Anglers urged to protest proposed NW salmon farms

THE Chair of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund in Northern Ireland is urging Londonderry anglers to support a protest march in Galway on March 2, against plans for a host of new salmon farms off the North West coast including prospective operations at Lough Swilly, Mulroy Bay and Tory island.

Jim Haughey has already written 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 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.

Mr Haughey told the Sentinel: “This is a direct protest against the proposed salmon farms at various locations on the West and North West Coasts of Ireland including vast new farms in Galway Bay and Donegal; should these farms go ahead the future of our salmon and seatrout runs are in grave danger.

“The Ulster Angling Federation will be represented at the march, and would welcome as much support on the day as possible in an effort to show the Irish Government the strength of feeling against this proposal. Latest information we have on arrangements are as follows, please note these are subject to confirmation.”

The march will convene at noon at Eyre Square in Galway City on March 2. It will then proceed across the Corrib to the Claddagh where protestors will meet boatmen before proceeding to Salthill where Skipper Expo the is set to take place.

Mr Haughey stated: “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 has 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