After five short years, BioAtlantis five year application for mechanical harvesting of seaweed is coming to an end and harvesting is hoping to begin in the next few months.
Bantry Bay Community fears are becoming reality as many worry about the economical and ecological damage this will have. The mechanical processing will involve harvesting kelp or seaweed which it is more commonly know as on 1860 acres of Irish Sea Bed.
The people are infuriated with the lack of public consultation and lack of consideration for the local environment as this new project is seen as an ‘experiment’ to see whether mechanical harvesting is sustainable for future uses on domestic and foreign shores. This experiment could potentially prohibit the growth of seaweed.
Wayne O’ Sullivan, local community activist and Fine Gael Youth Officer, acknowledges that “everything was done by the book’ but where in the book does it say that consideration should be given to the local impact on the community and its surrounding seabed area. Wayne O’ Sullivan states that there has been no talk of the effect this will have on the local people of Bantry.
“I have met, consulted and talked with young local fishermen and we all have agreed that we want the best for our Bantry Bay. We want to ensure that local jobs and trade are not impacted by this new mechanical processing. The local fishermen must be protected at all costs and local businesses must be supported in every way possible and don’t need the hindrance of companies like BioAtlantis blowing in where they are not welcome”
Wayne O Sullivan also states that we need to take the approach that the Galway People had with the idea of mechanical harvesting invading their shores and made it known that mechanical harvesting is not wanted and more importantly will not be accepted. I wanted to draw peoples attention to more sustainable methods of harvesting that are being proposed by a local business; Wild Atlantic Sea Products.
This business plans to cultivate seaweed on a longline grid system on an area of foreshore adjacent to Bank Harbour, Castletownbere and Bantry Bay. As a community that live in small rural areas, we must unify and back new business ideas that Wild Atlantic Sea Products are applying for. We must support initiative that don’t destroy the ground they work with but instead utilise the resources that we have been given.
Mr W. O Sullivan has sent a letter to the minister addressing his concerns and requested that the application be withdrawn from the system until a sustainable plan is in place that supports Bantry and its residents.