Sunday, 21 October 2012

Fish farms planned for Galway Bay

Years back, I did a one-week, live-on, keelboat sailing course around the west Cork coast which played havoc with my lower back.  Headroom 5 feet + height 6 feet = lower back agony for weeks.  
One day, when I wasn't bent double in pain for about 10 minutes,  we dropped a fishing jig into the ocean.   As a reward, we got platefuls of wild mackerel for our dinner, cooked on board.  Lovely. 
I was warned by Andreas (the instructor), however, to avoid - when I went back to my landlubber life - the mussels of one particular bay.  Farmed, he said, not far from a sewage outlet.  Seasoning, I suppose. 
Things are seldom done properly in Ireland, so perhaps we should pay heed to the sender of the email below, who warns of the consequences of two massive fish farms in Galway Bay.  The fella seems to know what he is on about, and has - as far as I can see - no vested interests, other than to stop the place from being destroyed.
Dear GM,

I am very concerned about the plans to create two salmon fish farms totalling 456 hectares in the Galway Bay area. The long term potential negative impact on Ireland's environment and the dire consequences for angling and tourism in the vicinity are all too clear to many -except the Minister responsible - Simon Conevey TD

This issue first hit the national press again in August this year - see

Despite the clear outline of the damage salmon farming operations do to the environment, Simon Conevey has pressed ahead with his plans to create up to 350 jobs in the new proposed farms. No account seems to have been taken by him of the potential jobs that will vanish in the angling, tourist and hotel industries when people stop coming to fish because there are no sea trout and fewer salmon.

Some might ask why salmon farming is such a threat to native species. It is quite simple. The young salmon and sea trout follow the coast on their outward journey to feed at sea. When they reach where the proposed Salmon Farms are to be situated, they will stop, munch on the pickings and then get infested by the amazing numbers of sea lice that are attracted to these farms. Weakened by the parasites, the next generation of stock will lose strength and die. And then people will ask " Why are the salmon and sea trout not running this year?" Bookings will drop away, hotels will fail and the entire edifice will come crashing down. There will even be a reduction in income from Salmon Fishing Licences. But the Minister will say, "Hey, I have created jobs and helped produce food"

It is a bit like having a nuclear power station on your doorstep to keep the peat fires burning. The immutable Law of Unintended Consequences will have done its work again.

I know times are tough and jobs are hard to come by but surely Ireland deserves better than having these Salmon Farms on its doorstep with all the proven risks etc. It is not as if there are no precedents for the devastation caused by Fish Farming. Scotland, as ever, leads the way in grandiose job creation schemes which wreak havoc on the environment Anyone interested can easily research the issue by Googling as follow : Scottish west coast + west coast + sea trout stocks devastated.

It's not rocket science - it's aquaculture and false job creation or as Uncle Anagram puts it so nicely - Quarrel, obfuscation, ejaculate.

Come on Ireland, you deserve better and so does Mother Nature.

Tell Simon Conevey where to get off on this one. Who's creature is he, anyway? Those who enjoy what Ireland has to offer the visiting angler or the Boardroom of Marine Harvest? A company who, incidentally, seem to be adept networking with policiticians across the globe. Check out their track record in Peru where many communities were devastated by similar Fish Farming set ups.

Finally, I have left the Chemical bit to the end - how do the Fish Farms get rid of the Sea Lice from the Salmon in the Cages? Yes, that is correct. Chemicals. Stronger and stronger ones as the parasites become more and more resistant. Fancy a (sheep) dip, anyone? Farmed Salmon? It is enough to put me off my chicken nuggets.


ponyboy said...

before anyone gets in i want to wander way off topic and mention 'the great leap forward" and the "unions forever" - YUP billy Bragg's in tasmania and fuck me if it isn't good to hear a bit of common sense being sung and spoken for a change. PB
ps there are fish farms here too and they're wrong FULL STOP. Actually noticed that the Norwegians are dumping off loads of their farmed salmon so maybe the irish fish farm has missed the boat (npi) timewise.

The Gombeen Man said...

Once again, apologies to all for deleting some earlier comments by by mistake... if anyone knows how to view old pages, including comments, please let me know. Google have done away with their "viewed cached pages" in their wisdom.

@ Ponyboy.

Some good ditties, our Billy. Have a bit of his stuff myself. Did good work during the last elections too.

Yep, wou would have to wonder who would benefit from this, in the light of what TB has pointed out? According to his information, they stand to bring more problems than benefits.

DB said...

Sounds fishy, GM. But what does not reek of it in the place?

DC3 said...

"the entire edifice will come crashing down."

TB, one of the many things I have learned about Ireland is, the established system NEVER COMES CRASHING DOWN. You might think it has, but you can be sure, there'll be a brown envelope or a nod somewhere, to make sure the PROFESSIONAL BACK SCRATHERS are looked after...If there's very little REAL in Ireland, why should the Fish stocks be any different?

Anonymous said...

Bit of background might help. China fell out with Norway when the latter queried China's Human Rights record (which was non too brilliant as far the Vikings were concerened. China was previously a major buyer of Farmed Salmon from Norway
China then sources alternative suppliers - The Irish and Scottish Governments fall overthemselves in the rush to facilitate the supply Farmed Salmon, regardless of the pollution and other negative environmental impacts that will be caused.

Just remember this quote from Margaret Meade when you feel politicians have not listened to the voice of the people

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

It's time to make a stand if you can on this issue.


DB said...

@ TB Like I said, there had to be something fishy. And who cares about human rights when it comes getting a few yuan from fish farms, while buggering up Galway bay into the bargain.