The Impact on Tourism from the Proposed Aquaculture Development at Shot Head, Trafrask, Adrigole
The south west peninsulas are becoming more popular for tourists looking for a peaceful and unspoilt refuge. It is vital that the key features that the tourists come for are maintained and built upon.
The importance of tourism is outlined in the EIS Volume 1 for this development which states that ‘The importance of hill-walking and similar activities, as well as water based leisure pursuits, is considered central to future tourism development in the area. ( page 44)
It adds: ‘…the scenic quality and ambience of Bantry, Kenmare and Dunmanus Bays and the peninsula that separate them are another very significant tourist attraction in the region. It is important for the ongoing development of the local tourist industry that the visual and amenity value and ambience of the area are not compromised by unwise or out-of-place development. This is a factor that must be taken into account in the development plans for all stakeholders in the area, including the aquaculture industry. (page 45)
While the EIS gives details of economy and employment in the area it does not provide any figures for the tourist sector.
However Cork Development plan tells us that:
‘Cork’s coastal and inland waters are a major asset in terms of tourism. It is estimated that the marine leisure sector supports 14,500 jobs, [compared to the 250 employed by Marine Harvest nationally] but that there is considerable potential to increase this, which could be important throughout the County (East and West Cork in particular). Both the North and West Cork Strategic Plan and the Cork Area Strategic Plan emphasise the potential for development of marine leisure.’
(Source http://www.corkcoco.ie/co/pdf/260558658.pdf Cork County Development Plan Volume 1: Overall Strategy and Main Policy Material page 126/127 [comment added] )
Both the Glengarriff Local Area Plan and the Adrigole Local Area Plan emphasises the importance of marine tourism and the national importance of the landscape in the area:
Employment & Economic Activity
6.2.13. Much of the employment in the village is associated primarily with the service industry in the form of visitor accommodation, restaurants and retailing. It is likely that this trend will continue into the future given the attractions of the location as a visitor destination. The range of employment associated with tourism needs to be expanded while recognising that the traditional forms of employment such as fishing also need to be nurtured and developed.
6.2.14. Under the ‘Marine Leisure Infrastructure Strategy for the Western Division of Cork County 2007’ Glengarriff is designated as a Secondary Hub which requires appropriate planning for marine related infrastructure and the provision of a Harbour Management Plan for the busy tourism season.
6.2.18. As detailed in the Draft Landscape Strategy 2008 Glengarriff is located in an area of the county where the landscape is deemed to be of very high value (scenic landscapes with the highest natural and cultural quality, areas with conservation interest and of national importance), very high sensitivity (vulnerable landscapes likely to be fragile and susceptible to change) and of national importance.
Source http://www.corkcoco.ie/co/pdf/958278756.pdf page 61
‘Infrastructure and Community Facilities
21.2.5. The area offers an extensive range of outdoor activities. Attractions in the area include the Beara Way (walking route) which runs through Adrigole. The mountain roads provide opportunities for mountain biking, hill walking, etc while sailing, fishing and diving are also on offer in this coastal area. The settlement can complement the existing tourism and recreational facilities on offer in Glengarriff, Castletownbere and further afield and has a significant role to play as a more rural alternative in this regard.’
21.2.11. As detailed in the Draft Landscape Strategy 2008 Adrigole is located in an area of the county where the landscape is deemed to be of very high value (scenic landscapes with the highest natural and cultural quality, areas with conservation interest and of national importance), very high sensitivity (vulnerable landscapes likely to be fragile and susceptible to change) and of national importance.
Source http://www.corkcoco.ie/co/pdf/958278756.pdf page 129
Neither of the Local Area Plans features a large aquaculture development as part of their future development. This part of the coastline is one of the few places in Bantry Bay that do not contain aquaculture developments . Due to the emphasis on maritime tourist activities in this area it is vital that the landscape, which is of national importance, is preserved.
In addition a significant level of income can be generated from wild salmon fisheries. The five main rivers that enter Bantry Bay are the Clashduff/Adrigole River, Glengarriff River, Coomhola River , Owvane River and the Mealagh River which are all salmon rivers.
According to John Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels Federation the economic contribution per fish caught made by salmon angling tourism far exceeded that generated by the commercial fishing sector. The contribution to the economy of one wild salmon caught by an angling tourist is estimated to be €423. (Source http://www.itic.ie/archived-news-article.html?&tx_ttnews[pointer]=15&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=22&tx_ttnews[backPid]=14&cHash=70fa1cafd5 )
However according to scientific research :
‘The first worldwide assessment of the impact of cultivated salmon on wild stocks found that where native populations encounter salmon farms, the numbers of wild fish crash, on average, by more than 50 percent.
The farmed fish spread diseases and parasites to wild salmon. Some cultivated escapees also interbreed with the native fish, reducing the ability of their offspring to survive, researchers say.
“The overall trend, over and over again around the world, is that salmon farming seems to have a negative impact on wild salmon,” said lead researcher Jennifer Ford of Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“The mortality from farming that we find is really large in many cases—more than 50 percent reductions every year,” she added. “That is not sustainable for any populations.” ‘
Research funded in part by the European Union and undertaken over three years in Ireland, Scotland, and Norway has demonstrated that wild salmon smolts suffer increased mortality when migrating through bays with salmon farms in them. The results suggest that sea lice-induced mortality on adult Atlantic salmon returns in Ireland can be significant, and that sea lice larvae emanating from farmed salmon may influence individual survivorship and population conservation status of wild salmon in these river systems. (Source http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/f2011-155 )
Salmon stocks in this region are already severely depleted and if they are to recover it is vital that salmon farms are not sited in areas where there are salmon rivers. Drift nets are now banned and there is a real opportunity to develop wild salmon fishing which can generate numerous jobs and income to the local communities.
The Cork Development Plan also reminds us of the commitments under the Bantry Bay Charter In particular
Wherever possible, decisions affecting the Bantry Bay coastal zone should be taken on the basis of consensus; where general agreement amongst the local community is reached. This is so that the decisions can have the strongest support from within the community.’
Therefore the proposal should be brought to the community for their views on if this project should proceed.
Compiled and edited by CL.