Opposition to Marine Harvest Expansion in Ireland14 February 2012
ANALYSIS - Opposition is growing in regard to Marine Harvest's announcement that it would invest €3.5 million in developing a new salmon farm site in Bantry Bay, Co Cork.
Despite there being salmon farming in Bantry Bay since the 1970's, there seems to be strong support against the development, which was announced in January 2012.
The Shot Head development would create six full-time jobs and once fully operational a further two jobs. On top of the new site at Bantry Bay, Marine Harvest has said it will upgrade 16 of its aquaculture sites around the coast.
Last weekend over 100 people attended the first meeting in Adrigole´s Caha Centre to discuss the 12 cage salmon farm proposal.
An online petition Save Bantry Bay, set up earlier this month saw 1600 views in its first three days.
The group believes 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, [which the group says compares to the 250 employed by Marine Harvest nationally].
Instead of investing in aquaculture, Save Bantry Bay wants to see marine tourism increase in the area, and fears that the farm will have negative impacts on tourism.
It also brings up the possibility that farmed fish could spread diseases to wild salmon, mentions the risk that escapees pose to wild salmon, as well as other species which could affect local fishermen catches.
Other arguments against the farm include pollution of the local environment through waste feed, faecal sediments, nutrients and chemicals from medication used.
The group also states that such a farm would have disastrous consequences on local fishermen and would likely cause job losses in the area. "The proposal mentions 6 full time equivalent jobs being initially created, but there is no promise made that even this paltry number of jobs would go to local people."
Marine Harvest submitted the proposal back in January, and people who wished to comment had until yesterday (13 February) to do so, a consultation time of which the group says no notification was given and the time period to short.
The group delivered a petition to the government yesterday and is requesting a public meeting with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Simon Coveney, prior to any decision being made.
At the moment it is unknown when a decision will be made.
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