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Galway Bay salmon farm halted as EU concerned by ‘Fundamental errors’ in scientific data

category national | environment | other press author Sunday December 01, 2013 00:08author by T Report this post to the editors

Indications of corruption in the granting of permission to Galway Bay Massive Salmon Fish Farm

This report comes from the Galway Advertiser and is posted on Ireland Against Salmon Website. It concerns the case of the proposal to build a massive salmon farm of 1,126 acres in Galway Bay and it seems the commercial pressures to build it had undue interest. The so called scientific basis for granting permission was based on two 'scientific' papers which were completely flawed in their conclusions and one can only come to the conclusion that it was to suit what they were designed to do, to give a fig leaf of respectability to the proposal. Once again it shows how the intersection of money and anything corrupts. And in this case both the environment and the reputation of science in this particular area, loses out. For those not in the known, the giant infestations of sea-lice that these fish farms cause with 10s of thousands of fish in close proximity to each other, cause devastation to the stocks of wild salmon threatening to wipe them out.

A public enquiry could result from allegations of flawed and suppressed information regarding controversial proposal to construct a massive salmon farm in Galway Bay. The allegations have already led the EU Commission to re-open an investigation on the farm and demand explanations from Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.

EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik re-opened Pilot Investigation 764/09/ENV1 following claims of “fundamental errors” in the analysis of key papers by the Marine Institute in Oranmore regarding the sea lice threat to wild salmon posed by intensive salmon farming; allegations that information from Inland Fisheries Ireland on the scale of damage caused to wild fish from lice was withheld by the Department of Agriculture; and perceived refusals by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to answer questions in the Dáil on the fish farm.

The proposal by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara to locate the 1,126 acre, 15,000 tonne, open caged salmon fish farm off Inis Óirr, is now halted pending the EU investigation and Minister Coveney now has until January 15 to explain the situation. The Galway Bay Protection Group, a body made up of doctors and medics concerned by the health implications of a fish farm, has welcomed the EU Commission’s decision but believe a public enquiry is also needed to examine the entire issue. It is seeking to raise funds for the holding of such an enquiry.

‘Fundamental errors’

The main reason Commissioner Potocnik re-opened the investigation is the emergence of new scientific analysis which called into question data that had been presented to the Department of Agriculture.
A team of four international experts from the University of Toronto, the University of Prince Edward, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, and the Scottish Ocean’s Institute at St Andrews reanalysed the data contained in three Marine Institute reports regarding the impact of sea lice on wild salmon, for the August edition of The Journal Of Fish Diseases.

The team found “fundamental methodological errors” in the all three Marine Institute papers and concluded the percentage of wild salmon killed by sea lice is not “one per cent” as claimed by the Marine Institute, but is actually “more than 30 times higher” - in effect one-third of the overall number of adult salmon. Two of the Marine institute papers form the basis of the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed fish farm.
On three occasions this matter was raised in Dáil Éireann by Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish, at the request of the Galway Bay Protection Group, Minister Coveney made no reply, except on once to say the Marine Institute protocols are “strictly evidence based” and “totally independent of the industry”.

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Related Link: http://www.salmonfarmsireland.com/2013_11_01_archive.html
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