A High Court injunction is being sought by Friends of the Irish Environment to force the cessation of water extraction from a lough in Connemara.
The injunction - taken under Section 160 of the Planning and Development Act - demands Marine Harvest remove the 3km long, 225mm pipeline, which is to abstract water from Loughaunare to Ardmore townlands. The move by FIE comes after the Galway County Council ruled that the development was unauthorised and that it required planning permission. Marine Harvest has applied for retention of the pipeline.
Marine Harvest is part of the Marine Harvest Group, a leading seafood company and largest producer of farmed salmon. It produces organic Atlantic salmon at Kilkerian Bay, Connemara.
In a detailed submission to the Planning Authority, FIE quoted extensive research showing the environmental importance of the area. The group says two salmon rivers enter Kilkerian Bay and that the sea bed at Ardmore Point hosts rare corals and anemones.
The FIE submission to the county council read: “Any disturbance to the habitat... could adversely impact on these and other rare species unless appropriate assessment has taken place and rules out any potential adverse impact.”
It also cites research by the Heritage Council and by the Parks and Wildlife Service showing that protected birds, which it says are vulnerable to the slightest disturbances, nest along the coastline.
“Kilkerian Bay is one of two most valuable coastal sites in Ireland,” said FIE director Tony Lowes. “It is madness to run pipelines across the area to support an industrial size fish farm.”