The majority of councillors elected to the Galway city and county councils are opposed to, or have serious concerns about, the proposed salmon farm for Galway Bay.
An Bord Iascaigh Mhara is seeking permission to construct a 1,126 acre, 15,000 tonne, open caged salmon fish farm off Inis Óirr. The plans have met with opposition from anglers, environmentalists, some sections of the scientific community, as well as from many TDs and councillors.
The concerns relate to the potential damage salmon farms could cause to wild salmon stock through the presence of sea lice.
Candidates elected last weekend to County Buildings who oppose or are concerned by the salmon farm plans, and who have stated this publicly are Thomas Welby (Ind ), Tomas Ó Curraoin (RSF ), Sean Ó Tuairisg (FF ), Niamh Byrne (FG ), Seamus Walsh (FF ); and Athenry-Oranmore’s Jim Cuddy (Ind )
City candidates who have publicly stated their position are Catherine Connolly (Ind ), Terry O’Flaherty (Ind ), Donal Lyons (Ind ), Niall McNelis (Lab ), Mike Cubbard (Ind ), Cathal Ó Chonchúir (SF ), and Mairead Farrell (SF ).
Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages has welcomed the election of such councillors and said it looks “forward to continuing to work with them in opposing this environmentally damaging proposal”.
Although Marine Minister Simon Coveney was expected to make a decision in late June/early July on the salmon farm, no final decision is likely until the after the Cabinet reshuffle.
GBASC was also highly critical of the “independence and reliability of scientific advice” put forward from the Marine Institute.
“There is mounting concerns that its position on lice from salmon farms flies in the face of other scientific reports from scientists from Ireland and other countries,” a GBASC spokesperson said, “where salmon cages are located and are having major detrimental impacts on wild salmon stocks.”