SIR – I read with interest your report on the presentation to Cork County Council last week of a petition, with over 7,000 signatures, opposing the proposed mechanical extraction of kelp from Bantry Bay by the Kerry biotechnology company BioAtlantis. However, I was surprised to see you describe this as opposition to kelp farming.
To the best of my knowledge, the group opposing this extraction has said very little on the specific subject of kelp farming to date, aside from expressing its clear support for our local West Cork kelp farmers.
Allow me to clarify: the seaweed which BioAtlantis proposes to extract is wild kelp. It is already there, naturally growing on the rocks; BioAtlantis has done nothing to nurture it.
Furthermore, given the Minister’s refusal to require an Environmental Impact Assessment, and the lack of any fully independent monitoring of the project, it would seem that there is little to no concern for the sustainable use of these kelp forests, ensuring their viability as a valuable resource for many years to come.
Farming requires the careful planning, growth, and management of crops, year in and year out.
It might, therefore, be argued that there is nothing remotely akin to farming associated with this BioAtlantis project in any way.
4 Georges Row,