Shoppers are being encouraged to boycott farmed salmon by Irish anglers, coastal communities, and environmentalists opposed to the further expansion of fish farms around the coast.
Campaigners say wild salmon and trout stock are threatened by the salmon farms, that traditional shellfish grounds will suffer, and that seawater will be poll-uted if the increase in salmon farms goes ahead.
Up to 150 people atten-ded a meeting in West Cork last month aimed at discussing the Government’s plans to promote salmon farming around the coast.
Attendees agreed to picket Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney’s constituency office in Carrigaline on Saturday and to ask the public to boycott farmed salmon.
Earlier this year, the Save Bantry Bay group was set up to fight Marine Harvest’s plans to develop a 100-acre organic salmon fish farm at Shot Head. Local fishermen, tourism interests, and anglers in the Aran Island are drawing up submissions to object to Bord Iascaigh Mh-ara’s planned 500-hectare deep-sea salmon farm 6km off Inis Oirr.
Kerry anglers also oppose BIM’s tentative proposals to develop another salmon fish farm at Ballydavid.
BIM aquaculture manager Donal Maguire yesterday told RTÉ the boycott was “an ill-considered and unfortunate move, as Irish smoked organic salmon is a premium product renowned all over the world” and that supporting the boycott would put Irish jobs at risk.
Last month, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) accused BIM of overestimating by 60% the number of jobs that will be created at the fish farm it wants to build off the Aran Islands.
In a submission on the proposed farm’s environmental impact, the state agency charged with the protection of Ireland’s fishing rivers and sea angling, IFI warned that the farm is likely to produce up to 200 jobs, rather than the 500 promised by BIM.
BIM said it was evaluating IFI’s submission and could not comment. However it stood over its figure of 500 jobs. A further 150 jobs would be created indirectly in the service sector, it said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved