WEST Cork anglers have vpiced their oppostion to the expansion of fish farming around the Irish coast which they say has a negative environmental impact.
Anglers on the Bandon river, one of West Cork’s premier angling rivers have also gained the support of local Fianna Fáil town mayor Cllr. Gillian Coughlan in their opposition to the proposed fish farm in Galway Bay, which would be the biggest in Europe if completed.
Cllr Coughlan said that scientific research suggests that fish faming has a negative impact, not only on native Salmon and Trout but also on shellfish and wildlife populations.
“The environmental and economic impacts of a fish farm on the Bandon River Valley are of huge concern to me,” she said, “every year, hundreds of anglers visit this renowned salmon course and any diminution in stocks would have a devastating knock-on effect for local hotels, shops and restaurants, not to mention the impact on local recreational anglers”.
Opponents say that salmon farms increase the population of sea lice to dangerous levels cuasing disease and death among natuarl fish stocks, those these clamis are strenuously denied by the fish farming industry.
Cllr Coughlan has called on Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney not to grant the license for the proposed fish farm in Galway, which under the proposals, would have the eventual capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes of farmed salmon a year.
Cllr Coughlan said, “Any future fish farm developments should be land-based, closed containment systems which have been proven to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
“I am calling on the Minister to protect our inland waters and coastal environment and not to leave a legacy of depleted rivers and contaminated seas.”