Salmon affected by sea lice. (Photo Credit: NSFAS)
Pesticide use in 'organic salmon' questioned by NGO
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 01:20 (GMT + 9)
The use of a product containing cypermethrin on Irish farmed salmon has been met with strong opposition by the Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), who describe it as ‘dangerous to fish and other aquatic life’.
The NGO made their position clear in response to Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM) Aquaculture Manager, Donald Maguire, who stated recently that ‘‘cypermethrin has been fully tested in the marine environment for toxicology to ensure it is safe."
The BIM argues that there are a number of licenced veterinary medicines permitted for use for the treatment of ailments in salmon farming. Cypermethrin is an active ingredient in a pesticide to be used for the control of sea lice on all Irish salmon farms, including the proposed ‘organic’ Galway Bay mega-farm off Inis Oirr.
What the FIE particularly questions is that salmon certified as ‘organic’ should be free of this chemical as it could pose a toxic threat to sea life. They claim Maguire’s affirmation is in direct contradiction to what the Irish Medicine Board (IBM) says.
"The Data Safety Sheet states that ‘According to Directive 67/548/EEC [Dangerous substances Directive] and 1999/45/EC [Dangerous Preparations Directive] cypermethrin is ‘very toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment."
In an official statement released on Sunday, the FIE say that "cypermethrin is a biocide which kills life, not a medicine which saves lives.
And it adds: "The sea lice it teats are not an ‘ailment’, as BIM suggests – they are an infestation of parasites. Cypermethrin is a chemical used with the 'intention of destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any harmful organism' ".
And the NGO adds: "It is a highly ecotoxic active neurotoxin. There are known effects on fish and, most sensitive of all, crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. Bathers and watersports may also be at risk. For this reason, the manufacturers clearly indicate that there should be no release to environment."
"Mr. Maguire’s position and that of BIM is without any scientific justification and contradicts the IMB and the manufacturers’ warnings. BIM have not even undertaken a base line study of lobster and crabs in Galway Bay," remarked Friends’ Director Tony Lowes.
The BIM has applied for a licence to farm Atlantic 'organic salmon' in deep water on the west coast of Ireland, a project with which it is intended to increase salmon production in the country and generate hundreds of jobs.
Currently, Ireland produces only 15,000 tonnes of salmon each year compared with 160,000 tonnes produced by Scotland and 1.2 million tonnes of Norway.
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By Gabriela Raffaele