Welby seeks independent enquiry into fish farm proposals

Proposals for a Deep Sea Fish Farm in Galway must be subject to an independent enquiry following deeply inconsistent reports given by two State bodies to the Galway County Council.

This is the view of the Mayor of County Galway, Thomas Welby, who has written to the Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney, calling on him to suspend the licensing process and initiate the review. The farm is proposed to be located in Galway Bay.

Mayor Welby is concerned about what he sees as “the complete inconsistency of information” between the Inland Fisheries Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara, as outlined in two separate presentations given at County Buildings recently.

The presentation by the IFI expressed concerns regarding effects on wild stock in relation to sea lice, possible cross contamination of wild stock from escaped farmed stock, EIS reports the IFI called “deficient”, and questionable jobs calculations.

However, the BIM presentation stated sea lice was not an issue in relation to the decline of wild stock, that escapes from farmed cages will not occur, and that information from IFI was incorporated into the EIS reports.

“I am astounded that two State bodies were practically at polar opposites in relation to their presentations,” Mayor Welby said. “Because of the huge variance I am seriously concerned that one side is giving a totally misleading view. On the basis of this I am calling for an independent report regarding the application.”

Mayor Welby also said he would be “totally opposed to the project” as it could “wipe out the wild stock through sea lice infestation of native indigenous stocks of salmon and sea trout and cross contamination”.

He added: “In relation to the jobs projections, the possibilities of jobs displacements in the existing tourism sector needs to be thoroughly considered.”


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