No fish farm should be located in Galway Bay, until serious questions about potential risks, pollution, sea lice, and escapees, are answered publicly, through an oral hearing.
This is the view of Fine Gael Connemara candidate Niamh Byrne, who has “serious reservations” about An Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s proposal to locate a 1,126 acre, 15,000 tonne, open caged salmon fish farm off Inis Óirr.
Ms Byrne and the Fine Gael Oughterard branch say “too many questions remain unanswered” on the issue. As a result, they will be writing to the Marine Minister Simon Coveney, calling on him not to grant permission for the farm until the risks fully examined.
“Lough Corrib was the mainstay of the town of Oughterard for so long but it has been seriously impacted by pollution,” said Ms Byrne. “We cannot support a proposal that would further impact on our native salmon stocks and the future viability of Lough Corrib and Oughterard.”
Ms Byrne is also calling for an oral hearing to be considered so a full, public, debate can take place on issues such as the exact migrating path of salmon smolts which is disputed by anglers and BIM.
The stance taken by Ms Byrne and the FG Oughterard branch is one of the few instances where FG members have publicly come out to criticise the proposed salmon farm of which Minister Coveney is widely believed to be privately in favour.
Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages - made up of anglers, hoteliers, guest house owners, and environmentalists - has welcomed Ms Byrne’s stance.
“So far, the three Government TDs in Galway West - Seán Kyne, Brian Walsh, and Derek Nolan - have not issued a statement against the proposed salmon farm or let the public know what they think on this issue,” said GBASC chair Billy Smyth. “They should take a leaf out of the book of Oughterard FG and come out and support the stance of their branch members