Monday, 16 December 2013

Response from Consumer Association of Ireland

Dear Consumer Association, December 13th 2013

We have a huge concern regarding miss labeling of farmed salmon products on Irish supermarket shelves. We believe the consumer is being misled with fancy packaging that displays words such as Organic, Natural Salmon etc...

We believe the word Organic displayed on Farmed Salmon and Smoke salmon is completely wrong and only offers to manipulate customers into buying farmed salmon from supermarket shelves.

What can the Consumer's Association of Ireland do about this problem?

Yours Sincerly,
Ireland Against Salmon Farms

RESPONSE FROM CAI December 16th 2013

Thank you for your email. We currently work very closely with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland in relation to all regulation. Currently we are looking into the definition of ‘Artisan’ which will cover a range of foodstuffs. Specific to farmed salmon, this is being investigated at European level of which we are part of, through our membership of BECU.

Kind regards,

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Calls for Minister Simon Coveney to Resign over Salmon Farm Findings

People across the country are calling for Minister Simon Coveney to immediately step down as Minister for Agriculture amid perceived refusals to answer questions in the Dáil on the fish farm controversy. The proposal by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara to locate the 1,126 acre, 15,000 tonne, open caged salmon fish farm off Inis Óirr, is now halted pending an EU investigation and Minister Coveney now has until January 15 to explain the situation. The Galway Bay Protection Group, a body made up of doctors and medics concerned by the health implications of a fish farm, has welcomed the EU Commission’s decision but believe a public enquiry is also needed to examine the entire issue.

Meanwhile, Save Bantry Bay and Friends of the Irish Environment submitted Freedom of Information request for all documents relating to a previous EU investigation. Upon receipt of the documents it quickly became apparent vital evidence was suppressed, and requests were sent for the European Commission to reopen their investigations.

There is now a calling for Minister Coveney to step down as Minister for Agriculture.

Baffled by enthusiasm of salmon farm endorsement

Great article in the Southern Star dated December 7th 2013

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

9 new cages for Kilkieran Bay and 5 or 6 for Bertraghboy Bay in Connemara plus more to be added

The destruction of Kilkieran Bay and Bertraghboy Bay by our state. Nine new cages for Kilkieran Bay and 5or 6 for Bertraghboy Bay in Connemara and more to be added. You could practically walk to them from the shore and this is an SAC and SPA.

Again economically supported by Udaras na Gaeltachta and now run by a multinational salmon feed lot operator. Replacing salmon farms that never worked and got huge funding from Udaras na Gaeltachta in the past and this is a SPECIAL AREA OF CONSERVATION. It is a total disgrace.

Not much chance for the wild fish of Connemara...


Kilkieran Bay

Bertraghboy Bay

Boycott Farmed Salmon This Christmas

Consumers Beware! Our message for Christmas 2014 is don't buy organic/smoked salmon.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Galway Bay salmon farm halted as EU concerned by ‘Fundamental errors’ in scientific data

Galway Advertiser  November 28, 2013
By Kernan Andrews

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney
A public enquiry could result from allegations of flawed and suppressed information regarding controversial proposal to construct a massive salmon farm in Galway Bay. The allegations have already led the EU Commission to re-open an investigation on the farm and demand explanations from Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.

EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik re-opened Pilot Investigation 764/09/ENV1 following claims of “fundamental errors” in the analysis of key papers by the Marine Institute in Oranmore regarding the sea lice threat to wild salmon posed by intensive salmon farming; allegations that information from Inland Fisheries Ireland on the scale of damage caused to wild fish from lice was withheld by the Department of Agriculture; and perceived refusals by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to answer questions in the Dáil on the fish farm.

The proposal by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara to locate the 1,126 acre, 15,000 tonne, open caged salmon fish farm off Inis Óirr, is now halted pending the EU investigation and Minister Coveney now has until January 15 to explain the situation. The Galway Bay Protection Group, a body made up of doctors and medics concerned by the health implications of a fish farm, has welcomed the EU Commission’s decision but believe a public enquiry is also needed to examine the entire issue. It is seeking to raise funds for the holding of such an enquiry.

‘Fundamental errors’

The main reason Commissioner Potocnik re-opened the investigation is the emergence of new scientific analysis which called into question data that had been presented to the Department of Agriculture.
A team of four international experts from the University of Toronto, the University of Prince Edward, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, and the Scottish Ocean’s Institute at St Andrews reanalysed the data contained in three Marine Institute reports regarding the impact of sea lice on wild salmon, for the August edition of The Journal Of Fish Diseases.

The team found “fundamental methodological errors” in the all three Marine Institute papers and concluded the percentage of wild salmon killed by sea lice is not “one per cent” as claimed by the Marine Institute, but is actually “more than 30 times higher” - in effect one-third of the overall number of adult salmon. Two of the Marine institute papers form the basis of the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed fish farm.
On three occasions this matter was raised in Dáil Éireann by Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish, at the request of the Galway Bay Protection Group, Minister Coveney made no reply, except on once to say the Marine Institute protocols are “strictly evidence based” and “totally independent of the industry”.

In December 2012, Dep Grealish had already pointed to research that showed 39 per cent of wild salmon mortalities are attributable to sea lice. The new data and the Minister’s lack of response led the Galway Bay Protection Group and Friends of the Irish Environment to write to Commissioner Potocnik, leading to the new investigation. The commission has written to Minister Coveney, giving him until January 15 to “comment on the significant difference between the conclusions of the two studies”.

‘Serious Reservations’

Independent MEP Marian Harkin, who has supported the Galway Bay Protection Association and Friends of the Irish Environment on the issue, has welcomed this development. “This decision is a significant indication of how the democratic process can be used by NGOs to challenge possible infringements of process,” she said, “and to work with politicians to ensure there is no preclusion of valid evidence which may influence the decision by the European Commission.” MEP Harkin said allegations that important evidence by a State body appears to have been omitted and, as a consequence, the objectives of other State bodies were achieved, “is most worrying”.

The Dáil Public Accounts Committee is also being called on the investigate the financial outlay, and process employed, by Bord Iascaigh Mhara to promote the construction of the salmon farm by Galway county councillor Thomas Welby.

Cllr Welby had previously written to Minister Coveney in relation to deficiencies in the EIS regarding Amoebic Gill Disease, a disease which has to be treated by bathing the diseased fish in fresh water. The EIS made no reference to the disease, or the treatment, a process that would require huge amounts of fresh water.

Concerns had also been raised about the proposed fish farm earlier in the year. Galway county councillors wrote to Minister Coveney in March outlining “serious reservations” that the farm will “endanger wild salmon stocks and public health”.

In the Dáil that same month, Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne also called attention to discrepancies between stated figures. “BIM states that 90 per cent of salmon smolts from river catchment travel along the coastline up to the north Atlantic, yet local angling groups and the Inland Fisheries Ireland state that 90 per cent of the same salmon smolts swim deep into Galway Bay,” he said. “Which piece of advice is the correct one?”

Pesticides and salmon farms

The recent discovery of the chemical Teflubenzuron at hundreds of time the legal limit in the environment of a Marine Harvest salmon farm in Scotland highlights the dangers of releasing chemicals uncontrolled into our waters. The old attitude of ‘dilute and disperse’ has in fact wracked havoc with our environment, both in the air and in the seas.

Teflubenzuron is one of the chemicals used to try and control sea lice. These can harm and even lead to mortalities in the farmed salmon. Resistance to chemicals builds and sea lice are regularly recorded at levels where existing protocols require mandatory treatment.

In the wild, salmon return to fresh water to spawn and the lice fall off. Captive in our bays, under farm factory conditions, conditions favour the congregations of sea lice. If there are a million fish on the farm with just 1 egg–bearing louse each, the farm may release 500 million lice larvae. Even infestations at levels below which they affect the caged fish can infect wild salmon at distances of up to 30 kilometres.

Here in Ireland Marine Harvest, the Norwegian owned company that produces 80% of Irish farmed salmon, have stated that they ‘never used this medicine [Teflubenzuron] in our organic fish anywhere in Ireland, including Bantry Bay’. This, in fact, cannot be independently verified as the type, frequency of treatment, and volumes of chemicals used in any Irish salmon farm is not publicly available. The Regulatory Agency does not ‘hold’ this information and the companies (‘every stage of our production process is audited annually by independent bodies’) refuse it on grounds of commercial confidentiality.

We do however have Marine Harvest’s EIS [Environment Impact Statement] for the Bantry Bay proposed expansion. In volume 2 of 3 (Appendices) It lists Teflubenzuron on the ‘Marine Harvest Medicines Positive List‘ to treat sea lice.

Given that the Marine Harvest statement makes the point that Teflubenzuron is not used on ‘organic’ farms, let us look at two of the chemicals that are in fact approved by Marine Harvest for use on organic farms on the ‘Medicine Positive List’ in the EIS. These include Excis (cypermethrin) and AlphaMax (deltamethrin). Refered to in the EIS as ‘medicines’ or ‘chemotheruputants’, these chemicals are in fact ‘biocides’.

Medicines are a ‘drug or other preparation for the treatment or prevention of disease’. A theraputant falls within ‘that branch of medicine concerned with the remedial treatment of disease.’

Biocide is a word coined to match ‘advances’ in science in the 1940s. It is from bio (for ‘life’) and cides (a suffix for ‘the killing of the person or thing)’. Hence ‘pesticides’ and ‘insecticides’. Under the Biocides Directive, they are defined as chemicals used with the ‘intention of destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any harmful organism’. These chemicals come under the Biocides Directive as product type 18 – insecticides – but they do not appear on the Registry of Irish Biocides, as maintained by the Department of Agriculture.

They kill life; medicine saves lives. These chemicals are extremely ecotoxic active neurotoxins. Arthropods, and particularly crustaceans, are highly susceptible. There are known effects on fish and, most sensitive of all, shellfish such as lobsters. Bathers and watersports may also be at risk. For this reason, the manufacturers of both products clearly indicate that there should be no release to environment.

Even the Irish Medicines Board Information Sheets for these chemicals makes it clear that these ‘neurotoxins can only be applied to animals under specific conditions’, stating ‘Do not contaminate natural water with the product’.

In the UK horses can only be treated with cypermethrin if a veterinary certificate is supplied saying that the horse will not be used for human consumption. If the product was classed as a biocide rather than a medicine in Ireland, as it is under the Biocides Directive, its use would not be permitted unless it could be ‘scientifically demonstrated that under relevant field conditions there is no unacceptable effect’. 

According to the Galway Bay EIS (prepared by the applicant, the Government agency Bord Isca Mhara), ‘The volume of chemical used to treat a single pen of salmon [36 pens are proposed] is estimated at 3,333 cubic metres’. For comparison, an Olympic swimming pool holds 2,500 cubic metres. This will be discharged directly into the (once) natural waters of our Bays in spite of the fact that the manufactures do not support direct release of these neurotoxins.

The basic tenet of toxicology is that ‘dose makes the poison’. As the scale of emission increases, so do the risks involved. Exposure of non–target organisms is facilitated by the sheer volumes of chemicals that will be emitted.

To save money, the industry is introducing well boats. Into these floating swimming pools nets of fish, once anaesthetised (Tricaine mesilate, ‘permitted for organic fish’) are immersed in these biocides. After treatment the contents are flushed into the sea, creating massive poisonous plumes without any attempt to formalise the environmental risk assessment within the existing EU legal framework.

All with organic certification.

Tony Lowes

The Village Magazine September 2013

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

European Commission has Reopened an Investigation - Fish News EU

Fish News EU Reports 25 November 2013

THE European Commission has reopened an investigation into salmon farming in Ireland following the revelation that the country's Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine concealed vital information and relied on bad science when presenting their case.

In 2009 the European Commission investigated the impact of sea lice from salmon farms on wild salmon stocks. They repeatedly requested viewpoints of Inland Fisheries Ireland, the government body responsible for the conservation of wild salmon. IFI prepared a file, but the Department for Agriculture refused to forward it as it stated salmon farming put nearby wild salmon stocks at serious risk.

Instead, the Department of Agriculture presented a case that relied on a single study by the Marine Institute which suggested sea lice from salmon farms pose no problem at all. On the basis of this evidence the case was closed in June 2012.

During this time Bord Iascaigh Mhara was also using this faulty research to promote the massive increase in salmon farming around Ireland's coast.

However, in August the Marine Institute's research was discredited by an international team of experts. The damning critique was published in the Journal of Fish Disease – the world's most authoritative publication of the topic. Little has been heard of this study since, and the Marine Institute has yet to respond.

Meanwhile, Save Bantry Bay and Friends of the Irish Environment submitted Freedom of Information request for all documents relating to the EU investigation. Upon receipt of the documents it quickly became apparent vital evidence was suppressed, and requests were sent for the European Commission to reopen their investigations.

"The Department of Agriculture's history of presenting bad science as fact, and suppressing evidence of the negative impacts of salmon farming has finally caught up with them," said Kieran O'Shea, chairman of Save Bantry Bay.

Alec O'Donovan, secretary of Save Bantry Bay, added: "It is time for Ireland's salmon farming policy and the aquaculture licensing system to be opened to scrutiny. While the European Commission investigations may be confined to the impacts of sea lice, we ask that the Irish Government initiate a full independent review covering all aspects of the national salmon farming agenda."

Monday, 25 November 2013

Irish Government Department under Investigation of Cover Up

Salmon Watch Ireland Press Statement 24 November 2013

European Commission to re-open its investigation into the impact of salmon farming on wild salmon

(24 November 2013) - Salmon Watch Ireland welcomes the decision of the European Commission to re-open its file on complaints submitted to it in 2009 about the impact of salmon farm generated sea lice on migrating juvenile wild salmon. The complaints had been lodged by Salmon Watch Ireland (‘SWIRL’) and Friends of the Irish Environment (‘FIE’). The re-opening of the file has resulted from FIE drawing the attention of the Commission to the fact that an analysis of data about the impact of sea lice on juvenile wild salmons by the Marine Institute has been strongly contested by an eminent group of international scientists.

In addition to the re-opening of the Commission file, the Irish Ombudsman is conducting an inquiry into allegations that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine withheld from the Commission’s investigation of the SWIRL/FIE complaints a report from Inland Fisheries Ireland which gave a very different picture about the impact of sea lice and Irish efforts to control it, than that put forward by the Department; the Department has responsibility for both the development and the regulation of salmon farming. The Ombudsman has recently extended his investigation to include the actions of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the matter.

The Commission has re-opened its file on the sea lice issue as a result of its’ attention being drawn to a paper in the Journal of Fish Diseases in August 2013 which seriously questioned the analysis of sea lice data by a number of scientists from the Marine Institute (‘MI’) published in the same journal earlier in 2013. The Marine Institute analysis (in a version published in papers in 2011) was relied on by Bord Iascaigh Mhara in the compilation of its’ Environmental Impact Statement for the Galway Bay super-salmon-farm project. The authors of the August 2013 paper, led by Professor M Krkosek of the University of Toronto, concluded that were ‘fundamental methodological errors’ in the MI analysis and that rather than sea-lice having a 1% impact on survival rates of salmon at sea, the true rate is of the order of 34%.

Despite undertakings to do so, the MI have to date failed to respond to the Krkosek paper’s criticisms.

Commenting on these developments, the chair of the board of Salmon Watch Ireland, Niall Greene, said: ‘The decision of the EU Commission to reopen its file on the 2009 complaints of Salmon Watch Ireland and Friends of the Irish Environment, about the impact of salmon farm generated concentrations of sea lice on wild salmon, is a very significant development. Taken together with the Irish Ombudsman’s investigation into allegations that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine failed to transmit critical information relevant to the Commission’s investigations of the complaints, this means that the behaviour of the Department, of BIM and of the Marine Institute on salmon farming issues is once again now under close scrutiny’ .

Sunday, 17 November 2013

'Red tape', salmon farming and environmental threats

MR RICHIE Flynn wishes Minister Coveney would use his powers to fast-track decision making on salmon farms, reports The Southern Star on October 19th. Would this really benefit rural coastal areas such as West Cork? Quite the contrary, believes Save Bantry Bay.
Far from boosting local economies, salmon farming could be disastrous for these areas, destroying fish stocks, water quality, valuable tourism businesses and the angling sector.

Far from idling in a sea of apathy, as Richie Flynn suggests, Minister Coveney is actually making considerable efforts to increase Ireland’s farmed salmon output at an unprecedented rate. His plan is for Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) to develop a series of gargantuan salmon farms around the coast. The first, in Galway Bay, would alone double Ireland’s farmed salmon production in one fell swoop.
Unsurprisingly this proposal has met with considerable opposition – just as the proposal to expand salmon farming in Bantry Bay has.

Many of the objections focused on the impact of sea lice from salmon farms on wild salmon and sea trout.
Quick to respond to the controversy, BIM contracted a top marketing agency and the big sell began.
Soon came BIM’s and the pro-salmon farm lobby’s next big trump – the publication of a series of research papers by the Marine Institute which claimed the exact opposite to all other research to date, namely, that sea lice from salmon farms do not have a negative impact on wild salmon.

One paper actually stated there are more thriving salmon rivers in areas near fish farms than elsewhere. It didn’t take long for BIM, the Irish Farmers Association and the pro-salmon farm lobby to be using words like ‘definitive’, ‘conclusive’, ‘unequivocal’ when quoting these studies. The public was told that salmon farming is 100% sustainable and will be the economic salvation of coastal areas in south-west Ireland.

Now, all such claims have ceased. Instead a very obvious silence reigns. Why? The Marine Institute’s research has been rubbished by an international team of experts. It turns out that rather than showing sea lice have no impact, their data in fact shows they’re detrimental to the future of wild salmon. When the international team re-analysed the figures using more accepted methods, it proved sea lice are in fact causing a one-third decrease in nearby wild salmon populations – a figure that is almost identical to what other research studies found.

Given the backbone of the argument for the Bantry Bay and Galway Bay salmon farm was the Marine Institute’s research findings, BIM’s silence, in particular, is profound. For it is now clear, if the mega farms go ahead, some of Ireland’s most famous salmon rivers will be at risk of collapse.
So it seems that the Marine Institute, a government agency whose responsibility is impartiality, is happy to produce bad science, specifically to support a particular government minister’s policy. Its reputation lies in tatters.

To make matters worse, throughout this, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) scientific experts and environmental groups have been attempting to warn Minister Coveney that he is being misled. Their voices have been quickly shot down, with the response from government being that the Marine Institute’s research has given the final answer.

Simon Coveney did not want to listen. He thought he was covered, noting the Marine Institute’s research and further backing his case by stating the EU had closed an investigation into the impact of sea lice in Ireland. In May 2013, he informed the Oireachtas: ‘The European Commission has been very clear that it now accepts that the systems in place in Ireland to control sea lice and salmon farms are probably the best anywhere in Europe. As far as we are concerned, the sea lice issue is no longer significant.’


Shockingly, it turns out the EU case investigating the impact of sealice from salmon farms on wild Irish salmon closed following the Department of Agriculture actively withholding information from the European Commission. Had all the information been submitted, the case may have had a very different outcome. IFI had specifically prepared a report following a request from the European Commission that clearly noted the Department of Agriculture’s views were ‘not consistent with available information’. It made it quite clear the bulk of research pointed to sea lice from salmon farms having a significant and serious impact on wild salmon.

But the commission did not get this information. When Simon Coveney became minister, pressure was put on IFI’s supervisors at the Department for Communications, Energy and Natural resources not to submit IFI’s views.

Coveney is recorded saying these views ‘would not only be misleading but would also cause confusion in the public mind regarding sea lice controls and possibly undermine the state’s regulatory system… I would ask you to withdraw the formal observations of your department and to support the observations supplied to the commission by DAFF.’

The EU has now received information contained within the dossier released under the Freedom of Information Act and is considering reopening the case.
Today, Ireland is under threat of EU fines of €4m due to our government’s apathy in implementing environmental laws. Is this really what Richie Flynn desires? Maybe we should be thankful of that much-criticised ‘red tape’ in place to slow down the likes of BIM, IFA and the salmon farming lobby’s attempts to foist polluting industries on us, giving jobs at any price.
• Alec O’Donovan is secretary of the Save Bantry Bay group.


In one of her first actions as EU Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly has instructed her office to seek an explanation from the European Commission’s Environmental Directorate as to why they have not replied to allegations of maladministration brought by Friends of the Irish Environment in June of this year.

The allegations, contained in a 264 page dossier submitted to the Commission, allege that the European Commission failed to complete the terms of its investigation into Ireland’s regulation of sea lice on salmon farms and their impact on wild salmon.

FIE alleges that the terms of the investigation sought the ‘direct views’ of Inland Fisheries Ireland as the body responsible for salmon in Irish rivers. Citing communications obtained through requests under Access to Information on the Environment, it claims that a report entirely damming of the official Department of Agriculture submission to the EU was prepared by Inland Fisheries Ireland in 2010 and sent to the Department of Agriculture.
The Inland Fisheries Ireland Report, published on the FIE website, is a damning commentary on the official position put in by the Department of Agriculture in response to the EU investigation. It states that current practices ‘do not constitute good sea lice control’ and that that ‘Mortalities of salmonoids attributable to sea lice have been well documented.’

The Department of Agriculture suppressed the Report and told the Commission they had not received it, according to correspondence obtained by the environmental group. Consequently the investigation was closed and the Department of Agriculture announced a plan to create nine mega salmon farms along Ireland’s western bays. A licence application for the first, in Galway Bay, is now before the Minister for Agriculture.

The Irish Ombudsman has opened investigations into the role the Department of Agriculture in allegedly suppressing the Report. It has recently extended the investigation to the Department of Foreign Affairs, who acted as contact point for the EU, for maladministration in not ensuring the requested Report was provided by Ireland.

A response was promised by the Commission by September 2013 but to date none has been received. Consequently, FIE referred the matter to the EU Ombudsman who has instructed her officers ‘to contact the Commission’s services in order to explore the possibility of finding a rapid solution to your complaint.’

FIE Director Tony Lowes said ‘It is to everyone’s benefit that the investigations underway in Ireland and Europe are addressed as quickly as possible.’

Further information and comment: Tony Lowes 353 27 74771 / 353 87 2176316

Copy of EU Ombudsman letter

Index of all documents referred to and copies of all submissions:

Monday, 21 October 2013

Environmental Catastrophe along a Norwegian River

Its starting to look like an Environmental Catastrophe along a Norwegian River called the Vikedalselva. Reports on the ground are coming through that a major escape of farmed salmon has infiltrated the river in large numbers. Local fishermen along the Vikedalselva are reporting that the media are not covering the story and feel the issue is being totally ignored by the authorities. Salmon ladders along the river have been closed to purge developing fish...


There has long been concern that escaped farmed salmon may harm the various wild fish populations through hybridisation and altering the gene pools of wild populations (Hansen et al. 1991).There are several problems that can arise in this connection. If the farmed salmon have different characteristics and adaptations from wild salmon populations, gene flow may cause the wild salmon populations to lose characteristics that are crucial in a natural environment, while they adopt more of the farmed salmon's characteristics.

On the other hand, if the escaped farmed salmon have less genetic variation than wild stocks, gene flow to the wild population will cause individual populations to lose variation (Tufto & Hindar). Variation is essential for two reasons (Hedrick, 2000), evaluated from both a short-term and a long-term perspective. A population that loses variation and thus becomes genetically uniform will be less resistant to disease and parasites. Or put another way: it is easier for a parasite to adapt to a population of genetically similar individuals (few polymorphic loci in the population and low heterozygosity) and where the individuals themselves have little variation (the individuals have few heterozygous loci).

Additionally, in theory some of the harmful, recessive alleles will increase in frequency and produce less viable individuals (inbreeding depression). Studies just out (Reed & Frankham, 2003) empirically show that there is a good connection between fitness and heterozygosity, population size and quantitative genetic variation. Heterozygosity explains about 20% of the variation in fitness. In the long term, a population with little polymorphism will not have as great an evolutionary potential as a population with a lot of genetic variation.

All escaped farmed fish will come from a small number of farmed populations, which will lead to different populations becoming more like one another. It has also been claimed that coadapted gene complexes may dissolve. The following is an attempt to clarify relevant concepts and summarise empirical studies.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Salmon Labeling: "Responsibly Farmed" nothing short of a Lie

The labeling "Responsibly Farmed" on farmed salmon in Irish Supermarket Chains is a complete contradiction. Why you may ask? In the nutshell, science has proven the negative impacts Salmon Farms have on native species of juvenile sea trout and salmon. It is far from Responsible to place a salmon farm on any coastline in the direct migratory path of native species. Salmon farms have proven to be connected to the mass decline of sea trout and salmon in many river systems around the world. Lets not forget the famous sea trout collapse in Connemara after they placed salmon farms along the West Coast of Ireland back in the 80's.

And here we are in 2013 with major supermarkets chains trying to convince their unknowing customers that everything is ok since a label has been added to fancy packaging on farmed salmon with famous words like "Responsibly Farmed" or  "Organic". All to allay any fears or suspicions to the customer that anything is wrong. 

So the customer adds the salmon product to their basket and heads to checkout. The money from this bought farmed salmon then lines the pockets of the supermarkets and salmon farmers which is a multi billion euro industry.

The losers in this game are you the public, native fish species and local environment. Lets not forget the human health issue's associated with farmed salmon. The fish are artificially fed, dipped in chemicals and pesticides and grown in packed cages that hold up 250,000 salmon.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Farmed Salmon being Sold as Organic Produce

Organic Trust Ireland - Members website listing

Algaran Teo - Organic Seaweed Products Manufacturer

Algaran Teo is an organic seaweed products manufacturer.

Ardgroom Shellfish Ltd

Ardgroom Shellfish grow organic rope mussels in Ardgroom Harbour, Beara Peninsula, Co Cork

Clarkes Salmon Smokery

The Clarke family in Ballina have been synonymous with wild Irish salmon since Jackie Clarke first set up business in Ballina in 1945. A family…

Connemara Seafoods Frozen Ltd

Ireland's leading cultivator and producer of fresh, frozen, pasteurised and organic seafood products.

De Brun Iasc Teo

Ted Browne and his wife Hannah Mae started this family business from a garage in the back garden of their home in 1984.

Good Fish Processing (Carrigaline) Ltd

The Good Fish Company is a family run specialist fish processor and retailer, committed to providing the Freshest Irish fish and seafood to its customers.…

Ireland West Seafare

Top quality fish for sale.

Kenmare Select

Kenmare Select is a leading exporter of Irish salmon smoked in the country of origin!

Ummera Smoked Products Ltd

About Ummera ..... For nearly forty years Ummera has built up an enviable reputation for producing some of the finest smoked salmon available.

Wrights of Howth

In 1893 the Wright family began smoking Irish Salmon. The craft has been passed down through the generations and little has changed. We still fillet…

Yawl Bay Seafoods Ltd

We are a second-generation family business taking our name from the nearby Youghal Bay (pronounced 'Yawl').

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Manipulation and Confusion of the Consumer

Salmon Farmers have used the word Organic salmon on the packaging to manipulate and confuse consumers into buying their toxic farmed salmon.

The purpose of organic labels is to give consumers confidence that they can choose a product that has a significantly lower ecological footprint than that of conventional products. And, for many it may also be considered the healthier choice – a product free from harmful chemical residues that can be associated with intensive agriculture. Sadly, when it comes to organic farmed salmon this is not the case. It may come as a surprise to consumers to learn the farmed salmon organic label is instead masking a myriad of environmental impacts.

“What comes to mind when you think about certified organic food? Perhaps you think of food that is better for us and the planet. Food that avoids synthetic pesticides. Livestock that are fed a 100 per cent certified organic diet. It seems intuitive that the same organic principles that exist for land-grown organic produce, livestock and dairy should also apply to farmed fish. This is apparently not going to be the case.” David Suzuki Foundation, Canada, 2012.

The reality is organic farmed salmon:

• Contributes to the depletion of wild fish stocks
• Encourages non-organic aquaculture of other species
• Is treated with synthetic pesticides and antibiotics, which are released directly into the sea
• Emits vast quantities of fish waste, polluting the sea and contributing to harmful algal blooms
• Infects wild salmon and sea trout stocks with parasites and diseases
• Allows escapees to breed with wild salmon, weakening them genetically
• Causes mortalities of endangered marine mammals

These practices are inconsistent with current organic agricultural standards and not what consumers have come to expect from an ‘organic’ label.

Organic Salmon Farming in Ireland

Organic salmon farming dominates Irish fin-fish aquaculture. What is more, it is an area earmarked for a greater level of growth than for any other area of food production.
They key players: Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Donal Maguire and Jason Whooley from Bord Iascaigh Mhara; and Richie Flynn of the Irish Farmers Association; can be heard on an almost daily basis promoting the development of this industry. Interestingly, this growth is backed in policy documents Food Harvest 2020 and Our Oceans Wealth. Indeed, if we are to believe what they say, organic farmed salmon offers consumers around the world a healthy, sustainable choice of fish. But, is this true?

Depletion of wild fish stocks and encouragement of non-organic aquaculture

Salmon are carnivores, and in the wild their diet consists of nothing but smaller fish and crustaceans. The diet of farmed salmon must replicate that of wild salmon for them to gain the nutrition they need. However, here lies a problem – today’s fish stocks are highly depleted and many fisheries are deemed unsustainable. To combat this issue, the theory was organic salmon farmers would use filleting waste from sea fisheries that have won sustainable status from organisations such as the Marine Stewardship Council. Alternatively, farmed salmon could be fed on products derived from other forms of organic aquaculture. In addition, vegetable proteins could be used.
Unfortunately, this approach failed. Not enough of this sustainable fish waste, nor organic based aquaculture products are available to meet the demand. Research has also shown salmon fed on vegetable protein had reduced levels of omega 3 fatty acids that is claimed to be the primary benefit of eating farmed salmon. As a result, the rules have been changed to allow fish meal and oil from unsustainable sea fisheries and non-organic aquaculture operations to be used.
What does this mean? Today, organic salmon farming is supporting unsustainable sea fisheries, placing additional pressure on already strained global fish stocks, and encourages non-organic aquaculture practices.
In no other form of organic livestock farming are such practices allowed.

Chemicals, Pesticides and Antibiotics

The flesh of wild salmon is pink – a result of the crustaceans in their diet. However, as a result of their artificial diet, farmed organic salmon’s flesh is grey. Unsurprisingly, consumers do not want to eat grey salmon. For this reason, organic salmon farmers use the same colouring as is used by conventional salmon farmers. It’s called Phaffia, and is an industrially produced yeast that contains high levels of astaxanthin.
Organic salmon farms are also at liberty to use immunisations, chemical treatments and antibiotics to combat disease and parasites such as sea lice. Extraordinarily, most used today are not natural based products but the same chemically synthesised treatments used in non-organic aquaculture. As most treatments are given in-feed, they are released directly into the sea in the form of fish pellets and indirectly in fish faeces. This causes untold damage to marine life and valuable fish stocks (see below). Then there’s the additional issue of the development of anti-biotic resistance.
In order to control sea lice the legislation states that only two treatments are allowed per year. There is an exception where compulsory eradication is required. Given the on going presence of sea lice on Irish salmon farms, the reality is treatments are used on a far more regular basis to keep infestations under control. Currently, while organic salmon farms are required to keep data on chemical use, this data is not gathered by any government authority. When requested the government has been unable to provide it, instead directing interested parties to the operators who simply refuse to make this data public. This begs the questions: how can organic salmon farms be allowed to emit chemicals without any public record? And, what have they got to hide?

Stocking Densities and fish health

Another key issue in organic salmon farming is fish health. While organic salmon farms typically stock at half the density of conventional salmon farms, the reality is fish are still kept in very crowded cages a mere 40 metres in diameter. Regulations state that every 10kg of salmon has a cubic metre of water. This roughly equates to bathtub of water per adult salmon. In the wild salmon can live for up to 16 years and will migrate up to 14,000 kilometres. Indeed, the only resemblance between a salmon’s natural environment and an organic salmon farm is that the latter is suspended in seawater.
“Organic salmon farmers argue that they’re more humane as they stock at lower densities. But, they’re still taking a fish that would normally swim thousands of kilometres across the oceans and sticking it in a cage. Organic chicken farming does not allow hens in small cages even though they actually walk only very short distances.” Breda O’Sullivan, Save Bantry Bay.
As with all intensive farming practices that involve animals being kept as such high densities, salmon farming poses risks for uncontrollable spread of disease. In 2012, Ireland saw outbreaks of amoebic gill disease in organic salmon farms all around the coast, resulting in mass fish kills. In a desperate bid to save profits, where operators saw farms were at risk of being affected by amoebic gill disease, they slaughtered fish early with this stock then entering the market.

Pollution of the marine environment

Waste produced by a salmon farm (fish faeces) is high the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. An average size salmon farm of 14 cages produces waste containing similar quantities of these nutrients as would a town the size of Bantry. While no land based farm is allowed to discharge such waste directly into the environment, this is permitted in organic salmon farming. The result is reduced water quality, and an environment ripe for the development of harmful algal blooms.
Equally bad are the discharges relating to sea lice treatments. Sea lice are a copepod crustacean, and it should therefore come as no surprise that treatments designed to kill them also have a detrimental impact of other crustaceans such as lobster, crab, shrimp and prawn. Today organic salmon farming permits the use of pesticide based SLICE® (Emamectin Benzoate) which is very toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment; Alphamax® (Deltamethrin) which is toxic to crustaceous animals, and must not be used when local sea currents leads to risk of exposure; and Excis® (Cypermethrin) which is also hazardous for the environment, and is extremely dangerous to fish. Hydrogen peroxide, whose eco-toxicity is unknown, is also allowed even though it has been stated to be highly aversive to fish and can cause mortalities.
Any consumer purchasing organic salmon in the belief they are protecting the environment from pollution could not be more wrong. Yet, this is what today’s organic labelling scheme encourages.

Wild salmon and protected species at risk
All salmon farms experience sea lice. Research shows these sea lice emanating from salmon farms can cause anything from a 40-50% reduction in nearby wild salmon populations. Despite Atlantic Salmon being a protected species, whose numbers have been in rapid decline over recent decades, salmon farming continues to devastate wild populations. It is for this reason recommendations have been made that no salmon farm should be placed within 20km of a wild salmon river. Yet organic standards have no such requirement, and are often located only a kilometre or two of salmon river mouths.

Further problems arises as organic salmon farms import smolt (young salmon) that bears no relation to local wild salmon. As farmed salmon often escape, they in turn breed with wild salmon, weakening them genetically. Here again organic standards fail to protect wild salmon by not including on a zero escape policy
What is more, many other protected species including sea birds, seals, otters and small cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises) are attracted to salmon farms as a ready food source. They frequently get tangled in nets and drown. To date no measures to protect against predators have been completely effective. Seals soon become accustomed to acoustic scarers, birds continue to get tangled in nets covering pens. In Scotland, salmon farmers are now be awarded licences to shoot seals with almost 1,000 being shot in the last two years.

Organic principles call for the protection of the environment from degradation, erosion and pollution. So why is it that an industry that is associated with environmental degradation, habitat and species erosion, and pollution, is included in organic standards? Not only does this make a mockery of organic standards, it also misleads the conscientious consumers who chooses ‘organic’ salmon believing they are protecting the environment.
“When the Soil Association (UK) chose to certify farmed salmon using standards that still allowed the problems of open-cages to persist, it’s Chairman, Lawrence Woodward, resigned stating ‘Salmon farming in cages has nothing to at all to do with organic principles. It is very regrettable that the soil association has gone down this line of trying to certify something that is so distant from the principles.” BBC, Concern Over Organic Salmon Farms, 2006.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Ummera Smokehouse sells Farmed Salmon

This tastey looking and fanciful packaged piece of smoked salmon looks great to an unsuspecting consumer. Nowhere on the packaging does it state that the salmon is actually sourced from Farmed Salmon!

In an article online

"Owner Anthony Creswell's award winning Ummera Smokehouse situated in peaceful, rural West Cork, Ireland by the banks of the Argideen River, is a leading light in food production and environmentally friendly practices.
This second generation artisan, who took over the smokehouse his father Keith started in the 70's, has strived to develop the original fish smoking business whilst taking on board the impact that fishing for wild salmon has had on river stocking levels in recent years. To this end, Anthony chose a few years ago to make the changeover to sourcing organic farmed salmon from Clare Island Co. Mayo, as stocks of wild salmon were in decline. This change preceded the wild salmon fishing ban that ensued from 2007.

The fish Anthony smokes are the finest of specimens, organically farmed off the west coast of Ireland. Salmon are treated with tender loving care at the hands of this Master Smoker. In the cure, Anthony uses a mix of organic Portuguese sea salt and Costa Rican pure cane sugar before smoking his fish over wood chippings obtained from sustainable forests. Outside the smokery, a natural wetland and vermi-composting unit deals with waste from production. So this small eco-business produces fabulous artisan produce, thriving in the heart of its natural country surroundings, and doing little damage to the environment around it."

Monday, 29 July 2013

Scientists Issued a devastating new warning last night

Scientists Issued a devastating new warning last night about the safety of Scottish farmed salmon. They said the fish is so contaminated with toxic chemicals it should be eaten no more than three times a year.

Read more:

Friday, 21 June 2013

Darina Allen clashes with BIM over proposed salmon farms

Celebrity chef Darina Allen and the international Slow Food organisation have clashed with Bord Iascaigh Mhara over its proposed 500-hectare organic salmon farm off the Aran Islands.

Potentially Disastrous Situation on Irish Shores

The shocking image below was sent to us today and it really calls into question the Irish governments so called monitoring regime carried out by the Marine Institute and protocols which are proclaimed to be more advanced than any other jurisdiction. This Finnock was caught in the Kylemore River today, the 21st June 2013. The number of sea lice on this fish are way above trigger levels. This did not happen overnight.

To the best of our knowledge, there are two salmon farm sites in operation in Ballinakill Bay at Froachoileann which are operated by Bifand Ltd. This particular company has a history of problems with controlling numbers of sea lice, infact it was instructed to de-stock back in March 2012 by order from the Marine Institute. There is obviously a major sea lice problem yet again in Ballinakill Bay and the Marine Institute must investigate this potentially disastrous situation for our wild stocks. NSFAS do not have any faith in the present monitoring process or the agency tasked with carrying out the inspections as they are not effective.

We are calling on the government, the gaurdians of this state and its natural resources, to review the current sea lice inspection process. The inspection process, as it is currently carried out, makes a mockery of the claims by Minister Coveney that the controls in place “are generally regarded as representing best practice internationally”. It is not in anyones interest to have a situation whereby the operators of salmon farms are notified days in advance of any inspection. A completely independent angency, such as the EPA, need to be appointed as the monitors of the aquaculture industry in order for the policing of the industry to be carried out in a transparent and effective manner.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Protest March in Castlebar 27th of April 2013

The next anti salmon farm proposal protest is planned outside Enda Kenny's office  in Castlebar on 27Th April @ 1400hrs.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Minister Simon Coveney Goes Silent when Questioned

Aquaculture Question's in the Dail 26th March 2013
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: I asked the Minister whether a moratorium was in place or not. The question has nothing to do with a specific application. I am talking about a general policy issue of a moratorium which the Minister's Department put in place under the seafood programme. It is a simple question. Is there a moratorium in place under the seafood programme? Perhaps the Minister might answer that question in view of the issue I have raised in the House which has nothing to do with a specific application but with the generality of the moratorium in place.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Does the Minister have an answer?

Deputy Simon Coveney: No.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: As the Minister has no answer, we will move on.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: The silence says a lot.

Deputy Simon Coveney: There is no moratorium in place.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: There is.


The current National Development Plan states: ‘The targets for increased productive capacity for salmon will now have to be deferred until after 2013 at the earliest as a result of the amendments made to this programme… during the SEA (strategic environmental assessment) process’.

The concerns related to the negative impact of sea lice emanating from salmon farms on wild salmon, said SBB, and were submitted by the former central and regional fisheries boards and supported by the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR).


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Salmon Farming Cracked Open in its Honesty

Do you know what you are eating? Do you know the truth behind farmed salmon across the world?

Watch this video

Public Comments:

Jimmy:Very eye opening video! The threat of ISA and other fish deseases spread through fish farming or feed lotting practices, can also decimate wild, migratory Atlantic fish populations in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the other Atlantic provinces. It is very disturbing to me to see how Government hides data and uses intimidation tactics to cover up this real threat to a very important keystone species and integral part of our ecosystem, so as to protect big industry and trade agreements with other countries. These lying, blinky, shifty eyed politicians make me cringe.

John: Government corruption, disease, scientists gagged and almighty lies by the salmon farming companies. It's all in there, exactly the same thing that is happening in Scotland. This film is the wake up call to Scotland's people who care for the survival of Wild Scottish Salmon.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Connemera Sea Trout Collapse of the 1980's

The Famous Connemara sea trout collapse of the 1980's was a direct result of having salmon farms placed on the West Coast of Ireland. Connemara was a great sea trout angling destination but the salmon farms placed on the coast destroyed this angling sector. Connemara never recovered to this day. July 8th 1993 this parlimentary question was raised

20 Years later it seems nothing has changed and nothing learned. Only this time the worlds biggest salmon farm is being proposed by Simon Coveney. If approved, will have the capacity to wipe out ALL juvenile sea trout and salmon along the Western Sea Board of Ireland. Not only effecting the West Coast but the South Coast of Ireland together with German and France's migrating salmon smolts on which these salmon farms lay on their migratory path.

Not only now, is this an Irish issue but a very serious European issue effecting other countries.

First Global Study Reveals Health Risks of Widely Eaten Farm Raised Salmon

First Global Study Reveals Health Risks of Widely Eaten Farm Raised Salmon


Science Study Suggests Sharp Restrictions in Consumption

Albany, New York — A study published this week in a leading scientific journal found significantly higher levels of cancer-causing and other health-related contaminants in farm raised salmon than in their wild counterparts. The study, published in Science and by far the largest and most comprehensive done to date, concluded that concentrations of several cancer-causing substances in particular are high enough to suggest that consumers should consider severely restricting their consumption of farmed salmon.

The majority of salmon served in restaurants and found on grocery store shelves is farmed rather than wild. In most cases, as detailed in the study, consumption of more than one meal of farmed salmon per month could pose unacceptable cancer risks according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods for calculating fish consumption advisories.
 The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the U.S.’s largest philanthropies, sponsored the study. Pew has sponsored major research on fisheries including a number of widely reported recent studies on the deterioration of the marine environment.

Whereas earlier studies have analyzed anywhere from 8 to 13 salmon samples from individual salmon farming regions, the current study analyzed fillets from about 700 farmed and wild salmon produced in eight major farmed salmon producing regions around the world and purchased in 16 large cities in North America and Europe. The study’s authors, six U.S. and Canadian researchers representing fields from toxicology to biology to statistics, selected salmon samples to be representative of the salmon typically available to consumers around the world.

The researchers found significantly higher concentrations of contaminants in farmed salmon versus wild. In particular, four substances that have been well studied for their ability to cause cancer — PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin, and toxaphene — were consistently and significantly more concentrated in farmed salmon as a group.

Geographic Differences

Among the study’s conclusions, salmon farmed in Europe were generally more contaminated than farmed salmon from North or South America. Farmed salmon purchased for the study from supermarkets in Frankfurt, Edinburgh, Paris, London, and Oslo were the most contaminated and triggered consumption recommendations of one-half to one meal per month — based on U.S. EPA consumption advisories for these contaminants. A meal was considered to be an eight-ounce portion.
 Farmed salmon purchased from supermarkets in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Chicago, New York, and Vancouver triggered a recommendation of no more than two meals per month.
 There was slightly more variation in fish purchased in North America than those purchased in Europe. While farmed salmon purchased for the study in New Orleans and Denver were generally least contaminated — triggering a recommendation of about 3 meals per month — farmed salmon purchased in Boston, San Francisco, and Toronto triggered the more stringent consumption recommendations of the European-purchased fish.

"Ultimately, the most important determinant of risk has to do with where the fish is farmed not where it is purchased," said Dr. David Carpenter, an author of the study and Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany. "And because it’s a global market, it’s hard to be sure what you’re getting."

According to Carpenter, "Just because Europeans have the most contaminated farmed salmon, this doesn’t mean American consumers shouldn’t be concerned."
 With very few exceptions, farmed salmon samples tested significantly exceeded the contaminant levels of wild salmon, which could be consumed at levels as high as 8 meals per month. Even the least contaminated farmed salmon, from Chile and the state of Washington, had significantly higher levels of PCBs, dioxins, and dieldrin than wild salmon.

Contamination Likely Related to Feed

The Pew-sponsored study concluded that the contamination problem is likely related to what salmon are being fed when they’re on the farm. While wild salmon eat a diverse buffet from small aquatic organisms like krill to larger fish, farmed salmon are fed a concentrated and high fat mixture of ground up fish and fish oil. And since chemical contaminants a fish is exposed to during its life are stored in its fat, the higher fat "salmon chow" passes along more of these contaminants to the farmed salmon.

The study’s results confirmed this possibility when it found higher contaminant concentrations in salmon feed from Europe than feed from North and South America, a result roughly consistent with contaminant levels in European and American salmon.

Consumption Advisories and Recommendations

Given the overall contaminant levels found, if these were locally caught fish instead of fish purchased commercially EPA and many state consumption advisories would suggest that consumers restrict their consumption of farmed salmon to an average of no more than one meal per month. However, consumers need to be aware that in some cases even that could exceed advised contaminant exposure levels. EPA’s consumption advisories use acceptable lifetime risk levels to identify the maximum number of fish meals per month that can be safely eaten.

"If anything, the study conservatively estimates the health risks from the contaminants in farmed salmon," said the University at Albany’s Carpenter. The EPA fish consumption guidelines don’t take into account exposures people have to the same cancer-causing substances from all other sources in the environment. "They assume," said Carpenter, "that fish consumption is the only source of exposure people have to these substances; and we know that’s not true." "Also," according to Carpenter, "the recommendations only consider the risk of cancer and don’t take into account the neurological, immune, and endocrine system effects that have been associated with these contaminants."

Consumers interested in knowing whether salmon is wild or farmed should be aware that the word "Fresh" on the label does not mean the salmon is wild-caught from the ocean. And any salmon labeled "Atlantic" in the U.S. is almost always farmed. Salmon labeled "Atlantic" in other countries is most likely farmed. The authors recommended that governments require clear and prominent labeling of farmed and wild salmon as well as the country of origin of all farmed salmon.
 The authors also said their results strongly reinforced the recommendations of a July 2003 National Academy of Sciences report on dioxins in the food supply which called for reducing dioxin levels in animal feed such as fishmeal.

Since contaminants build up in the fatty tissue of the fish, the authors point out that consumers may be able to reduce their consumption of contaminants in farmed salmon by following the recommendations of many state governments and the federal government to remove as much skin and visible fat as possible. However, it is difficult to determine how much of the contaminant load can be removed in this way.

In assessing the human health risks of consuming farmed salmon, the authors of the study used U.S. EPA consumption guidance for PCBs, toxaphene, and dieldrin covering locally caught fish rather than U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for these substances governing commercially-sold fish because EPA’s recommendations are based on health effects only.

While FDA is the agency that actually regulates contaminants in commercial fish, unlike EPA FDA does not have consumption standards for toxaphene in fish, and the agency’s standards for PCBs and dieldrin weren’t set using purely health-based criteria. According to Dr. Barbara Knuth of Cornell University and one of the study’s authors, "Because the FDA regulatory levels take into account factors such as effects on the food production system, they were never designed to consider exclusively human health risk-which was the only concern we were looking at in this study."

"Plus," said Knuth, "the health and diet information and the technology FDA used to help set the regulatory levels for PCBs are 20 years out of date. We can detect PCBs at much lower levels today; new studies provide more information about the health risks associated with these substances; and people eat more fish today." In fact, both EPA and FDA have agreed that FDA levels are inappropriate for setting fish consumption advisories (see last paragraph on p. 1-5 in the EPA National Guidance for Fish Advisories).

Knuth said, "It’s this vast difference in the approach of the two agencies that explains why farmed salmon with these levels of contaminants could trigger such restrictive consumption recommendations based on EPA methods, but is still allowed to be sold legally in the U.S. by the FDA."

The annual global production of farmed salmon has increased 40 times during the last two decades — making inexpensive salmon available to consumers year-round. Between 1987 and 1999, salmon consumption increased at an annual rate of 14% in the European Union and 23% in the U.S. Since 2000, over half of the salmon eaten globally has been farmed, coming primarily from fish farms in Northern Europe, Chile, and Canada.

Largest study of salmon health ever undertaken set to begin in B.C.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Irish Times - Controversy Over Fish Farm

Sir, – According to Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland is uniquely blessed among the salmon farming nations of the earth – sea lice infestations generated by Irish salmon farms apparently have no impact on migrating juvenile wild salmonids (Business, March 4th). BIM apparently knows something that has escaped the governments of Canada, Norway, Scotland and even Ireland itself which all have active programmes of research into the phenomenon and how it might be controlled or, better still, eliminated.

The Norwegians are so worried about the impacts of farm-generated sea lice and escapes of farmed fish that they have for a number of years now had a moratorium on any further expansion of their salmon farming industry. BIM bases its position about sea lice on highly tendentious interpretations of just three scientific papers (all three of which they have contended at one time or another to have been published by the Marine Institute, notwithstanding the fact they were published in learned journals by individual scientists).

It has ignored the truckload of other published material on the subject of salmon farm generated sea lice and wild salmonids, virtually all of which comes to more or less the same conclusion – that badly sited and poorly regulated and managed salmon farms constitute a serious threat to juvenile salmon and sea trout migrating to their feeding grounds. It has also consistently either ignored or, on occasions, rubbished the warning signals raised by another State agency, Inland Fisheries Ireland. Provided that it has the legal basis for doing so it is, of course, fully entitled to apply for an aquaculture licence and to promote its project.

As an executive arm of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, accountable to a Minister and ultimately to the Oireachtas, it is not, however, entitled to engage in behaviour designed to mislead both the Minister responsible for issuing the licence and the public as to the potential collateral damage which its project may cause. As things stand, this case is heading for a long drawn out legal contest in the High Court and possibly even in the European Court of Justice. This will take years and cost the taxpayer and the non-governmental organisations opposing the project a small fortune in legal costs.

Would all interests not be better served by the Minister subjecting the entire project to a thoroughgoing independent, transparent analysis of the BIM environmental impact statement, the substantive case it purports to make and the extent to which it conforms with domestic and EU law? – Yours, etc, NIALL GREENE, Chair, Salmon Watch Ireland, Lisnagry, Co Limerick.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Video of the Protest March in Galway

Video of the Protest March in Galway against the proposed Giant Salmon Farms for Galway Bay.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Friends of the Irish Enviroment

Read This News Article at:

Irish Times: March Over Proposed 100million euro Aran Island Salmon Farm

Up to 2,000 people, waving placards and banners proclaiming “Save Galway Bay” and the names of more than 20 angling and protest groups, marched through Galway city at the weekend.

The march, which made its way from Eyre Square to the city’s Spanish Arch, was organised in opposition to Bord Iascaigh Mhara plans for a €100 million salmon farm to be located on a 456 hectare site in the lee of the Aran Islands, a mile from Inis Oírr.

Addressing the rally at Spanish Arch, Icelandic entrepreneur and wild salmon conservationist Orri Vigfusson said the proposed farm of seven million fish could destroy migrating salmon smolts from Ireland the UK and Europe.......

Read Full Article here

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Examiner Newspaper: Protests over Galway fish farm

Protests over Galway fish farm

Saturday, March 02, 2013 - 05:30 PM
Up to 2,000 people have attended a protest march in Galway city - voicing their opposition to the government's plans to build a 15,000 tonne fish farm off the Aran Islands.

Led by a lone piper, anglers and environmentalists from Galway, Mayo, Clare, Dublin and Donegal marched from Eyre Square to the Spanish Arch, where speakers including Independent Deputy Noel Grealish addressed the crowd.

Demonstrators are warning the government the €100m project in Galway Bay could destroy wild salmon stocks in the region.

Thoughts on the Mega Salmon Farm Planned for Galway Bay


Seamus Sheridan is Green Party Spokesperson Agriculture Food and Marine and Green party member in Galway West.

I’d like to address points and claims made in the glossy brochure that BIM sent to each house in Galway via The Galway Advertiser.

Ireland, and particularly the West coast, has a massive potential to create a sustainable, profitable and exciting aquaculture sector. Our clean waters, seaweed and algae resources, energy potential and fishing communities all combined with the excellent work and research being undertaken by the Marine Institute and NUIG set us apart from the rest of Europe. How we as a community choose to harness these resources however, needs foresight and wise consideration.

Read the Full Article at

Irish Times: Protesters Oppose 100million euro fish farm

Irish Times

Up to 2,000 people have marched through Galway City in protest at plans by Bord Iascaigh Mhara to locate a €100 million fish farm on a 456 hectare site in the lee of the Aran Islands.
The marchers who wielded banners proclaiming “Save Galway Bay” and the names of more than 20 angling and protest groups, were addressed at the City’s Spanish Arch by Icelandic entrepreneur and wild salmon conservationist Orri Vigfusson.

Mr Vigfusson said he was dedicated to restoring the abundance of wild salmon that formerly existed on both sides of the North Atlantic, and warned the Galway Bay project could “destroy” wild salmon stocks in the region.

The gathering was also addressed by the Mayor of County Galway Thomas Welby, Niall Greene of Salmon Watch Ireland, Brian Curran of the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers, Derek Hamilton of An Taisce, Michael Canney of Save Galway Bay, Enda Conneely of the Aran Islands, and independent TD Noel Grealish, among others.
Many of the speakers took issue with claims by Bord Iascaigh Mhara that fish farms do not cause environmental pollution.

Read the whole story on

Monday, 14 January 2013

Anti Salmon Farm Protest on March 2nd 2013

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2013 convening for 12.00 midday.
Place: Gathering at Eyre Square, Galway.

March through the town to the Claddagh where we will meet the boatmen with their boats and then on to the Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill. The hotel is the venue for the Skipper Expo and BIM will also be present at the show which may possibly be attended by Minister Simon Coveney or another minister.
The groups that were present at today's meeting and who will be co-operating jointly for this protest are as follows:-
  • FISSTA Federation of Irish Salmon & Seatrout Anglers
  • NARA National Anglers Representative Association
  • TAFI Trout Anglers Federation of Ireland
  • Salmon Watch Ireland. (formerly Stop Salmon drift nets Now)
  • The were also a good number of Angling clubs present:-
  • Tuam Anglers Ass.
  • Cregmore/Athenry Anglers Ass.
  • St. Colman's Anglers Ass.
  • Milltown Anglers Ass.
  • Corofin Anglers Ass.
  • Galway City Salmon Anglers
  • NSFAS No Salmon Farms at Sea
  • IFI also was represented.
We look forward to seeing you all there on March 2nd.