Saturday, 27 December 2014

Ms Whites Article in Irish Examiner Spot On

Richie Flynn Executive, Irish Salmon Growers’ Association, executive of the Irish Salmon Growers’ Association…/no-fishy-tale-for-consumers-…

Is there something fishy about the health advice on farmed salmon?

Brendan O'Keefe Commented: Thank you Mr Flynn for leading me serendipitously to Ms Whites article. In the decades of debate on farmed salmon, her article has to be the most knowledgeable and enlightening to date. You need to apologise for your rude opening remark. Where there is any doubt she asks a question. I doubt M/s White has any conflict of interest in this discussion, but almost all of you reference sources have blatant conflicts.

It is crossing the line to recommend farmed salmon to pregnant mothers. The EFSA discussed advising mothers to avoid farmed salmon for six months or twelve months before getting pregnant, hard to believe.
It is a scientific fact that smoked food is cancer causing. MI Manuscript " Contaminants and Pollutants in Irish Seafood 2004-2008" had 90 farmed salmon and one wild salmon and an add for salmon in the middle of the manuscript, and the PCBs, mercury etc.uncouvered validated Ms Whites assertions.

Location of farm is also a factor. Roancarrig salmon farm is on the edge of Castletownbear harbour, one only need look at the Engineer's report on extension of Dinnish peer to call for specific monitoring of the salmon farmed at that location.

We can debate term Salmon of Knowledge, but not the Salmon Paradox outlined in the research of Prof. Floyd Chilton, Wake Forest U.
We need to have a scientific Aquaculture summit with emphases on salmon. We need to adopt the Precautionary Principle ECU Law in the mean time. Children's Health above Ocean Wealth.

SuprMammy Commented: Farmed fish, mass produced in cages, fed on artificial fèed which includes antibiotics, can hardly be described as healthy. Farmed salmon also has much higher levels of fat, which negate many of the clamed health benefits.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Concerns about toxicity from carcinogens, such as dioxins, PCBs (man-made hydrocarbons) in farmed salmon

Irish Examiner

SMOKED salmon is the easy part of Christmas. Throw it on brown bread, with lemon and black pepper, and the innocents will think it’s posh and that you’ve spent a lot.

But you can get 100g of Everyday Value smoked salmon in Tesco — “responsibly sourced from the waters around Scotland, Norway or Ireland” — for €3.59.

But, today, as many of us prepare for the big Christmas supermarket shop, the Friends of the Irish Environment have ramped up their boycott of farmed salmon, strengthened by the news that the international Slow Food Movement — which counts among its supporters Bridgestone’s Sally McKenna and that icon of Irish sustainable food, Darina Allen — has condemned intensive open-pen fish farms.

“Open-net pen aquaculture is not a solution to the problem of overfishing,” says Slow Food.

“It damages natural ecosystems on a local and a global level, including wild stocks, habitats and water quality.”

The Italian-based Slow Food Movement is dedicated to linking “the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment” and the FIE boycott campaign is appealing to our consciences about what they deem the dangers of farming salmon in cages in the open sea.

For example, sea-lice infestation among farmed salmon impacts wild stocks.

FIE reckons that between 12% and 44% fewer wild salmon are now spawning, but Bord Iascaigh Mhara denies that there has been any impact on wild stocks.

Most people can’t be bothered with the environment, when they’re Christmas shopping.

What they care about is a good price for a product that will make a starter Tesco calls “moreish”.

And farmed salmon is a healthy food, isn’t it? With all that Omega 3 and fish oils and low-fat protein, it’s a super-food.

Is this true? We don’t know.

Some reports show levels of Omega 3 dropping precipitously in farmed salmon, but there is so much money bound up in huge, multi-national fish-farming enterprises that we can’t rely on governments to tell us the truth about the healthfulness of farmed salmon.

Concerns about toxicity from carcinogens, such as dioxins, PCBs (man-made hydrocarbons), and BFRs (flame retardants), in North Atlantic farmed salmon have been circulating since the publication of research on contamination a decade ago.

Last year, the Norwegian ministry of health warned mothers-to-be and children not to eat more than two portions a week of Norwegian farmed salmon, because of its toxicity.

That’s more than most of us eat anyway.

But it was significant in Norway, headquarters of the global fish-farming multinational Marine Harvest, that its government was issuing any kind of health warning about its farmed salmon.

What was far more significant, however, was that the Centre of Norwegian Sea Products found a willing accomplice in the Norwegian government in hiding this advice from international markets.

Contrasting advice in English, featuring a family of little blonde Nordies tucking into salmon under the heading, “Salmon is healthy! And good!”, was provided by the centre and published on the Norwegian health ministry’s website.

A similarly misleading French translation was provided to the Norwegian embassy in France.

When the Norwegian journalist, Morten Stroknes, found this out there was war.

There were claims that the Norwegian authorities only cared about the health of Norwegians.

But what is probably more important is the wider issue, that, as Stroknes said: “It is beyond the mandate of the Centre of Norwegian Sea Products to give health advice.”

Just in time for Christmas, the Norwegian health ministry has lifted the warning on its salmon, with a report that was welcomed yesterday by Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

The report concludes that “the benefits clearly outweigh the negligible risk presented by current levels of the contaminants, and other known undesirable substances in fish”, and adds that the failure to eat fish once a week is the health risk.

“The change of tack by the Norwegians is, in our view, an acceptance of the very considerable consensus internationally, among a host of national food-safety agencies — who operate fiercely and independently on the consumers’ side — that the consumption of salmon, both farmed and wild, is not only safe, but advisable from a nutritional perspective,” said BIM.

The report has been launched in France with a huge publicity campaign, much to the disgust of the European Greens, who argue that salmon farms should be on land.

They say that the farmed fish was only tested for three toxins, which are decreasing in the environment anyway and that European-allowed toxin levels are 20 times lower for farmed fish than for meat, despite the fact that farmed salmon fat can have 10 times more pollutants than occurs in beef, poultry or pork.

They put this down to powerful Norwegian lobbying. But can we, in Ireland, trust agencies of the State to give us independent advice about the health benefits, or risks, of farmed salmon?

Why, then, at that meeting last January, between Marine Harvest, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Marine Minister Simon Coveney, did the latter promise that “the new structural changes in the Marine Institute will be monitored to ensure they produce a faster turnaround on scientific advice”?

What right does a commercial multinational have to dictate the amount of time it takes to “produce” scientific advice from a State-funded institute?

None, I would say, but Mssrs Kenny and Coveney obviously disagree. No wonder Marine Harvest considered the meeting “very constructive”.

And when you look for independent advice on the food safety of farmed salmon, what you get is sketchy.

In 2007, the Marine Institute brought out a leaflet reassuring Irish consumers about the level of flame-retardant contamination in Irish farmed salmon.

The Institute reported that the UK’s Food Standards Authority had found much higher levels of BFR contamination in a certain British river system, but had still ruled that eating one portion of the fish every week was “unlikely to represent a risk to health.”

The leaflet trumpeted the advice of our own Food Safety Authority of Ireland that eating one portion of farmed Irish salmon a week is “safe” and has “proven health benefits.”

The small print says the UK study’s results were “tentative” and admits that the Marine Institute only tested “a small number of samples”.

That’s particularly ironic, given that the European Commission’s stated reason for closing its investigation, in October, into the impact of sea lice from farmed salmon on the wild population was that they needed “uncontested scientific evidence.”

Uncontested evidence on the food safety of dead fish harvested for consumption is easier to come by and should be available to the Irish consumer.

There can be no grounds for suspicion that the intertwined economic and political interests of the Government have any influence whatsoever on the workings of the Marine Institute and, downstream of them, on advice from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

We have to be absolutely certain that the advice we are getting about the safety of fish farming, both to the environment and to our health, is wholly independent, or it will make a mockery of a people who count The Salmon of Knowledge among their founding myths.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Environmentalists in court bid for release of report into salmon escape

By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

An environmental group is going all the way to the High Court in a bid to secure the release of a Government report into a massive escape of farmed salmon. An estimated 230,000 salmon escaped from a fish farm in Bantry Bay last February.

The Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) group has been trying, without success, to acquire a Department of the Marine report into the incident, which Agriculture and Marine Minister Simon Coveney has not released.

FIE has now asked the High Court to require the Information Commissioner, Peter Tyndall, to rule on the minister’s refusal to release the report.

FIE spokesman Tony Lowes said they have asked the court for an ‘order of Mandamus’ requiring the commissioner to hear an appeal of the minister’s refusal.

The case is listed to be heard before the High Court on January 20.

Mr Coveney has refused to release the report on the grounds that it was an “internal communication” and that the public “interest would not be served by the disclosure”.

FIE appealed this refusal to the Information Commissioner, but he has not given the group a date by which he will make his decision, citing a massive backlog of cases.

Mr Lowes said he understands the commissioner is still working on 2012 appeals.

But he said the Bantry Bay matter is especially urgent given that a report on a similar escape of some 80,000 salmon in Clew Bay in 2010, was released to the FIE last year without any delays.

That report showed the Department of the Marine had not required the necessary inspections of the fish farm equipment, and had failed to enforce licensing conditions.

It read: “If a more rigorous/frequent mooring inspections programme had been in place it is possible — even likely — there would have been earlier detection which would therefore have avoided the November 2010 failures.”

A note on the report by a senior departmental official says it “clearly points to the fact that adequate systems in relation to certification, maintenance, inspection, repairs and records need to be in place for this type of installation”.

Mr Lowes said FIE are pursuing the Bantry Bay report in the belief it will show that little has changed over the last four years.

“Given the increasing severity and frequency of storm events due to climate change, it is vital that we see this report before the storms recur,” he said.