Marine Minister Michael Creed has taken an unprecedented step of “discontinuing” a licence held by Norwegian multinational Mowi, formerly Marine Harvest, to produce farmed salmon in Ballinskelligs Bay, Co Kerry.
A second breach of licence was found at a smolt hatchery run by the company in Donegal. A third investigation found no “provable” breach at a salmon and rainbow trout farm run by the company in Coulagh Bay, Co Cork.
The Silver King Seafoods facility in Kerry had a licence to produce 500 tonnes of salmon but harvested more than double that in 2016 with an inevitable increase in the waste generated at the site.
Salmon farming is a contentious generally unwelcome industry — despite industry lobbyists’ insistence — and is accused of having a hugely negative environmental impact.
So much so that some countries are moving to ban open-cage, sea-based farms and insist on contained feedlots for the fish. Now that the Government has recognised the threat salmon farms pose it should follow suit.