Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment -Monday 22 April 2019
The decision to revoke the licence of the Norwegian multi-national Marine Harvest to grow salmon at their site in Deenish on the Kerry coast has been welcomed by the environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE], who first published the Department’s recommendation to revoke the licences for overstocking on their website in September 2017.
The recommendation to revoke the three licences were refused at that time by Minister Creed, citing grounds of ‘serious commercial consequences’ and ‘proportionality’.
In ‘discontinuing’ this licence last week, the Minister noted that the company recorded a harvest in 2016 of 1,108 tons - in excess of the authorised limit by 122%. Reversing his 2017 decision, the Notice published on the Departments website last week says the decision is ‘warranted and proportionate’.
While welcoming the decision, FIE Director Tony Lowes said that two other cases where the Principle Officer of the Aquaculture Division of the Department of Agriculture had also recommended the licences be revoked – Inishfarnard in the Kenmare River and Lough Alton in Donegal - remain unaffected.
‘While we welcome the Minister’s action in this case, we would urge him to reconsider his decision in the two other cases. His suggestion that the Department will amend the licence at Inishfarnard is not tenable as the licence has expired and expired licences can not be amended.’
‘The high levels of overstocking means that the pressures on the environment has not been assessed, as required by European and national law. The overstocking also undermines the Department’s sea lice control, where the number of lice are based on samples taken multiplied by the number of fish licenced. If the site is overstocked by 122%, the number of lice will also be 122% higher than the recorded level.’
Mr. Lowes said that ‘the failure to deal vigorously with significant breaches of licence conditions is a result of the conflict of interest within the Department between its role as industry developer and as industry regulator. This creates an objective bias in the functioning of the Department. The Government must reorganise the Department so that the Marine Institute and the Sea Fish Protection Authority are administered by a non-fisheries division of the Department. The necessary and appropriate checks and balances incumbent on the Department in the exercise of its functions is impossible under the current regime.’
Read the 2017 Reports
And the Ministerial decisions
Tony Lowes +353 (0)27 74 771 / +353 (0)87 2176316
Daithí Ó hÉalaithe (Irish language) +353 (0)87 6178852