THE mechanical harvesting of kelp seaweed is set to begin in Bantry Bay on Wednesday July 4th.
The Tralee-based company Bio Atlantis has lodged a commencement notification with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government stating their intention to begin harvesting kelp, despite a judicial review into the granting of the harvesting licence being ordered by a recent High Court sitting.
The judicial review, which was sought by a member of the Bantry Bay Protect Our Native Kelp Forest campaign, will examine the process leading up to the decision by Minister Damien English to award a licence to mechanically harvest kelp from the bay.
However, it is now likely that harvesting will begin before the judicial review is completed.
‘It was in March that the High Court issued the order for a review and this is outrageous that this harvesting now seems to be about to go ahead,’ Dolf Dhondt of the Protect Our Native Kelp Forest campaign told The Southern Star. ‘We are shocked that Bio Atlantis are ignoring the High Court ruling and we are now in the process of lodging an injunction with the High Court and we will stop this harvest before it begins.’
In a statement issued to The Southern Star on Wednesday, John T O’Sullivan, chief executive of BioAtlantis, said: ‘As required by the licence, a notice of commencement was required and this was issued on the 14th of June, 2018.
‘A Marine Notice was also issued to inform a wide range of stakeholders about our operations. This includes the general public, mariners and those with fishing, shipping, tourism and water-based recreational interests. There is no legal impediment which prohibits the company from harvesting. As certain aspects of the matter are sub judice, we will not be commenting further,’ he added.