IRELAND - Minister Simon Coveney has confirmed 230,000 salmon are missing after storms significantly damaged Murphy's salmon farm in Gearhries, Bantry Bay, on 1 February 2014. This is Ireland's largest single salmon farm escape in history.
"As things stand there is no evidence of any mortalities at the Gearhries salmon farm. To date, not one of the missing salmon are accounted for. This could spell disaster for wild salmon in Bantry Bay," said Alec O'Donovan, Secretary of Save Bantry Bay.
According to Save Bantry Bay, the sheer scale of the recent escape in Bantry Bay means that the already depleted wild salmon stocks in local rivers could be swamped.
The Dromogowlane, Coomhola, Owvane, Meelagh, Glengarriff and Adrigole rivers are all less than 20km from the escape site.
Save Bantry Bay is now calling for the proposed salmon farm at Shot Head in Bantry Bay to be rejected on ground of environmental and economic impacts.
"We now have 230,000 farmed salmon escaped in Bantry Bay, that pose a significant genetic risk to our native brood stock. It is vital that these increasingly threatened salmon stocks in Bantry Bay are put at no further risk. The proposed Shot Head site is only a few kilometres across the Bay from the escape site. These storms have shown that Bantry Bay is not a suitable environment for salmon farming. It is time to stop investing in open cage salmon farms which are clearly failing, and to start investing in land based closed containment systems from which salmon cannot escape," said Kieran O'Shea, Chairman of Save Bantry Bay.
TheFishSite News Desk