Thursday, 12 January 2017

FEB 18: Can salmon farming be regulated to effectively protect wild salmonids?

The annual Salmon Watch Ireland Conference is taking place on 18 February in the Salthill Hotel, Galway on the 18th February 2017. This is a unique opportunity whereby attendees can access information on the many complex issues surrounding salmon aquaculture both in Ireland and internationally.  The speakers at the conference encompass a wide range of individuals from fisheries management, legal, scientific, NGO and regulatory authorities. 

Click Here for Conference Brochure

The 2017 Salmon Watch Ireland conference is taking place at a time when the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has established an independent aquaculture licensing review that, he says, ‘must ensure that all stakeholders can participate in a transparent licencing process and have confidence that any licensing decision complies with all EU and national legal requirements and protects our oceans for future generations’.  Regrettably, his statement makes no mention of how all those legal requirements are going to be enforced.  That is the focus of the conference.
 Stocks of wild Atlantic salmon, including those of Ireland, continue to decline.   The causes of this decline are multiple, some having an impact on all components of the salmon population, such as climate change and others, such as salmon farming, having a more local effect.  There is general consensus among those concerned with salmon conservation that the impact of those factors over which man has some direct influence (eg the freshwater and inshore environments, water quality, exploitation, by catch at sea, the impact of salmon farms) need to be addressed with some urgency.
Where salmon farms are concerned, the settled view of the salmon conservation community is that there has to be as rapid as possible transition to recycling and closed containment systems.  There are now sufficient examples of such systems operating in Europe and North such systems operating in Europe and North America to confirm that they are viable methods for producing high quality farmed salmon economically.  But the vast open cage salmon farming industry is not going to transition to closed containment overnight and it is vital that it be regulated so as to  immediately mitigate its negative environmental impacts, including on wild salmonids.
The 2017 Salmon Watch Ireland conference will examine the following important issues:

-          The current state of wild salmon stocks and the causes of decline;

-          The environmental impact of salmon farming;

-          The current legal structure for the regulation of salmon farming;

-          A case study of a regulatory system that has teeth and works – the Faroe Islands;

-          Is a consensus on salmon farming regulation possible?;

-          What needs to be done to effectively regulate Irish salmon farms?

Click Here for Eventbrite Conference Tickets

Monday, 9 January 2017

New research finds salmon farming contributes to sea lice infestation on sea trout as valuable stocks decline

Monday, 9th January 2017: The Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland has welcomed new research by scientists from Inland Fisheries Ireland and Argyll Fisheries Trust (Scotland) which found that sea trout carry significantly higher levels of sea lice infestation closer to marine salmon farms. Researchers examined sea lice levels over 25 years from more than 20,000 sea trout. The sea trout were sampled from 94 separate river and lake systems in Ireland and Scotland at varying distances from salmon farms.
The research revealed that sea trout captured closer to salmon farms had significantly higher levels of lice infestation and were found to be of reduced weight. Sea trout are known to remain for extended periods in near-coastal waters where the majority of salmon farms are located. This fish is therefore particularly vulnerable to sea lice impact, having the potential to encounter lice of farm origin throughout much of its marine life.
The effect of the increased lice infestation was most evident in years of less rainfall, when a sea trout of average length (180mm) caught within 10 kilometres of a farm could weigh up to 10g less than fish of similar length caught more than 40 kilometres from a farm. The study covered the entire coasts of West Ireland and Scotland and accounted for variability in temperature and rainfall.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Shot Head, Bantry Bay: Oral Hearing Granted by Aquaculture Licencing Appeal Board

Salmon Watch Ireland  has been granted an opportunity of participating in an oral hearing regarding the proposed expansion of salmon farming in Bantry Bay. The oral hearing will take place in mid February.
Salmon Watch Ireland welcomes this development and will take this opportunity to address the many negative consequences associated with this proposed extension of salmon farming in the region.
The contents of the letter are included in this link

ALAB Letter