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 

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Closed Containment is the way Forward for Salmon Aquaculture

Closed containment is the future of salmon farming in B.C. Sea lice infestations, farm waste, disease and escaped farmed salmon could be distant, unpleasant memories if the salmon farming industry switches from open-net cages to closed containment technology.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Food Safety Authority Ireland upheld complaint against misleading labels of farmed salmon

Food Safety Authority Ireland upheld complaint against misleading labels of farmed salmon. FSAI says.. "We agree that they are in breach of legislation since they are are not clear in specifying which country the fish was farmed and both labels are misleading due to graphic which suggest the fish were caught at sea" 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Victory to Everyone Who Protested Against Galway Salmon Farm Proposal

BIM The agency had sought an aquaculture licence to construct a farm off the coast of Inis Oirr in 2012.

It planned to run a 15,000 tonne operation there.

The proposal met with widespread opposition among sections of the local fishing community. 

In a statement this afternoon BIM said it was withdrawing the licence application in light of a new Sustainable Aquaculture Development strategy.

This sets limits regarding the scale of offshore salmon farms and was contrary to the size of the proposed development in Galway Bay.

The decision has been welcomed by groups who had opposed the BIM plan.

Enda O'Conghaile, chairman of the Inis Óirr co-operative, said islanders had raised concerns about the proposal on a number of fronts.

Residents said the location for the development had not been properly analysed, they questioned BIM data regarding the impact and danger from sea lice and said the staffing levels on the farm were "way in excess" of industry norms.

Islanders are particularly pleased because they say the integrity of Galway Bay as a spawning ground for wild fish and its importance for shell fish has been safeguarded by Bord Iascaigh Mhara's decision.

A spokesperson for BIM said it would review its options in the next 12 months. The agency estimates in the region of €500,000 has been spent on the plan to date.

Brian Curran, Spokesperson Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages, welcomed today's decision by BIM and believes it was influenced, in part, by the campaign against the fish farm.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime he said he hopes the application has now been totally withdrawn.

Mr Curran said fish farms cause devastation to salmon wild stock and there are no controls and very little regulations. 

He said millions of euro and a lot of jobs have been lost in the Connemara area because of the salmon farming industry. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Report into salmon farm accident 'being withheld' - - Source Irish Independent

 A leading environmental group has accused the Government of withholding a report into a salmon farm accident which resulted in one of the largest-ever losses of fish in Ireland. Almost 230,000 fish were lost when storms battered a salmon farm in Gerahies, Bantry Bay, Co Cork, in February 2014.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have sought the departmental report into the incident, so as to clarify the regulatory regime governing such salmon farms. However, the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries has informed the group that the report will not be completed until December 31. FIE successfully appealed the department's refusal to release preliminary reports and correspondence.

The department had claimed that the release of any parts of the deliberative process of advising the minister what action to take would be "premature".

It also argued that the public interest would not be served by the release of material in this manner. However the Information Commission ruled against the department on both grounds. In his ruling last July, the Information Commissioner ordered the State to release a detailed report into the accident.

Peter Tyndall said that the department's arguments for refusing to release the information were not justified. He insisted there was a strong public interest in maximising "openness and accountability" in relation to how the Department of Marine and the Marine Institute carries out their functions. He said it was difficult to follow the logic of the department's claims that the release of the information could be potentially harmful to the regulatory process.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Farm Salmon Linked to Cancer Chemicals


The Food Standards Agency has urged people to keep eating Scottish farmed salmon after a scientific report claimed it is so full of pollutant chemicals it should only be eaten a maximum of three times a year. Levels of 14 toxins were significantly higher in both European and North American farm-raised salmon than in fish caught in the wild.

The pollutants, which come under the banner of organochlorines, included chemicals which persist in the environment and are potential cancer triggers. Four of the most hazardous - PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin and toxaphene - were used to calculate consumption safety guidelines. The researchers recommended that only a half to one meal - defined as eight ounces of uncooked meat - of farmed salmon bought from supermarkets in London and Edinburgh should be eaten per month. This was the maximum amount that could be consumed before boosting the risk of cancer by at least one case in 100,000.

The same guidance applied to salmon bought from Frankfurt, Paris, Oslo, Boston, San Francisco and Toronto. The most contaminated fish came from farms in Scotland and the Faroe Islands, Denmark. For these, the monthly limit was a mere quarter of a serving, equating to three servings per year.
Wild salmon, on the other hand, could be consumed at levels as high as eight meals per month.
But the Food Standards Agency pointed out that the dioxins and PCBs found in the study were within safety levels set by the World Health Organisation and European Commission.

FSA chairman Sir John Krebs said: "This study shows that the levels of dioxins and PCBs in salmon are within internationally recognised safety limits and confirms previous studies by the FSA. Our advice is that people should consume at least two portions of fish a week - one of which should be oily like salmon. There is good evidence that eating oily fish reduces the risk of death from recurrent heart attacks and that there is a similar effect in relation to first heart attacks."

Monday, 26 October 2015

Appeal Cites Records Showing Company Refused to Cooperate with Audits by the Department of Agriculture and by the Marine Institute

An appeal has been lodged against the Norwegian multinational Marine Harvest’s application for a salmon farming expansion in Bantry Bay that claims the applicant is not a ‘fit person’ to hold a licence.

The appeal cites records showing the company refused to cooperate with audits by the Department of Agriculture and by the Marine Institute in 2013 and 2014.

The claims are based on records released to Friends of the Irish Environment recently by the Commissioner for Environmental Information after the Department of Agriculture had cited ‘public interest’ for refusing them.

Read the Appeal here

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Salmon Confidential, Documentary About Salmon Farms in Canada & Diseased Salmon

This shocking documentary by film maker Twyla Roscovich and biologist Alexandra Morton discovers British Columbia's wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide and how a chain of events is set off by the Canadian government to suppress the findings contained within this documentary.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Licence Granted for Shot Head, Bantry Bay Salmon Farm

FISHERIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1997 (NO. 23) & FORESHORE ACT, 1933 (NO. 12) NOTICE OF DECISION TO GRANT AQUACULTURE AND FORESHORE LICENCES. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has decided to grant an Aquaculture Licence and a Foreshore Licence to, Bradán Fanad Teo t/a Marine Harvest Ireland, KINDRUM, FANAD, LETTERKENNY, CO. DONEGAL, REF: T5/555 for the cultivation of Atlantic Salmon; Salmo Salar on a site on the foreshore at SHOT HEAD, BANTRY BAY, CO. CORK.

The reasons for this decision are elaborated on the Department’s website at nsing/aquaculturelicencedecisions/cork/ An appeal against the Aquaculture Licence decision may be made in writing, in accordance with Section 40 & Section 41 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act within one month of date of publication, to THE AQUACULTURE LICENCES APPEALS BOARD Kilminchy Court, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, by completing the Notice of Appeal Application Form available from the Board, phone (057) 8631912, e-mail at or website A person may question the validity of the Foreshore Licence determination by way of an application for judicial review, under Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (S.I. No. 15 of 1986). Practical information on the review mechanism can be obtained from the Citizens Information Board, Ground Floor, George’s Quay House, 43 Townsend Street, Dublin 2. The documentation upon which the Minister determined the application is also available on the Department’s website as set out above and may be inspected free of charge at the Department’s Offices in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, by contacting the Aquaculture & Foreshore Management Division on 023 8859500.

REASONS FOR THE DECISION “Determination of Aquaculture/ Foreshore Licensing Application – 42.49 hectares Bradán Fanad Teoranta t/a Marine Harvest Ireland (MHI) has applied for an aquaculture licence for the cultivation of salmon on one site totalling 42.49 hectares at Shot Head, Bantry Bay, Co. Cork. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has determined that it is in the public interest to grant an Aquaculture/Foreshore Licence for site numbered T5/555. This determination takes into consideration that the proposed aquaculture will be located in suitable waters, has potential economic benefits, will have no significant ecological effects on wild fisheries, natural habitats, flora and fauna or the environment generally.”

An appeal against the decision of the Minister, to grant/refuse an Aquaculture Licence application, may be made in writing within one month of the date of publication of the decision in one or more newspapers circulating in the area to which the decision relates. Details of the appeal should be sent to the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB), Kilminchy Court, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, by completing the Notice of Appeal Application Form available from the Board. Contact details for ALAB are as follows: phone 057 8631912, e-mail or on their website at

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

State Must Release Salmon Farm Report

Source Irish Examiner Online

The Ombudsman has ordered the State to release a detailed report into a salmon farm accident which resulted in one of the largest ever losses of farmed salmon.

Information Commissioner Peter Tyndall’s decision to overturn the Department of the Marine’s refusal to release the report follows a sustained campaign by environmentalists in West Cork arising out of the incident in Bantry Bay in 2014.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) last night hailed the success of their appeal as an important victory.

“It’s a good result. But we are concerned about the length of time it has taken to get to this point,” said FIE spokesman Tony Lowes. “The delayed release of information can often mean it is no longer useful. We have a two-and-a-half-year delay on another case.”

The department now has 60 days to consider the ruling and mount any appeal.

However, Mr Lowes said he is hopeful the information – the accident report, two separate site inspection reports from 2008 and 2013 and vital insurance claim papers — will now finally be released.

Almost 230,000 salmon were lost when storms battered a salmon farm in Gerahies in Bantry Bay, Co Cork, in February 2014.

FIE subsequently sought the department’s report into the incident, amid concerns about alleged failings in the regulatory regime governing such salmon farms.

However, the department refused to release the information on the grounds the “public interest would not be served by disclosure”.

FIE appealed this decision to the Ombudsman, claiming it was a matter of extreme public importance, not just in this case, but also amid allegations that the department had failed to properly fulfill its regulatory functions in ensuring compliance with aquaculture licensing conditions aimed at preventing the escape of fish. FIE took their fight all the way to the High Court.

It emerged during the saga that the department was “of the view” that the release of any parts of the deliberative process advising Marine Minister Simon Coveney on what action to take “would be premature and would unduly constrain the minister in respect of any action which he might deem appropriate”.

Howerver, it emerged last month that the department was still not in a position to make a specific recommendation to the minister and that, at that point, no proposal for action was under consideration.

The Ombudsman, which blamed staffing delays for some of the delay assessing FIE’s appeal, finally gave an undertaking to the court earlier this month to rule on the case within a week.

Now, in a technically complex and lengthy decision, Mr Tyndall has ruled that the department’s arguments for refusing to release the information were not justified.

He said there is a strong public interest in maximising openness and accountability in relation to how the department and the Marine Institute carry out their functions under the relevant legislation governing the aquaculture industry.

He said it is difficult to follow the logic of the department’s claims that the release of the information could be potentially harmful to the regulatory process, and he found that the public interest served by disclosure would outweigh any interest served by refusal.

A report on the loss of 80,000 salmon in Clew Bay in 2010 blamed the department’s failure to enforce licensing conditions.

That report said if a more rigorous or 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 failures.