Saturday, 19 September 2015

Letter from Salmon Watch Ireland: Examiner 18th September 2015

Dear Editor

Salmon Watch Ireland welcomes the recent publication of an international review of over 300 scientific publications on the effects of sea lice on stocks of wild sea trout. The review carried out by scientists from Norway, Scotland and Ireland concludes that sea lice have negatively impacted wild sea trout stocks in Ireland, Scotland and Norway and that Atlantic salmon stocks have also been impacted with 12-29% fewer salmon spawning in areas utilised for salmon farming.

The review indicated that in areas where salmon farming takes place, an increase in sea lice in the marine habitat occurs, with a consequent disastrous negative effect on both Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks.

Salmon Watch Ireland has consistently argued that salmon farming as it is currently carried out in Ireland is environmentally unsustainable and causes ecological destruction of valuable marine habitats, Atlantic salmon  and sea trout stocks while also leading to negative consequences for local economies through loss of angling tourism.  

The locations of salmon farms in Ireland (South West, West and North West) are in areas of spectacular beauty and richness in biodiversity but adjacent rivers and streams are now practically devoid of sea trout with salmon stocks substantially reduced leading to ecological destruction. Many of these rivers and streams are designated as Salmonid Special Areas of Conservation which the state is obliged to protect under European law but the locations and current operational practices involved in salmon farming make this impossible.

Salmon Watch Ireland now invites the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine to engage effectively with all stakeholders to discuss the consequence of this report with a view to implement a policy review to effectively protect salmonid stocks. For further information please visit our website at www.salmon.ie

John Murphy
Salmon Watch Ireland
16 September 2015