Thursday, 20 February 2014

Coveney must ‘withdraw completely’ from fish farm decision, says Welby

Coveney must ‘withdraw completely’ from fish farm decision, says Welby

IOFGA Express Serious Concern over Certification of Salmon Farms

IOFGA - IRISH ORGANIC FARMERS AND GROWERS ASSOCIATION obviously are very concerned about their continued certification of salmon processors and salmon farms and the negative image it is giving their brand as they UNANIMOUSLY Passed the following motion at their recent AGM on February11th "Membership of IOFGA have serious concerns about the certification of salmon farms and salmon processors and that a working group should be set up immediately to reflect that concern and report back to the AGM in the interim"

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Viable Solution We Want Salmon Farmers to Move Towards

Closed containment is a proven, viable technology, and is currently used to raise species such as tilapia, trout and salmon in Canada, the US and China. Whether sited on water or land, closed containment systems can:

  • eliminate or significantly reduce water column pollution from feed, feces and chemical waste and contamination of the seabed under farms;
  • eliminate escapes from the rearing facility;
  • eliminate marine mammal deaths due to interactions with farmed fish and nets;
  • eliminate or greatly reduce the risk of disease and parasite transfer to wild salmon; and
  • significantly reduce the need for antibiotics and chemical treatments in raising fish.
Because of these advantages, as well as advances in the technology itself over the last several years, closed containment has become widely regarded by scientists, conservationists, some salmon farming companies and the public as a more responsible alternative to net-cage aquaculture. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of salmon is currently farmed in closed containment due to industry’s overall resistance to change and the profitability of externalizing costs. Externalized costs are currently borne by society or the environment and not by salmon producers, such as ‘free’ waste disposal from open net-cage farms into the marine environment.
Closed containment technology not only enables salmon farming companies to be better, more responsible corporate citizens by minimizing or eliminating externalized impacts, it also eliminates or reduces costly problems inherent to net-cages. For instance, closed containment provides protection against the loss of fish through mass escape events or algae and plankton blooms that can kill farmed fish by the thousands as well as protection from sea lice infestations and disease.

By being able to control the temperature all year round, reduce and potentially eliminate diseases and parasites, control oxygen and carbon dioxide, the fish can grow to harvest size six months sooner than it takes in an ocean net pen. Almost all the water needed to grow the fish will be treated and reused with recirculation rates as high as 99%.

Atlantic Salmon Federation Reports
Closed Containment Facts

Monday, 17 February 2014

Identifying Escaped Farmed Salmon

Reference Book: Stock Identification Methods: Applications in Fishery Science

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Guidelines for Anglers that suspect they have recaptured an escaped Farmed Salmon

Guidelines for Anglers that suspect they have recaptured an escaped farmed salmon:

1. Do not return the salmon to the water.
2. Tag the salmon with rod or commercial tags issued with your licence under the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Regulations. (Blue, brown, red, white)
3. Contact IFI immediately and report where you caught the farmed salmon (estuary/river/lake).
4. Freeze the salmon whole and IFI will assist with the identification process.
5. If the Salmon is identified as a recaptured farm escaped salmon, your tag will be replaced.

Blackrock +353 1 2787022
Clonmel +353 52 6180055
Macroom +353 26 41221
Limerick +353 61 300238
Galway +353 91 563118
Ballina +353 96 22788
Ballyshannon +353 71 9851435

Please be advised that farmed salmon may be the subject of various treatments and may not be suitable for human consumption.

Signs that you may have caught a Farmed Salmon
  1. Rounded Head 
  2. Damaged Fins
  3. Missing or Partial Gill Plates
  4. Unusual Spotting

A farmed salmon from Bantry Bay (photo: Niall Duffy)

Monday, 10 February 2014

MINISTER Simon Coveney is due to answer a written parliamentary question this week on the reported escape of between 60,000 and 80,000 large salmon from a farm in Bantry Bay.

MINISTER Simon Coveney is due to answer a written parliamentary question this week on the reported escape of between 60,000 and 80,000 large salmon from a farm in Bantry Bay.

A statement issued by local group Save Bantry Bay yesterday confirmed the incident occurred on Saturday, February 1st, when a cage pulled its anchor and upended into another cage, allowing the fish to escape.
The local group, which said it had been monitoring the situation since the storm, said they were ‘surprised that the company has made no announcement’ and expressed concerns because of the ‘very real likelihood of further escapees. The protective nets have been stripped by the gales and the seas are overtopping the cages, allowing salmon to escape and predators like seals to enter’, the statement said.

The written parliamentary question, tabled by TD Clare Daly on behalf of Friends of the Irish Environment last week, asked if the Minister ‘will detail the damage to aquaculture operations during the recent stormy weather and in particular, the number of fish escaped as reported under the Licencing conditions for fin fish operations to his Department.’

The question identifies the company in Bantry Bay and asks if the Minister can assure the Deputy ‘that he is satisfied that escapees from salmon farms have not and will not have an irreversible impact on the genetic integrity of native wild salmon stocks.’

FIE Director Tony Lowes called the escape of farmed fish an ‘ecological disaster’. ‘The number of maturing fish that escaped in Bantry Bay are twice the world wide total of escapes in 2012,’ he said.
‘Not only can farmed salmon pass contaminants, parasites and pathogens to wild salmon, but escaped farmed salmon threaten wild salmon because they compete for food and mates. Because farmed salmon are bigger and faster-growing, they often win out. And when farmed salmon succeed in mating with wild salmon, they are liable to produce genetically inferior offspring. The term “frankenfish” is not scaremongering.’
Inland Fisheries Ireland reports that escapes ‘can lead to salmon extinction in their native rivers, particularly where wild stock numbers are low.’ Their ‘Factsheet’ reports that ‘In Norway, all classified wild salmon rivers have been negatively impacted by farmed salmon escapes. 8 salmon rivers have been critically threatened or have lost their native wild stocks.’ The news comes days after Marine Harvest, who produce 80% of Ireland’s farmed salmon, announced 2013 extraordinary loses of €6.7 million due in part to stormy weather preventing feeding and dosing with medicines. The Minister’s reply is due on Wednesday.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

60,000 to 80,000 Farmed Salmon have Escaped in Bantry Bay, Co Cork, Ireland

It is estimated that between 60,000 to 80,000 one year old  farmed salmon have escaped from a salmon farm at Gerahies, Bantry Bay, County Cork with an added undetermined number of smaller fish escaping after a bad storm on Saturday 1st February 2014. Save Bantry Bay said: ‘We are particularly concerned because of the very real likelihood of further escapees. The protective nets have been stripped by the gales and the seas are overtopping the cages, allowing salmon to escape and predators like seals to enter.’

‘Their licence requires that they report all escapes to the Department of Agriculture without delay and this information should be available to us all through the local media.’
The company must tell the public what is going on, even if they are unable to undertake a detailed survey of the remaining fish because of the unsettled weather. We need to know what measures the company is taking to prevent their further escapes.

The statement went on to explain that ‘The escape of farmed salmon is a potential disaster for our native wild stock. ‘These escaped fish interbreed and compete with wild salmon, transmitting disease and parasites to them. Farmed salmon compete with native stock for scarce food and irreversibly weaken the genetic makeup and survival of wild salmon if they reproduce with them.
‘Contained systems on land are the only way to protect the environment and raise salmon. It is clear now that the proposed expansion by Marine Harvest in Bantry Bay can not be defended’, the statement from the local group concluded.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Request for ‘redress for maladministration’ filed against Department of Agriculture - Irish Times

An EU inquiry into the prevalence of sea lice around salmon farms and their impact on wild salmon, which was closed in September 2012, is to be reopened.

The reopening of the inquiry follows complaints that information from State agency Inland Fisheries Ireland on the scale of damage caused to wild fish from lice associated with salmon farms, was withheld by the Department of Agriculture.

The EU initially sought information on the scale of the sea lice issue from Ireland as part of a larger EU study as far back as 2009.

Friends of the Irish Environment complained to the EU that a key report from the Inland Fisheries Ireland had been “suppressed” by the Department of Agriculture, which handled Ireland’s response to the Commission.

Friends of the Irish Environment said the Inland Fisheries Ireland report was critical of the effect of salmon farms on the prevalence of sea lice and the failure of Ireland’s programme to control the spread of sea lice.

This evidence was not included in the Department of Agriculture’s final submission in 2011, which preferred other evidence from the Marine Institute.

The Marine Institute claimed wild salmon suffered only a 1 per cent mortality rate from sea lice.

In 2012 the EU closed its investigation.

Friends of the Irish Environment subsequently submitted a complaint for “redress for maladministration” to the Office of the Ombudsman, which launched an investigation. The Friends also complained to the EU and to the EU Ombudsman’s Office.

The Friends said the Department of Agriculture may have a conflict of interest, as it is currently the licensing authority for and promoter of a large scale salmon farm in Galway Bay. The controversial 456 hectare site project ear-marked for the lee of the Aran Islands, is being opposed by a coalition of game anglers.

In addition to the reopening of the initial EU inquiry, the EU Ombudsman’s office has also said it is investigating the events, as is the Ombudsman’s Office in Ireland.

A comment was not immediately available from the Department of Agriculture this morning.

Ireland has until the January 15th to reply to the Commission.

Environmental and angling groups last week launched a Boycott Farmed Salmon for Christmas campaign at the Good Food Ireland awards in Dublin.