Minister Coveney asked to halt the planned mechanical harvesting of kelp in Bantry Bay

IN a letter to Minister for Housing, Planning Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD, West Cork TD Michael Collins demanded that the license granted to BioAtlantis to harvest Kelp from an area of over 1800 acres in Bantry Bay be withdrawn immediately.

I am asking that your department reverse its decision to grant a license to BioAtlantis, Tralee. 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.

This is the first license of its kind to harvest Kelp, or any other seaweeds, mechanically in Ireland and Deputy Collins wants more time to be given to researching the effects such a harvester will have on the local eco-system in Bantry Bay.

There is huge anger and unrest in West Cork as a result of this license being issued and there is huge concern for our local ecology and economy. Bantry Bay is a huge resource from an environmental aspect, for tourism and for local jobs.

This license which has been granted without essential input from key stake holders is seen as a huge imposition on the people of Bantry. They view the granting of this license as grossly unfair and they see no benefit to the Bantry area, instead there is huge fear of the negative implications it will have,” Deputy Collins said.

Deputy Collins also enclosed, with his letter to the Minister, a copy of a signed petition with almost 3,000 signatures from people voicing their objections to the proposed mechanical Kelp harvesting in Bantry Bay.

We cannot allow this harvesting to go ahead until know exactly what this machine will do to Bantry Bay,” Deputy Collins concluded.