AN oral hearing into a planned salmon farm in Bantry Bay is to take place in West Cork.
The Aquaculture Licence Appeals Board (ALAB) has granted a hearing to those appealing the decision by the Department of Agriculture to give a licence for a salmon farm in Bantry Bay. ‘It is now five years since Marine Harvest first applied for a salmon farm licence at Shot Head in Bantry Bay. During this time, hundreds of objections have been submitted from inshore fishermen, anglers, tourism operators, local businesses, residents and environmentalists,’ said Kieran O’Shea of Save Bantry Bay (SBB).
The licence was approved in October 2016. Opponents of the licence have queried why the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) failed to acknowledge the existence of nearest river to the proposed salmon farm – the Dromagowlane. ‘This river is home to various protected wildlife species, upon which the salmon farm could have a significant impact,’ said a SBB spokesperson. They claim that Marine Harvest failed to consult locals when compiling the EIA. Opponents have also said that sea lice are a serious concern for salmon farms and the pesticides which may be used to control them.
‘These chemicals are highly damaging to the marine environment and species such as prawn, lobster and shrimp upon which inshore fishermen depend for their livelihood,’ said Alec O’Donovan of Save Bantry Bay. ‘Yet, the EIA completed by Marine Harvest failed to complete any assessment of Bantry Bay’s ability to disperse toxins. As a result, it isn’t fully understood what the long-term consequences of their use may be.’
The group says Shot Head – near Trafrask, Adrigole, is ‘not an appropriate location’ for a salmon farm.
No date has yet been finalised for the oral hearing.