Welcome

Welcome to Fly fishing and Fly Tying magazine's website, once you register, you'll gain access to the Blogs, Forum and Shop.

If you cannot register successfully, contact us.

Member Login

Lost your password?

Search This Site

Call to Coveney to halt Galway salmon farm

Anglers in Ireland have today called on Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to halt Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM)’s licence application for a massive salmon farm in Galway Bay until an independent scientific examination of the facts is carried out. The call, by No Salmon Farms At Sea, is the latest salvo in what is becoming a furious debate raging in Ireland amongst anglers and conservationists on one side, and Ireland's aquaculture industry on the other.

In its licence application, and subsequent communications to the media, BIM has relied heavily on a report by Marine Institute Ireland scientists in April, which purported to show a negligible risk (1%) to migrating salmon from sea lice. This conclusion has been challenged by a team of researchers, led by Dr M Krkosek of the University of Toronto, who state that “such a conclusion can be supported only if one is prepared to accept at least three fundamental methodological errors”, and that the actual mortality of salmon caused by sea-lice is 30 times higher.

This follows on from the letter from Dr. Mark Costello, University of Auckland, to Minister Coveney in May of this year, which expressed surprise at the incorrect information about whether sea lice from salmon farms can cause problems on wild fish. Dr. Costello concluded his letter stating “It appears that sea lice are the most significant impact of salmon farms generally by virtue of their impact on wild salmonids.”

Chair of No Salmon Farms At Sea (NSFAS), Paddy Keenan stated: “This proves what we have been saying all along. BIM and the minister have stated that they are relying on the science to justify the salmon farm proposal, despite counter arguments from scientists at Inland Fisheries Ireland, Canada and New Zealand. This work by Dr Krkosek completely demolishes the scientific basis for the proposal and indeed calls either the motives or the capabilities of Marine Institute Ireland into question. We are calling on the minister to delay any work on this licence until he has commissioned an independent report from acknowledged experts. Our wild salmon stocks are in a precarious state for many reasons. We cannot afford any further threats to them.”

Marine Institute Ireland has been criticised in recent weeks for its report (produced earlier this year) which sought to downplay the role of sea lice in compromising salmon populations, particularly the survival of wild salmon. An analysis of the report published by the University of Toronto (with contributions from scientists in Canada, Norway and Scotland) shows the Marine Institute’s study is "scarcely worth the paper it is written on." Indeed, FF&FT was contacted by Irish scientist who said on the condition of anonymity that the paper was "worthy of the slickest of snake-oil salesmen" and that by accepting what has become globally-panned scientific report the Marine Institute is simply propping up BIM's plans for the Galway Bay salmon farm. 

Mr Keenan said: “This proves what we have been saying all along. BIM and the minister have stated that they are relying on science to justify the salmon farm proposal, despite counter arguments from scientists at Inland Fisheries Ireland, Canada and New Zealand. This work by Dr Krkosek completely demolishes the scientific basis for the proposal and indeed calls either the motives or the capabilities of the Marine Institute into question. We are calling on the minister to delay any work on this licence until he has commissioned an independent report from acknowledged experts. Our wild salmon stocks are in a precarious state for many reasons. We cannot afford any further threats to them.”

• In July, Minister Coveney was accused of deliberately misleading the European Commission in its investigation of sea lice and wild salmon.

Back to top

Search the site