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


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This announcement by BIM now ends the long wait of the Attorney General’s response to FISSTA as the application is now withdrawn.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.

Letter to Justice department

Sent: 16 December 2015 12:48
To: ‘Marion G. Walsh’
Subject: Firearms Directive

Dear Marion,

As you know, Irish shooting interests are represented at the level of the European institutions by the Federation of Associations for Shooting and Conservation (FACE), which also represents the national associations of firearms owners in 36 countries, including all EU. In addition to my position as National Director of NARGC, I am also the Irish representative to FACE where I have served variously as a Board Member and also two terms as Vice President over the past 20 years.

Among many other issues, FACE has been dealing with the Commission’s proposals to amend the Firearms Directive. I understand the Council of the EU will meet on Friday in Brussels to discuss the Directive and the proposals for amendment Article by Article. Following discussion and consultation with all the member state shooting organisations, FACE has prepared a position paper in response to what is proposed. While many of the proposals will not significantly affect Ireland as our regulatory regime is already largely in “harmony” with what is being proposed, there are nonetheless some proposals which would alter our situation and which we, and FACE would oppose. In particular, we oppose the proposal to use this Directive for a purpose for which it was never designed for i.e. anti-crime/terrorism measures. The Directive was implemented to facilitate the free movement of citizens with sporting firearms and is not even within the brief of the Commission which is responsible for security. It deals with firearms which are not what are being used by terrorist groups. The Commission’s proposals will manifestly have no impact on criminal/terrorist access to their firearms of preference. The only effect of the amendments as proposed will be to make life more difficult for law abiding citizens without contributing any measurable improvement to safety and security of EU citizens.

Of real concern for shooting associations here in Ireland is the proposal on minimum age. This would simply strangle the lifeblood of shooting associations and is a measure we would have to vigorously oppose. There are also issues around de-activated firearms and standards for same which we could support in principle. An EU policy on sound moderators could be welcome, if it removes the inconsistencies as exist here which commonly result in prejudice being the deciding factor rather than merit with many licensing officers. The creation of new categories of certain semi-auto firearms is illogical.

I attach for your information a copy of the FACE position paper which we support and I would ask you to bring it to the attention of whoever will be attending Friday’s meeting representing Ireland. If you have any queries on any matter in the paper, please feel free to give me a call or email.

Kindest regards,

Des Crofton
National Director
& Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition

FACE Position with AM on Firearms Directive 15 Dec2015