By Brian Moore
A GROUP of residents, tourism business owners and local inshore fishermen, including a local councillor, are opposing the location of a mussel farm in Bantry Bay.
A planning application for a licence by West Cork Seafood Ltd, to cultivate mussels on long lines on two areas of foreshore at Glanlough on the south shore of the bay, has been lodged.
This prompted a meeting of concerned locals, many of whom work and live in the area, to voice their objections to the proposal.
‘The application is for 40 hectares to be used for this new mussel farm,’ local resident Ian Stretch, who organised the meeting, told The Southern Star.
Local inshore fisherman Kieran O’Shea said that Bantry Bay was close to ‘saturation point,’ as far as aquaculture was concerned.
‘We are not against aquaculture,’ Mr O’Shea said. ‘But the bay is only able to sustain so much. While I know what most people see is above the water level, it is what is going on below the waves that is very worrying as far as we are concerned. The damage to the environment and to the prawn and shrimp fishing, due to the subsequent rise in the population of starfish who feed around mussel lines, will leave the area devoid of all other shellfish’.
Chairing the meeting local farmer Deirdre O’Brien urged all those present to submit their objections to the proposed mussel farm sites urgently before the four-week cut-off for objections. This was a course of action also encouraged by local Cllr Danny Collins (Ind).
‘Objections, the more the better, need to be lodged as quickly as possible by everybody here and anyone who lives or works along this side of the bay,’ Cllr Collins said.
‘Also all three TDs and our MEPs need to know exactly how the people of this area feel about any potential damage to the bay,’ he added.