Thursday, 10 March 2016

Major Escape of Farmed Salmon from the Clare Island Salmon Farm

Open Letter to Minister Simon Coveney
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine


Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney
Dear Minister Coveney,

It has been confirmed to Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC) by the Marine Institute in Newport that they were made aware on the 19th February by your Department of a major escape of farmed salmon from the Clare Island salmon farm around that date. GBASC were first made aware of this escape by an anonymous letter which I received on the 4th of March. We are furious that your Department or any other Government agency failed to notify the public through the media of this escape. This smacks of a cover up by Government agencies so as not to embarrass the salmon farm industry.

The public should have been warned not to eat the escaped salmon if captured, as they may have been dosed with toxic pesticides to kill sea lice shortly before they escaped, making them unsafe to eat, due to the fact that at the time of their escape they wouldn't have gone through a withdrawal period. These escaped salmon could end up in any river along the coast as they may follow the wild spring salmon that are now running the rivers. Scientific research from around the world shows that interbreeding between farmed and wild salmon can seriously damage the genetic integrity of the wild population in a river system which also has escaped farm salmon.

Escaped farmed salmon have, over the years been caught on the Corrib river here in Galway but no one could tell us where they escaped from, this is why we call for all farmed smolts to be microtagged before they are transferred to the salmon farms.  
 
Minister, could you please let me know the exact date when the escape occurred, how many salmon escaped, what size they were, and had they been dosed with pesticides before they escaped.
It is incidents like this escape, that are kept secret from the public, which reinforces our view that all open sea cage salmon farms should be taken out of the marine environment and transferred to on land Closed Containment Systems.

Yours sincerely,
Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages