NGO contests Marine Harvest's Bantry Bay salmon expansion
Environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment has voiced concern over Marine Harvest’s intended expansion of its salmon farm in Bantry Bay.
The NGO argues that the expansion of a new salmon farm site in Shot Head, Bantry Bay – which Marine Harvest was approved for last month by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – will place far too much stress on the marine environment. Tony Lowes, the spokesperson for Friends of the Irish Environment, said that overstocking and waste production could cause major detriment to Bantry Bay’s surrounding ecosystem.
“If the licence is granted, it will increase the biomass of fish in the bay. The stress on the environment, waste production by fish, nitrogen in the water — all these things are amplified enormously,” Lowes told the Irish Examiner.
Lowes claims that Marine Harvest has a history of overstocking – he said the company’s Castletownbere main site was guilty of overstocking in from 2011-2013. What’s more, the NGO has questioned whether Marine Harvest had provided proper documentation for the audit process in 2013, according to the Irish Examiner. However, the Marine Institute released a statement after reviewing the documents finding that “there is nowhere that we can see in records for 2014 that show they [Marine Harvest] refused to release the data.”
Marine Harvest plans to invest EUR 3.5 million (USD 3.9 million) in the new Shot Head facility. The company expects improvements to occur across its area operations as a result of the new salmon farm expansion: “The investment at Shot Head would vastly improve the company’s existing Bantry Bay facilities, enabling improved rotation of the fish crop and creating a world-class operation in the Beara Peninsula which will secure the long-term future of the aquaculture industry in the area,” according to the company site.
Dissenting members of the public can appeal the ministers decision for the site to the appeals board, a department spokesperson told the Examiner.