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In response to Mr Tony Lowes ill-informed letter published (Irish Examiner, May 1) regarding fish farming, I would like to make a few factual corrections: Firstly, the Examiner’s editorial referred to was not considered by IFA or the industry to be thoughtful or informed.
If Mr Lowes took the time to examine the legislation, namely the 2006 Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, he would see clearly that shellfish and finfish farmers are legally entitled to produce fish and shellfish within their licence conditions while awaiting a determination from the minister on a re-application.
Between all of the agencies involved in regulation of the aquaculture industry, including the Department, BIM, the Marine Institute and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, as well as many independent quality and organic auditing companies, it is evident these locally-based businesses are operating to the highest standards.
Recently published research by scientists in the Marine Institute — the advisory service to the Government — shows no possibility of impact from fish farms on wild stocks. Fish farming has developed along the west coast since the late 1970s and stocks of wild salmon continue to increase (as opposed to the east coast where no fish farming occurs, yet stocks are under threat). It would be a shame if your readership were given the wrong impression of what is a professional, highly regulated and responsible industry. Fish farming is a sustainable sector, providing employment in rural Ireland using skills of local fishing and farming communities, providing export income and delivering an extremely nutritious and valuable food to a highly discerning consumer.
Richie Flynn Executive
IFA Aquaculture Irish Farm Centre
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