State agencies in talks to resolve dispute over Galway Bay fish farm

Galway debate hears call to locate proposed €60m project onshore

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) says it is in negotiations with Inland Fisheries Ireland over differences relating to the proposed €60 million fish farm for Galway Bay.

The two State agencies have been at odds over the project for a 15,000-tonne organic salmon farm, which BIM is seeking licensing approval for from Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney.

Both agencies have differed over scientific interpretations of the possible impact on wild salmon stocks and they were due to debate the issue at the Galway Food Festival over the weekend.

However, the food fair organisers were informed at a late stage that neither agency was sending a representative.


BIM told The Irish Times it did not feel it would be appropriate to debate in a public forum when negotiations were in train, while IFI was not available for comment.

Food fair debate
At the food fair debate, Séamus Sheridan of Sheridan's Cheesemongers and the Green Party called for BIM to reconsider an onshore alternative for the project which would carry fewer disease risks.

He cited as examples two onshore organic fish farms planned for Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre and Canada.

Mr Sheridan also expressed concern about the sustain ability of sourcing adequate feed for the proposed farm.

A conventional fish farm requires 3kg of wild fish for meal to feed a kilogramme of farmed salmon, he said, and much of this was sourced from South America, he added.

An Aran islander, Bertie Faherty, who is a fish buyer in Rossaveal, Co Galway, said that he was personally in favour of the project as it would create much-needed employment.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times