A study of the annual inspection records of Irish salmon farms by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries between 2012 and 2014 has shown a complete breakdown of the salmon farm licensing system.
Instructions to operators to repair lights, to ensure that operations are contained within the allocated area, have been ignored f’foir many years’.
Marine Harvest, the largest global producer of farmed salmon, has been overstocking its sites for more than three years and in 2014 refused to give the Department’s Inspectors the stocking figures.
No provisions is being made for ensuring inspections of the critical mooring components that have led to previous disasters in spite of repeated recommendations by the Minister’s officials in accident reports and undertaking given to the European Commission to satisfy a European Court of Justice Judgment against Ireland.
FIE has written to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, asking him to reconsider the proposal in Seafood Development Plan 2014 - 2020 to provide up to €2 million in state-backed insurance for salmon farms ‘for his own self respect’.
The Minister proposes to underwrite insurance of up to €2 million for operations that suffer loses of up to 30% of their annual turnover from ‘natural disasters’, ‘adverse climatic events’, and ‘diseases in aquaculture’.
The proposed insurance scheme is incomprehensible in environmental terms and foolish in economic terms.
‘Residents in areas where flood relief had been completed by the state itself are unable to get insurance. Surely if the State is going into the insurance business against ‘adverse climate events’, the government should start with residents, not fish.’
Clare Daly, TD, has tabled written parliamentary questions asking the Minister to provide the extent of actuary advice available to him which provided the basis of the Minister’s proposal to insure the installations and if in fact he is proposing below cost insurance which would constitute state aid.
Industrial peat extraction on a vast scale has been confirmed by the Department of the Environment after investiugating FIE’s satellite survey of exposed peatlands commissioned from University College Cork in 2010.
126 sites of industrial extraction over 30 hectares size, many of them over 100 hectares in size, were visited by Local Authority staff after the Department provided them with maps from the survey.
Most of the sites are being operated by about ten ‘mini-Bord na Monas’ – most of them non-Irish – who have no planning permission or licence. Until now the many local authorities involved had no records of any peat extraction in their counties.
The Government’s request to each local authority to ‘ground truth’ each site has revealed that most of the sites require planning permission and environmental impact assessment – of the 18 sites identified in County Westmeath, all require planning permission. Read about it in the Village Magazine.
The letter to Slow Food challenging Darina Allen and Sally McKenna's defence of farmed salmon in Inshore Ireland. Slow Food policy is clear in making farmed salmon part of its 'Not On My Plate' campaign but these leading Irish figures in Slow Food Ireland continue to promote the use of farmed salmon while hypocritically benefiting from Slow Food's reputation for integrity.
EU INVESTIGATION CLOSURE DEMONSTRATES LIMITATIONS OF EU CONSERVATION LAW
The EU’s decision to close its longstanding investigations into Irish salmon farming demonstrates the limitations of EU environmental law. While the Commission admitted that the evidence ‘clearly show that sea lice infestation levels in salmon farms have an effect on migrating wild Atlantic salmon in terms of their overall survival rate’, it requires ‘uncontested scientific evidence’ and that evidence must be related to a river designated under the directives as there is ‘no provision under EU law for a general ban on salmon farming.’
A review published last week by top international scientists from Norway, Scotland and Ireland of all 300 available published studies on the effects of sea lice confirmed that sea lice have ‘negatively impacted wild sea trout stocks in salmon farming areas in Ireland, Scotland and Norway‘ and that ‘sea lice have a potential significant and detrimental effect on marine survival of Atlantic salmon with potentially 12-44% fewer salmon spawning in salmon farming areas’.
BIM’s statement welcoming the closure of the case in which they state that there is ‘no evidence to support the suggestion that salmon in Irish rivers are being adversely affected by sea lice from salmon farms’ is both unscientific and unsound.