Farming & Fisheries

Residents voice concern over plans for oyster farm in Clonakilty Bay

May 26th, 2021 5:45 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Pretty Ring harbour, near Clonakilty, the proposed oyster farm site, which locals say is unsuitable. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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PLANS by a French company to develop an oyster farm in Clonakilty Bay could turn it into an ‘eyesore’, claim concerned locals who have also highlighted the fact that the application even states that it’s in an unsuitable area.

AG Oyster Ltd, with a registered address in Dublin, posted a public notice last week seeking an aquaculture licence from the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The company is seeking a licence to cultivate oysters using bags and trestles on an area of foreshore on the north western shore of Inchydoney Island at Clonakilty Bay.

They are also seeking a foreshore licence for the area of foreshore to be used for these aquaculture activities.

The company was also behind a similar application for an oyster farm in Castlehaven Bay over two years ago, which also drew local opposition.

A group of locals called Ring Darrara said they owe a debt to one avid newspaper reader who spotted this application in The Southern Star recently. ‘This application affects more than the aesthetics of the village itself, between residents, local businesses, the local rowing and fishing club and lots of other leisure users,’ a spokesperson said.

And they have asked locals to visit their village this weekend to take a photo of their  ‘Say No To Oyster Farms in Ring’ posters and post them social media.

They claim that, if granted, over time the developer of the farm ‘could apply for more extensions than what has been applied for, which has happened in other communities.’

They fear that this oyster farm would also affect Ring Rowing Club’s regatta which is running over 30 years.

They also fear it will be a safety hazard for the club and rowers, not to mention the disruption to the flow of water in the bay.

‘On the application itself, it says the bay would be unsuitable.

‘However we all know how draft applications can be drafted.’

The group have contacted their local councillors, Paul Hayes and John O’Sullivan, as well as TD Christopher O’Sullivan, who have advised them to proceed with objections to the proposal. ‘From what we can make out, this oyster farm will be over 22.6 hectares of the beach,’ the group added.

They say that’s 60 acres which is essentially the same area as approximately 33 soccer pitches. ‘Also, AG Oysters is a French company in Dublin with no local employment coming with it.

‘Other communities around the country, and as far away as Cape Cod, have been in contact with us on the Ring Darrara Facebook page all advising us to stop this in its tracks, or it will destroy the little piece of heaven on our doorsteps,’ the spokesperson added.

AG Oyster Ltd’s Adrien Geay told The Southern Star that the company did not wish to comment on the matter. The closing date for the receipt of written submissions regarding the application is June 5th.

Objections can be emailed to [email protected] ahead of this date.

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