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.
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 http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/2012/0904/1224323573364.html
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.