Impact on People

The Local Fishing Community

With regards to the Fishing Industry in Bantry Bay, the creation of a Salmon Farm at Shot Head or any part of Bantry Bay would have disasterous consequences for the Local Fishing Community. Local Boats fish the area where the proposed site is and many of the fishing boats have two to three crew members onboard. If the Salmon Farm is allowed to go at Shot Head it will mean that the fishing boats will be unable to fish for the Shell fish such as Shrimps, Prawns, Crabs, Lobsters,etc that they have fished at these fishing grounds for generations. In time with the pollution caused by the Salmon Farm these Shell fish will become extent from the sea bed underneath the farm. It makes no since and saddens many members of the Local fishing Community to hear that there Lively Hoods are being jeopardized for the creation of a possibe two to six jobs at the new Salmon Farm.Down through the years Fishermen in the Locality have objected to other farms in the Bay, but never once got a hearing.  But no more, Fishermen have been ignored for too long and have seen there fishing grounds being reduced and reduced with the creation of new farms, they have to act further on the matter before there lively hoods are destroyed completely.  by a local Fisherman

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Social Impact

Safety: Boats heading back in high winds to Adrigole, Castletownbere and Bere Island tack closer to Shot Head to avoid the open sea before gaining shelter from Bere Island when they reach Adrigole Harbour. Traffic is prohibited inside a range at a certain distance from the fish farms so yachts in high winds will have difficulty avoiding the acres of nets and fish pens strung across this area. The Life Boat will also find it difficult to circumnavigate the pens to reach anyone in difficulty, which could result in human tragedy. Large ships anchor in that specific area to wait for suitable weather to be guided to Whiddy Island and inner Bantry Bay and may also be impeded by the proposed fish farm, which thus constitutes a safety hazard for people navigating and/or sheltering in the bay.

 Employment: There would be a net loss of jobs locally due to the proposed salmon farm since the proposal mentions 2 full time equivalent jobs being initially created, but there is no promise made that even this  number of jobs would go to local people. At the same time, local fishermen document at least a partial decrease in their self-employment, resulting in more than 6 jobs lost. All the processing will be done in Donegal and nearly all the money will go abroad (except for some paltry taxes at the lowest corporate tax rate in the world and going to Dublin), there won’t be much gain in the local community.

Statistics from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries In Norway for 2003 show that salmon and trout production had doubled since 1995 while both the number of fishermen and employees employed in primary production as well as of fishing vessels had fallen in the same period by more than a third (http://www.ssb.no/fiskeri_havbruk_en/). The figures show how fish farming, instead of creating new jobs, in fact reduces the overall number of people employed in fishing.

Furthermore, it is necessary to look at wages, working conditions and the experience from other areas of the world where Marine Harvest has set up fish farms. The Canadian Parliament is about to legislate laws to govern fish farms. As a Norwegian newspaper reported in 2009: “In four years, twelve Chilean workers have died in the two fish farm companies Marine Harvest and Cermag” (http://www.dagbladet.no/2009/05/27/nyheter/john_fredriksen/dykkere/dodsfall/6424690/). Who will compensate the local fishermen when their catch is contaminated or wiped out?

Job losses: Moreover, the reduction of jobs does not even take into account several other people who fish for sport and pleasure, which adds appreciably to the tourism potential of this beautiful, pristine bay. And what about the jobs lost when visitors no longer come to stay in local B&Bs to line fish, the jobs lost in tourism when the environment is harmed… Jobs lost when visitors find out the truth about the ingredients and health risks of the “organic” salmon we are serving in our gourmet restaurants. Much more income could be achieved from a sustainable tourist industry promoting fishing, sailing/ kayaking and walking than from the fish farm, especially since the fish will be dispatched to Donegal for processing.

In addition to the direct negative employment impact mentioned above, there are thus several indirect economic costs associated with the proposed salmon farm, including notably the expected negative effects it will have on local tourism and its revenues such as that generated by the Beara Way and the now internationally famous Sheep’s Head Way. This is an area traditionally fished by local residents and used as an amenity for example by local children learning to swim and to sail in the sea in the summer. Zetland Pier nearby is hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. The proposed operations will have a major negative impact for the community using it and which depends greatly on tourism for its livelihood.

Abstracts 2 to end compiled and edited by: ak

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