FISSTA sees off Government plan for Mega Salmon Farms on the West Coast.

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The Chairman of the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISSTA), Paul Lawton, has welcomed Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM) announcement of the withdrawal of its Inis Oir/Galway Bay application for the first of ten mega salmon farms along the West Coast of Ireland.

“FISSTA was the first to mobilise and campaign against the plan which was first announced by Minister Simon Coveney TD in 2011. The process for awarding the license was further obstructed following FISSTA’s notice of legal action against the government and Coveney’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine last May which delayed the decision and put political pressure on the Minister to review his ill thought out mega farms plan of 2011.”  said Mr. Lawton.

This announcement by BIM now ends the long wait of the Attorney General’s response to FISSTA as the application is now withdrawn. FISSTA is delighted that the BIM Board has decided to scrap the ten mega farms plan following our national campaign which saw thousands of anglers and supporters of the wild salmon on the streets of Galway city, Castlebar (at the Taoiseach’s office) and Carrigaline (The Minister’s office) over the past five years.

FISSTA will now continue its campaign against the government’s open net sea cage salmon farming policy for which Minister Coveney granted a license in Bantry Bay in October and against which we have currently lodged an objection. FISSTA now calls on the Minister to further review such damaging polluting cages and bring them onshore to be managed under the existing more stringent EU waste management directives.

While no war has been won as yet, FISSTA acknowledges that the first of many battles has ended with the announcement of withdrawal of the Galway Bay application.

FISSTA thanks all who supported the campaign to save Galway Bay from the disaster which the BIM application for 15,000 tons of farmed salmon would have inflicted on the Bay and in terms of the damage which would have wiped out our wild fish resources on the West coast.

FISSTA especially wishes to thank our colleagues in the Sports Coalition and the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) who stood with us and gave their strong support to FISSTSA at this crucial time and to all our angling federations who work together for the good of our sport and our wild salmon. NARGC National Director and Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition, Des Crofton said “There can be no doubt based on every piece of research ever undertaken into fish farms that they pose unacceptable risks to wild fish stocks. The impact which the BIM application would have had on wild Atlantic salmon, had it been successful, would have been disastrous. It would likely have been quite profitable but at what cost environmentally? Had the application proceeded it would have represented an incredible act of hypocrisy, particularly following the Paris Climate Change Summit where the Taoiseach held forth about Ireland’s commitment to playing its part in saving the planet.”

 We wish all a very Happy Christmas and a successful 2016.

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