Sunday 18 March 2018

Controversial Galway fish farm plans withdrawn

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Plans for a controversial fish farm off the coast of Galway have been withdrawn by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

The agency had been seeking an aquaculture licence for a 15,000 tonne fish farm off the coast of Inis Oirr.

The agency confirmed this afternoon that it would no longer be going ahead with the plans.

They stated the decision was taken in light of a new Sustainable Aquaculture Development strategy which sets limits on the scale of offshore salmon farms.

It is also contrary to the size of the proposed development in Galway Bay.

Announcing the decision, BIM CEO, Tara McCarthy said: “Taking account of the new policy framework, BIM has reviewed its work programme to match our activities against this new Plan.

"The scaling of fish farms was one element that had to be addressed and we have taken swift and decisive action on that. We must now re-assess our delivery of this project in the context of the new operating environment and examine the operational and commercial impacts. This will take time and a significant amount of engagement and consultation.”

Ms McCarthy added; “It is important to note that €30 million of EU support has been earmarked to support Irish aquaculture over the next five years to deliver on growth targets set out in the Government Food Wise 2025 report.

"BIM’s focus for the period will be to continue to drive and explore new innovative technologies, lead sustainability programmes and improve profitability for our producers to deliver against considerable market demand”.

Groups opposed to the plans, including Galway Bay against Salmon Cages, welcomed the news today.

However, chair of the group, Billy Smith said they were concerned BIM could make an application for a smaller scale project. He said they would continue to oppose any plans for fish farms in the area.

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