Minister confirms single biggest salmon-farm escape in history in Gearhries, Bantry Bay in Co Cork

THE Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney, has confirmed that 230,000 salmon are missing after storms significantly damaged a salmon farm in Gearhries, Bantry Bay, Co Cork, on February 1st, 2014, making it Ireland’s largest single salmon farm escape in history.

“As things stand there is no evidence of any mortalities at the Gearhries salmon farm and not one of the missing salmon are accounted for. This could spell disaster for wild salmon in Bantry Bay.” said secretary Alec O’Donovan.

“The sheer scale of the escape means that the already depleted wild salmon stocks in local rivers could be swamped. The Dromogowlane, Coomhola, Owvane, Meelagh, Glengarriff and Adrigole rivers are all less than 20km from the escape site,” he said.

“We now have 230,000 escaped farmed salmon that pose a significant genetic risk to our native brood stock. The proposed Shot Head site is only a few kilometres across the bay from the escape site.


Chairman Kieran O’Shea said: “It is time to stop investing in open cage salmon farms which are clearly failing, and to start investing in land-based closed containment systems from which salmon cannot escape.”

Save Bantry Bay is calling for the proposed salmon farm at Shot Head in Bantry Bay to be rejected on grounds of environmental and economic impacts. Contact Alec O’Donovan (087-794 9227) or Kieran O’Shea (086-128 0303) for further details.

Outing for media
Ten years on and the media angling outing to Annamoe Trout Fisheries in Co Wicklow continues to grow in popularity. This year's event was again well attended with media folk gathered for a day of fly fishing and to enjoy the opportunity to relax in good company and pleasant surroundings.

Over morning coffee in the lodge, Inland Fisheries Ireland director Brian Beckett wished the group pleasant fishing and paid tribute to his team of Josie Coleman and Des Chew who helped organise the event.

A minute’s silence was also for Philip Lawton who died during the year. Philip rarely missed the occasion and always enjoyed his fishing. His wit and humour will be sadly missed.

It was great to welcome Bobby Kerr, of Dragon's Den fame, into the fold and the return of BBCNi correspondent Diarmaid Fleming back from Moscow. Both enjoyed their day and Diarmaid went on to win the competition with four good rainbow trout.

Rules on the day were simple: barbless single fly, catch-and-release and change to different sections on the hour. Conditions were ideal and the fish co-operated, with 36 recorded and many lost across 15 anglers.

Annamoe’s Brian Nally home-made curry and beef stew went down a treat with second helpings very much on the cards. Following a few words from Brian including a welcome back next year, most competitors received a prize and were high in praise for a most enjoyable day.

While the three-acre lake is open all-year, a children’s fishing pond is open from May to September. Contact 0404-45470 or Results: 1, D Fleming; 2, R Valean; 3, J Buckley; 4, D Evans; D McBride.

Stormy and cold
Lough Beltra got off to a great start on opening day. Two boats ventured out and despite stormy and cold conditions a fresh salmon of 5.1kg (11lb) was released by Fergus Bain, and Rocky Moran lost two good fish.

On the first day in April, Edwin Oxlade released a fresh salmon of 5.4kg (12lb) and lost a second while his friend Jim Woods released a great fish of 6.8kg (15lbs).

Newport House opened on April 4th and resident guests can enjoy one day of free fishing on the Newport River up to May 11th.