BIM says proposed fish farm would have survived storms

Far from providing a case against the proposed giant salmon fish farm for Galway Bay, the recent “unfortunate storm” is “robust evidence” the proposed site is “well suited” for a such a structure.

This is the view of An Bord Iascaigh Mhara, which has described as “speculative, misinformed, and incorrect”, claims made in last week’s Galway Advertiser by Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages, Salmon Watch Ireland, and Independent county councillor Tom Welby that the recent storms would have destroyed a structure like the fish farm proposed for off the coast of Inis Óirr.

BIM said the storms “would not have caused damage” as the “wave conditions generated by the storm were well within the parameters of the scenarios suggested in our Environmental Impact Statement”. BIM had a data buoy at the location of the proposed fish farm measuring the wave climate experienced during the storm.

BIM also pointed out that IFA Aquaculture confirmed that “no damage was suffered” by similar fish farms at Clare Island or Deenish Island in Kerry despite being subjected to the same storm.

However, Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages have challenged IBM’s claims, saying that page 157 of the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed farm notes that “75 per cent of waves in Galway Bay are less than 1m in height and waves with a significant wave height in excess of 3m are classed as being uncommon”.

GBASC have pointed out that the waves in Galway Bay during the storms were between 12-15m in height. The group also called on BIM to produce figures for off the coast at Indreabhán and Inis Óirr.

Furthermore, GBASC said the BIM statement only mentioned two salmon cage installations - one in Kerry, the other in Mayo. GBASC chair Billy Smyth is now calling on BIM to “clarify whether any open salmon operations” were impacted by the storms here in Ireland and which resulted in “mortalities as occurred in Scotland and Norway with the loss of thousands of salmon”.


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