Dear Deputy –

You may remember we wrote to you last month to bring to your attention to a letter by Professor Mark Costello to Minister Simon Coveney dismissing ‘misinformation’ about sea lice and salmon and confirming that salmon farms should not be located in the catchments of wild salmon because of the proven danger from sea lice.

Some of you were kind enough to say the information was helpful to you.

Now, we have found that these same scientific concerns were expressed by our national body responsible for wild salmon, Inland Fisheries Ireland [IFI] and its Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources [DCENR] during an EU investigation of the sea lice issue during 2009 – 2012 but that the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries suppressed the report and denied to the Commission that it existed.

The EU investigation specifically requested ‘the express view of the agency responsible for game fisheries’. Under our legislation this is IFI/DCENR, whose Advice Note said that it had not been consulted in the preparation of Ireland’s March 2010 reply and that contrary to DAFF’s claims the current protocols do not ‘constitute good sea lice control’.

It said DAFF’s position that ‘no empirical evidence has been made available suggesting the presence of sea lice in salmon fishfarms has a significant impact on the protected species is not consistent with available information’, providing numerous records that provide contrary evidence and concluding that ‘Mortalities of salmonoids attributable to sea lice have been well documented’ – just as Professor Costello told the Minister last month.

The Report, marked ‘final’ and sent to the same DAFF official who denied its existence to the Commission investigation less than a year later, concluded ‘the potential exists for sea lice transfer from farmed salmon to outward migrating wild salmon smoults in any estuary with a marine salmon farm present’.

The evidence we have was obtained by a number of Freedom of Information and Access to Information on the Environmental requests and is incontrovertible. We have published all documents on our website.

We paste our forthcoming Press Release below. It gives links to an index on our site where the documentation is available and copies of our request for redress to DAFF and the Department of Foreign Affairs (who failed to ensure the Commission request was addressed) and to the EU itself.

We know we will have the greatest difficulty having this story told in the media and will find it almost impossible to have our Request for Redress addressed by the Minister so we are contacting you directly in the hope that there are some of you who will help, regardless of party affiliation.

We do not want Ireland run by Government officials who lie during investigations by any official body. Do you?

Respectfully yours,

Tony Lowes

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