Location of BIM's proposed organic salmon farm (Photo: BIM/FIS)
Govt agencies face off on proposed salmon farm
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 02:30 (GMT + 9)
A proposed deep sea salmon farm off the west coast has two government agencies battling.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), which supports the farm’s development, claims it will create 500 jobs. Opponent Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says the farm will generate less than half of that number.
BIM has applied for a licence to raise 15,000 tonnes of organic-certified salmon each year in Galway Bay at 456 ha spread over two sites located 1.7km off Inis Oirr, “much further out to sea than conventional fish farms.”
Meanwhile, the IFI worries the location and scale of this venture may harm wild salmon and sea trout stocks.
“The board believe that Ireland’s reputation as a pristine wild fishery destination must be safeguarded,” the IFI said.
In contrast, BIM said that the farm’s distance from shore in combination with wave action and space will slash the risk of sea lice transfer to nearby wild fish.
In a submission, the IFI board said it believes that the plan’s proponents have failed to fully consider the potential damage to wild salmon and sea trout in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) prepared by BIM as part of the public consultation process.
“The board does not believe that the corpus of peer reviewed international scientific literature which recognises the negative impacts of sea lice on salmonids have been adequately dealt with in the EIS,” the submission states.
Regarding job production, the IFI said that the farm would not create 500 jobs and that instead, based on 2007 production and employment statistics, only 202 jobs would be generated.
Further, proposals for two offshore farms off Mayo and Donegal should be put on hiatus while agencies conduct thorough assessments until they are convinced that the deep sea plan does not jeopardise Ireland’s recreational angling industry.
BIM has said its salmon farm plan would yield salmon worth EUR 102 million per annum and local wages of about EUR 14.5 million for its workers.
- BIM applies for aquaculture licence for the first time
By Natalia Real