Facts

Global fish producer Marine Harvest is applying for aquaculture licence for a twelve to fourteen cage salmon farm at Shot Head, Adrigole, Bantry Bay.

Location of the proposed Salmon Farm at Trafrask, Adrigole, Bantry Bay:

Size: 42.4 ha, 106 acres.

The following headline story was published in the Southern Star on page 1 on 14th January 2012 – accompanied by a public notice on page 31:

The following is all marketing speech, published by the Star:

“A WORLD leader in the seafood industry, Marine Harvest, plans to invest €3.5 million to develop a new organic salmon farm site at Shot Head in Bantry Bay. Speaking on behalf of the Irish subsidiary, Marine Harvest Ireland (MHI), Catherine McManus, a technical manager with the company, said: ‘the investment is part of a €14 million upgrade of its sixteen aquaculture sites around the coast.’ She said the overall investment would ensure that the company’s Irish operations benefit from ‘the most up-to-date technological advances,’ and would include ‘the upgrading of equipment and operational practices, as well as the continuing development of a nationwide stocking, harvesting, fallowing and rotation to international best practices.’

The company – which is present in all major salmon farming regions in the world, but also offers valued-added products, smoked seafood and organic produce – has lodged an application with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for an Aquaculture Licence and a Foreshore Licence for the proposed Shot Head development.

Does not impede

Locally, the Fianna Fáil Senator, Denis O’Donovan, welcomed the initiative saying: ‘I have always supported the aquaculture and mariculture industry provided it complies with the best practice and does not impede the traditional rights of inshore fishermen.

‘Having met with representatives of the company on Tuesday,’ the Senator said. ‘I am satisfied that this initiative will bring jobs to the Beara peninsula, which in these difficult times is most welcome.’

According to Catherine McManus, the investment at Shot Head (which is on the northern shores of Bantry Bay, to the west of the now disused stone quarry near Adrigole and east of the Roancarrig Lighthouse) ‘will vastly improve the company’s existing Bantry Bay facilities, enabling improved rotation of the fish crop and creating a world-class operation in the Beara Peninsula, which will secure the long-term future of the aquaculture industry in the area.’

The proposed development, 8km east of the company’s existing Roancarrig site, will initially create six full-time jobs during the farm set-up and a further two additional jobs when fully operational. The company will also commission a marine vessel with a local ship builder to service the Shot Head site.

The technical manager said: ‘Ireland is a strategically important location for the company. The high environmental standards of our Irish operations have established them as the ideal location for the company’s premium organic salmon business.

‘The “Produced in Ireland” guarantee is also a significant contributor to the success of our sales across sophisticated European markets. It is for these reasons that the company is committed to maintaining its presence here and is investing to ensure that our Irish operations can continue to operate to best international standards.’

Marine Harvest Ireland is the largest aquaculture producer in Ireland, producing premium salmon under the brand name of Donegal Silver and organic salmon under the brand names of Clare Island Organic and the Organic Salmon Company.

Currently, over 85% of fish produced by Marine Harvest Ireland is exported throughout the EU, and the USA’s east coast. In addition to fresh salmon sales, Marine Harvest Ireland sells fertilised salmon ova to other producers in addition to salmon fry and smolt to Irish and Scottish farmers.

There has been salmon farming in Bantry Bay since the 1970s, when local fishery interests first established the Roancarrig Salmon Farm, and over the last forty years salmon farming has become a successfully-integrated part of the local community.

Marine Harvest Ireland acquired the Beara Peninsula sites in 2008 and since then have invested over €4.4 million upgrading these farms. They have also confirmed that the Shot Head site will be farmed organically.

Catherine McManus said: ‘we have the highest regard for this local environment and community and we are committed to delivering this development in line with best environmental practice.’

MHI is a subsidiary of the Marine Harvest Group, which is headquartered in Norway, but has a global-force in aquaculture of more than 4,800 employees operating across twenty-one countries worldwide and servicing fifty markets across the globe.

In addition to its salmon farming and processing activities in Norway, Chile, Scotland, Canada, Ireland and the Faroes, the company has value-adding processing activities in the US, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Chile, as well as several sales offices worldwide

Marine Harvest Ireland has thirty years’ successful operation in Ireland, employing over 260 people between its salmon farms and hatcheries in Donegal, Mayo and Bantry. Its Irish produce is exported throughout the EU and to the US.”

Save Bantry Bay Groups´s position to proposed salmon farm is as follows:

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] There is considerable potential to increase this, which could be important throughout the County (East and West Cork in particular). The West Cork Strategic Plan and the Cork Area Strategic Plan emphasise the potential for development of marine leisure.

Both the Glengarriff and the Adrigole Local Area Plan emphasise the importance of marine tourism and the national importance of the landscape in the area:

In addition a significant level of income can be generated from wild salmon fisheries. The five main rivers that enter Bantry Bay are all salmon rivers. The contribution to the economy of one wild salmon caught by an angling tourist is estimated to be €423.

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. Research finds that the mortality of wild salmon from farming is really large in many cases — more than 50 percent reductions every year, that is not sustainable for any populations.

The farm also pollutes the local environment with sediments from waste feed and faecal matter, nutrients and toxic chemicals used to treat the salmon for sea lice infestations and disease.

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.

Commitments under the Bantry Bay Charter state that 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.’

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