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// OMBUDSMAN ASKED TO INTERVENE ON GALWAY BAY FISH FARM
FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT
FOR SATURDAY 2 MARCH 2013
OMBUDSMAN ASKED TO INTERVENE ON GALWAY BAY FISH FARM
As protestors gather in Galway to protest against the Irish Government’s plans for a 15,000 tonne salmon farm in Galway Bay, Friends of the Irish Environment have lodged a formal complaint with the Ombudsman for Local Government.
The complaint claims that the proposal undermines the National Development Plan 2007 – 2013, which placed a moratorium on the expansion of salmon farming until the sea lice issue has been addressed.
The moratorium was announced in July 2010 after a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Irish Seafood National Program 2007 – 2013, and was published as part of the National Development Plan 2007 –2013.
The statutory body Inland Fisheries Ireland, with the Department of Communications and Natural Resources, required that the moratorium be imposed ‘until the sea lice issue has been addressed’. Inland Fisheries Ireland has recently issued a number of statements opposing the Galway Bay proposal because of the continuing issue with sea lice as infestations remain consistently above the permitted levels and the number of infested sites for two–winter salmon has risen over the last three years from 24% to 40% to 50% in 2011.
According to a note in the July 2010 Program ‘The targets for increased productive capacity for salmon will now have to be deferred until after 2013 as a result of the amendments made to this Programme arising from comments received during the SEA process.’
‘Less than a year later the Minister for the Marine provided an extra €2 million to BIM, specifically stating that these funds were to be used for the Agency to apply for a license for the proposed salmon farm which would itself double national production’, FIE said in a statement released to coincide with the Galway protest.
The group says it first raised the issue in December 2012. It made representations to the Minister for Marine, the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Finance, and the Taoiseach.
In their submission to the Ombudsman, FIE says that have not received any reply to any of the representations, in spite of reminders.
‘There is no point whatsoever in preparing a National Development Plan and putting it through the assessment process under European Law only to flagrantly undermined this valid process by devoting public funds to breaching the Plan’, FIE’s statement concluded.
Verification and further comment:
Tony Lowes 027 74771
Ireland National Development Plan Seafood National Programe 2007 – 2013:
%202007–2013–1.pdf [See pages 99 – 100]
Inland Fisheries Ireland statement 5 February 2012:
Minister’s allocation of funding for ‘deep sea’ aquaculture; Press release 245/11, 5 December, 2011