NW anglers urged to oppose salmon farms that could ‘devastate’ wild fish

THE Chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund in Northern Ireland is urging Londonderry anglers to oppose plans for a host of new salmon farms off the West and North West coasts including prospective operations at Lough Swilly, Mulroy Boy and Tory island.

Jim Haughey wrote to local club secretaries and directors on behalf of the Ulster Angling Federation asking them to oppose Deep Sea Salmon Farm Aquaculture and Foreshore Licence Applications T9/489A & B, which the lobby believes will be devastating for the wild salmon.

He claimed a proposed farm in Galway Bay will produce more salmon than the whole of Ireland. A proposed farm near Tory will be similar in size.

He wrote: “This is to be in Galway Bay and forms the first of some 42 new salmon farms in the west and northwest of the Republic of Ireland which have the potential to destroy the remaining salmonid stocks.

“The Galway Bay farm alone will produce more salmon than the whole of Ireland at present, with a similar size farm planned for the Gola Island/Tory Island area of north west Donegal; further farms are planned for Lough Swilly, Mulroy Bay, and in most bays along the coast.”

An Inland Fisheries Ireland report noted the potential impact of fish farms on wild salmon stocks.

It found that an escape of approximately 29,000 fish in Lough Swilly in 1992 was investigated and it was found that up to 18 per cent of the juvenile salmon in the Crana river entering Lough Swilly were of farmed salmon origin.