The salmon produced by Marine Harvest at their installation in the Kenmare River are now being slaughtered on a new floating barge rather than being transported alive as initially reported.

For the first time in Ireland, a floating slaughterhouse has replaced the company’s established practice of killing the fish within the designated area at the port of Castletownbere. The slaughtered fish are now being landed at Ballycrovane, a small remote harbour within the Kenmare River Special Area of Conservation where they are piped into steel tankers for shipment to the company’s processing plant in Donegal.

Aquaculture is controlled by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, whose Principle Officer recently recommended that the company licence be rescinded for overstocking, a recommendation rejected by Minister Creed earlier this year.

The Department’s Aquaculture and Foreshore division has been unable to produce the required written notification from the company of a change in the movement of the fish as required under the licence and the company’s certification by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council agreed Chain of Custody. In response to enquiries by journalists, the company was unable to state that the certifiers had been notified and the new procedures approved as required. The product has ‘organic’ status.

The operations are continuing at night, on Sundays and public holidays, with up to five 3-ton tankers holding 15 tons of fish each leaving the remote pier, in spite of the road being limited to 3 tons capacity and the areas’ nature designation, including a colony of seals and otters.


The Kenmare River is designated for protection under the Habitats Directive but the Department of Agriculture has informed the group that issues of assessment to ensure protection of the Natura 2000 site are the responsibility of the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Rural Affairs and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphries. However, this Minister has informed the group that such assessments are the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture’. FIE has referred this situation to the European Commission and is awaiting the results of a full investigation by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine.

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