy below.
GALWAY BAY AGAINST SALMON CAGES PRESS RELEASE
On a number of occasions during the debate on the Galway Bay proposed salmon farm, we have been told by BIM spokespersons that wild salmon stocks on the West Coast of Scotland were thriving and that the salmon farming industry was not having any effect on those stocks. We now find that the opposite is the truth.
According to a newly published classification of Scotland’s salmon rivers compiled by Marine Scotland (a Government agency) wild salmon populations have fallen below ‘safe’ conservation limits in all rivers in the Scottish west Highlands. (Please check links below) According to Scottish salmon conservationists ”the contrast between western Scotland and the rest of the country is clear to see, and the only major or substantive distinction between the east and west coasts is, of course, the presence of salmon farming in the west.” They also say that ”the fact that no single river within salmon farming’s heartland of the west Highlands and Inner Hebrides has a sufficient stock of wild salmon for any exploitation to be sustainable cannot be a coincidence.” The report recommends a no kill policy on the majority of Scotland’s rivers.
We have a similar situation here in Ireland where the majority of our 142 wild salmon rivers are below their conservation limits, with 87 of those rivers closed to the taking of a salmon.
Like the Scottish Government, our Minister Coveney, BIM, IFA aquaculture and the Marine Institute refuse to admit that sea lice/disease/escapes from salmon farms are detrimental to wild salmon and sea trout stocks and continue to promote this unsustainable, unregulated and environment damaging industry. They continue to wheel out the old reliable climate change excuse as the main and only factor for the decline of wild salmon.
Like our Scottish wild salmon conservation counterparts plea to the Scottish Government, we call on the Irish Government ”to halt any further growth in salmon farming until the industry can definitively prove itself to be environmentally sustainable.”
Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC) condemns the recent (15th September) granting of another salmon farm licence at Shot Head, Bantry Bay, Co. Cork by Minister Simon Coveney, as a totally reckless decision, which will put the wild salmon and sea trout in the 5 rivers flowing into Bantry Bay at serious risk. GBASC have, along with many other organisations, including Save Bantry Bay appealed his decision.
GBASC call on Minister Coveney not to proceed with the ridiculous mega salmon farms proposed by BIM for Galway Bay. This would have serious consequences for our wild salmon and sea trout stocks in the Corrib and other river systems around Galway Bay which would lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs in the tourist angling and shell fish industries in Counties Galway and Clare.
GBASC are asking the people of Galway, Clare and the Aran Islands to make the Galway Bay salmon farm proposal an election issue. We ask people to bring the issue up on the doorstep, to lobby your local TDs, Senators and Councillors and make it clear that you don’t want this unsustainable, unregulated and environmentally damaging industry in Galway Bay.
Chairman Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages,
10 Colmans Rd,
Brian E Curran PRO