State agencies at loggerheads over Aran fish farmNovember 1, 2012 - 8:00am
The state-controlled Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has been criticised for rejecting a report compiled by another state body over a proposed fish farm off the Aran Islands.
The Inland Fisheries of Ireland (IFI) is worried that a fish farm on such a large scale could seriously threaten wild fish with sea lice infestation – a by-product of most fish farms.
BIM say that they never received the IFI submission, which they say explains why it is not included on their website. All submissions made on the EIS report about the proposed fish farm were handled by the Dept of Agriculture. The IFI accept that their submission missed the October 2 deadline by a day. However, the report can be re-submitted during the current public consultation process which closes on December 12.
Suzanne Campion, Head of Business Development at IFI, said they were “shocked and disappointed” that their extensive submission had been rejected by BIM or that its findings were not posted on BIM’s website.
She explained that BIM had been late in supplying them with copies of the EIS report and that despite them being a day late, BIM was aware they were compiling a submission and she believes that it should have been included with the first public consultation round.
“But we are now re-submitting our report for the current public consultation period and we expect our findings to be posted on the BIM website,” she said.
The IFI, has serious concerns about the size of the proposed fish farm off Inis Oirr – BIM has applied for a licence to operate a 15,000 ton capacity salmon farm where 3.6 million fish will be grown to full size to produce 30,000 tonnes of farmed salmon annually.
The report, compiled by CEO Dr Ciarán Byrne outlines that while moving a fish farm into a deep sea location was preferable than having it near the mainland or near the mouth of a river, he was still concerned about the bigger chances of farmed fish escaping and spreading sea lice, which they and others working in the fishing industry had done their best to control.
See full story in this week's Connacht Tribune.