FIE Work

Release ordered of Bantry Bay salmon farm accident report


The Department of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries’ refusal to release the accident report on the loss of 230,000 salmon in a February 2014 storm has been annulled by the Information Commission, Peter Tyndal.


Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney’s Department had refused to release the report on the grounds that it was an 'internal communication' and that the public ‘interest would not be served by the disclosure’.


As to the public interest, the Commissioner wrote that ‘it is not enough to interpret AIE by national law alone but must be interpreted in the light of the Directive and indirectly the Aaarhus Convention.’


A previous Report on the loss of 80,000 salmon in Clew Bay in 2010 blamed the disaster on Simon Coveney’s Department’s failure to enforce licensing conditions.


 The Report stated ‘if a more rigorous/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 November 2010 failures.’ 


A note by an Assistant Secretary on the Report states: ‘This Report clearly points to the fact that adequate systems in relation to certification, maintenance, inspection, repairs and records need to be in place for this type of installation’.




Press Release

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.



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.


Download this file (Carlo Petrini 17.02.15.pdf)Carlo Petrini 17.02.15.pdf[Slow Food and Farmed Salmon and Darina Allen]97 kB

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.


Read the letter


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.