MOWI Ireland – formerly known as Marine Harvest Ireland – has welcomed a decision by the Aquaculture Licence Appeals Board (ALAB) to approve its application for a salmon farm at Shot Head in Bantry Bay with an investment of €6m which, it says, will create eight jobs.
As Marine Harvest, the company initially applied for the licence in June 2011.
The company – the largest salmon producer in the world, currently operates fish farms at Ahabeg and Roancarrig on the western side of Bantry Bay.
A company spokesperson for the company described it as ‘a very positive step forward for the Irish aquaculture industry, as a whole’, adding: ‘This development at Shot Head is likely to be complete in just 14 weeks in accordance with Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine installation requirements.’
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine originally granted the licence in 2015 but this was appealed to the ALAB by 14 different parties, including Save Bantry Bay and the applicant, Mowi.
Mowi Ireland is a subsidiary of the Mowi Group headquartered in Norway with 12,200 employees operating across 25 countries worldwide and servicing 70 markets across the globe.
A spokesman for the conservation charity Friends of the Irish Environment, which is based on the Beara peninsula, said this morning they were ‘gutted’ by the decision.
‘Both operators and the opponents agree that the current licensing system is not fit for purpose and yet we continue to grant permissions under this infirm legal regime. Penalties can not be graded, leaving the authorities only the option of shutting down farms, which is open to legal challenge. To allow yet more salmon farms without fixing the legislation is sickening – both for us and for Bantry Bay.’
A spokesperson for Save Bantry Bay said they were preparing a statement in response to the decision.