The future of fishing

 

Sir, – It was refreshing to read Tony Lowes of Friends of the Irish Environment expressing confidence in and support for the current Irish aquaculture licensing system in his letter (September 4th). He is correct in his assertion that “licences can be granted only if the project will not have adverse impacts on protected species or habitat”. The current system is both rigorous and science-based. It involves a high level of public consultation and is fully transparent.

On that basis, perhaps Mr Lowes could now get behind Ireland’s aquaculture industry and support it as a sustainable and valuable source of much-needed coastal job creation and as a contributor to our export-led recovery, rather than engaging in scare tactics. Mr Lowes blatantly attempts to mislead by comparing the output from a salmon farm with human sewage. This is a spurious comparison and one that must be utterly rejected. The harmful elements from human sewage, such as E.coli, cryptosporidium or viruses, are simply not present in the excretions from cold-blooded creatures, such as the Atlantic salmon. The harmful organisms present in human sewage are not, and can never be, produced by a fish such as the Atlantic salmon.

Irish salmon farmers require pristine waters for their stocks to grow and thrive and so their farms need to be positioned in the right locations. The vast majority of Irish farmed salmon is certified organic and its production is sustainable, thanks to the fast-moving, pristine waters along the west coast. It is world renowned as a premium food product and commands, on average, a 50 per cent premium on salmon produced elsewhere. Our farmers currently cannot supply the market demand for this great product. Increasing the output of farmed Irish organic-certified salmon represents a great opportunity to create a large number of sustainable jobs in Ireland’s coastal communities.

I would invite interested readers to look at bim.iefor fact-based, scientific information on the proposed deep-sea organic salmon farm development in Galway Bay. – Yours, etc,

JASON WHOOLEY,

Chief Executive,

Bord Iascaigh Mhara,

PO Box 12,

Crofton Road,

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.