THE planned mechanical harvesting of kelp in Bantry Bay must not be allowed to go ahead, independent West Cork TD Michael Collins has told the Dáil.
“The license, which allows BioAtlantis to mechanically harvest vast amounts of kelp in Bantry Bay is experimental and the effects could cause huge damage to West Cork,” Deputy Collins said, adding, “the mechanical harvesting of kelp will affect the birds, fish, flora and invertebrates in the area and it will also affect our local fishermen whose living is dependent on the bay and its resources.”
The proposed mechanical harvesting would be on a larger scale than anywhere else within Irish or British coastal waters and is scheduled to begin at the end of June where more than 700 hectares (1,800 acres) of Bantry Bay has been earmark for harvesting.
“There was a complete lack of adequate communication between your department and the people of the Bantry area,” Deputy Collins told Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English TD adding, “your department has an obligation to support Cork County Council and to give them information on proposed developments in the locality in order for them to be able to disperse this information to the public and allow them to have an input.”
Deputy Collins has called for an immediate halt to any and all plans to harvest kelp by mechanical means in Bantry.
“Until proper public consultation is carried out, an environmental impact statement is published and a public oral hearing in to the proposed harvesting takes place, this licence, granted to BioAtlantis, must be revoked,” Deputy Collins said.
“Minister I ask that you revoke the license issued to BioAtlantis, Tralee without delay on the basis that your department did not advertise this license with sufficient detail, it did not engage in consultation with local stakeholders and it failed to respect the Bantry Bay Coastal Zone Charter.” Deputy Collins concluded.