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.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Bantry Bay Oral Hearing


The Bantry Bay Oral Hearing takes place on the 19th and 20th of September at the West Lodge Hotel, Bantry, County Cork. The oral hearing concerns the licensing of a salmon farm at Shot Head in Bantry Bay.

Here under please find links to the submission from Salmon Watch Ireland.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Oceans Shifting Baseline

This talk demonstrates that our perception of our fisheries is largely based on our own lifetime rather that the historic abundances which once existed. A must see for all who consider our fishery resources as acceptable.

Daniel Pauly: Oceans shifting baseline

Friday, 14 July 2017

Pink Salmon Ireland 2017

A number of pink salmon have been caught on Ireland's rivers this year with reports that this trend is also happening in some UK rivers and indeed Norway. It is important that all such catches are reported to Inland Fisheries Ireland in order that the distribution and number of these invasive fish can be assessed.

It is expected that further catches may arise this year but as cycle is two years it is anticipated that further catches are unlikely until 2019. The identification is not problematic with the following defining features evident:

  • Large Black Spots on Tail
  • 11-19 Rays on Anal Fin
  • Small scale structure compared to Atlantic salmon
  • No spots on gill covers
  • Humpback appearance Males Spawning
Further information is contained in this leaflet: Fact Sheet Pink Salmon

Fish Counter Data 2016

Fish Counter Data available now at Fish Counter Report 2016

The report shows some interesting figures related to Ireland's latest Atlantic salmon runs. The overall trend appears to be a downward trend with the Kerry region experiencing poor returns especially in later summer months.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Sea Lice Report: Erriff RiverLong Term Study

A long term study by Inland Fisheries Ireland has definitively linked a reduction of up to 50% in returning adult salmon to high levels of lice infestation of farmed salmon in Killary Harbour. This is a real breakthrough in that it is probably the first study to illustrate that fish farming will affect wild salmon returns when lice levels are not managed effectively.

With changing sea water temperatures around Ireland the effectiveness of current protocols are really redundant and the only way to guarantee effective lice management is to surround cages with effective physical and biological barriers. This in effect must be the a system of closed containment. The lice problems are demonstrated to be generally at their worst in the second year of production.

This current year 2017 has demonstrated that weather patterns can cause a multitude of problems with little rainfall causing high salinity levels in bays with warm sunshine elevating sea temperatures which in turn are a recipe for extremely high larval sea lice production.

There needs to be a very serious discussion as to the future of aquaculture and it is essential that wild fish interests are protected.

New technologies are arriving with every passing year but essentially to suit commercial interests. We need a radical re-think by Government on the entire issue and a road map to protect our vulnerable ecosystems.

How great it would be if this industry was effectively run in the interests of wild salmon and sea trout.
We would hope that this report might form the basis of re-visiting of our complaint to the EU.

Further Details:Erriff Report