Thursday, 22 March 2018

Salmon Watch Ireland Annual Conference: 21st April 2018 at 1100: Plaza Hotel, Tallagh, Dublin 24

The annual conference hosted by Salmon Watch Ireland on the 21 April 2018 examines the ongoing debate as to whether the wild Atlantic salmon has a future in Ireland. It is an opportunity for all persons interested in this unique fish to engage with those concerned with the management of the resource. There will also be an opportunity to view the remarkable film "Lost at Sea" which should promote a large degree of discussion as to why Atlantic salmon continue to struggle in Ireland and elsewhere. 
This year we have deliberately included a substantial period for discussion where views on how salmon abundance might once again be achieved. This will be an open forum where the views of the audience and panel of speakers on ‘What is to be done’ can be discussed.

Conference agenda

1100 - Opening
1115 - ‘The state of the Irish salmon population’ – Dr Ciaran Byrne, Chief Executive, Inland Fisheries Ireland.

1200 – ‘The drivers of the decline in the salmon population’ -Dr Ken Whelan, Director Research, Atlantic Salmon Trust.

1245 – Lunch and the showing of the documentary film‘Atlantic salmon – Lost at sea’.

1415 – ‘What is to be done’ – Discussion facilitated by Eamon Cusack, Vice President, Institute of Fisheries Management.

1530 – Conclusions – Niall Greene, Chair of the Board, Salmon Watch Ireland.

Eventbrite Tickets Available Here

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Review of Environmental Impacts of Salmon Farming in Scotland

This review is a very important element in understanding the impacts of salmon farming in Scotland and is certainly important in the ongoing debate surrounding aquaculture in Ireland. It is a lengthy document but is fairly comprehensive and deserves scrutiny by concerned anglers and conservationists. Scottish Salmon Farming and its Environmental Impacts

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout

Very good review of widespread research on lice from salmon farms and their effect on salmonid stocks. The review deals very well with the few Marine Institute scientific papers which claim that lice are not a significant problem to  migrating smolts. It also deals with the effects on sea trout which are more sensitive throughout their lifecycle at sea from smolt to post smolt to adult trout. It is incumbent on all to help shift government focus away from the narrow field of research conducted by the Marine Institute and to once and for all demonstrate that even their own 1% effect is reflective of a 15 to 20 percent reduction in adult spawners in these times of poor marine survival. Sea Lice Report

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Bantry Bay Update

Salmon Watch Ireland received the following updated decisions of the Aquaculture Appeals Board in relation to our objection to a licence granted to Marine Harvest Ireland for Shot Head in Bantry Bay. The report of the Chairman of the Oral Hearing has determined that Marine Harvest Ireland must submit additional information regarding a number of issues highlighted at the oral hearing. This is a decision which is positive and certainly increases the environmental burden of proof which Marine Harvest have to reach if a licence is to be granted. We await these additional Environmental Impact Assessments and Appropriate Assessments and will be stringently defending our position that open net salmon farming is not sustainable or environmentally appropriate.

The main recommendations from the Chairman are as follows:

Further to section 59 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Chair of the Oral Hearing recommends as follows:
Conditional upon the results of the supplemental EIA and desk-top studies recommended immediately below, the Board should issue an aquaculture licence for the Shot Head facility (Ref: T05/555) pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, subject to the conditions identified below.
Before making a determination pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should request a supplemental EIS addressing the following matters:
  • The risk of sea-lice infestation of wild salmonids migrating from/to the  Dromagowlane and Trafask Rivers, and any resulting implications for local freshwater pearl mussel populations, based on available research and data;
  • An assessment of the potential impact of salmon farm waste on water quality, having particular regard to the maintenance of ‘good water status’ as required under the WFD; and
Before making a determination pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should conduct desk-top studies of the following matters, which may indicate the need for supplemental appropriate assessment (AA) screening for such matters:

  • An assessment of the otter population of the Dromagowlane and Trafask catchments, and (if necessary) assessment of potential impacts on otters, including the potential impact of declining wild salmon stocks;
  • The potential impacts upon common seal populations in the Glengarriff Harbour and Woodland SAC; and
  • The potential impacts upon wild birds within nearby SPAs.

·        Before making a determination pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should make every effort to consider the potential impacts of large-scale farmed salmon escapes.

·         If, on the basis of such further information, the Board should decide to grant an aquaculture licence pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should consider the inclusion of appropriate conditions requiring a change to the production schedule in order to protect migrating wild salmon and sea trout smolts, or otherwise to control stocking densities at the time of wild salmonid migration, for example by means of early harvesting of mature salmon.   
·        If, on the basis of such further information, the Board should decide to grant an aquaculture licence pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should include conditions to change the current production limit to one based on a maximum allowable biomass of 2,800 tonnes. (Full Oral Hearing Report)

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Atlantic Salmon Lost at Sea Invitation

Salmon Watch Ireland would like to invite you to a viewing of Lost at Sea in Limerick on the 28th Dec 2017. This is a most worthwhile experience as it gives anglers and interested parties an opportunity to experience and comment on the various factors which affect Atlantic salmon on their oceanic journey. Please RSVP to address below.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Freedom of Information:Friends of Irish Environment

Hereunder find documentation regarding the gross over stocking of a smolt hatchery by Marine Harvest and an incredible situation where Marine Harvest over stocked Inishfanard salmon farm (Cork) by an incredible 400,000 smolts. The argument in regard to the Inishfanard site is that Marine Harvest did not agree that fish stocked were in fact smolts but post-smolts despite transfer from their own hatchery. Licence conditions explicitly mention not more than 400,000 SMOLTS can be stocked on the site but over 800,000 were stocked by MH. At least one department official agreed that sites should have their licences revoked but alas legalities are cited as a reason to effectively do nothing with the exception of meeting MH and effectively telling them not to do so again. This matter requires the attention of all NGO'S and must be a focus for the EU and NASCO. Marine Harvest have effectively usurped the Department due to their dominant position within the industry.We at Salmon Watch would like to thank Friends of the Irish Environment for releasing this documentation.

Minister blocks bid to revoke salmon licences
The Sunday Times today covers FIE’s publication of two Submissions to the Minister for Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries by the Principle Officer of the Department’s Aquaculture and Foreshore Division revealing gross overstocking and recommending the withdrawal of Marine Harvest’s salmon farming licences in Donegal and Cork.

Marine Harvest is a Norwegian multi-national which has bought up local fish farm licences and now produces more than 80% of Ireland’s farmed salmon.
In the case of Donegal’s Lough Alton, which supplies 80% of Marine Harvest’s smolts, ‘by its own admission the company exceeded its stocking limitation by a significant degree (17%) for commercial reasons,’ the Submission states.
‘Persistent’ requests for an action plan to address the breaches by Donegal County Council had been met with a refusal by the company who ‘cited economic reasons for not implementing the of treatment facilities which their current production rates would demand in order to achieve compliance’.
The Principle Officer states ‘It can be reasonably stated therefore that the company knowingly breached the terms and conditions of its licence to a substantial degree for clear commercial gain’.
At Inishfarnard in the Kenmare River Special Area of Conservation, gross overstocking has been recorded in the annual Department’s Fin Fish Farm Inspection Reports since 2012. The Inishfarnard site, which is licensed to contain no more than 500 tons of fish, had a standing stock that was 26% above the permitted level before the input of 820,604 young fish in March 2014, this input itself being 105% in excess of the permitted level of 400,000 fish.
Marine Harvest called the licensing system ‘Anachronistic, legally and technically meaningless in its application to modern good farming practice’.
FIE published the Submission as part of its presentation to the recent Oral Hearing of a number appeals against the company’s proposed new salmon farm in Bantry Bay. They told the Oral Hearing, held in Bantry earlier this month, that ‘an applicant who openly informs a licencing authority that he has no intention of meeting his licencing conditions is not a fit person to hold a licence’.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Still plenty more fish in the sea? Not anymore

We’re trying to sustain a miserable leftover of Atlantic salmon bearing little resemblance to historic abundance. Why? The common denominator is man, writes John Murphy
The salmon angling season closes in much of Ireland tomorrow so this is an opportune moment to take stock of the overall position of Atlantic salmon here.
I am always reminded of a concept that Dr Daniel Pauly, a world-renowned fisheries biologist, who stated that every human generation uses the images that they got at the beginning of their conscious lives as a standard.
They will extrapolate forward and the difference then is perceived as a loss but we do not perceive what happened before our time as a loss. This is largely where we are with Atlantic salmon.
We are now trying to sustain a miserable leftover which bears little resemblance to historic abundance and if we are truthful does not even come close to our own memories of what salmon rivers were like in our own time.