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Created on Tuesday, 21 January 2014
IRELAND's Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has labelled a claim that the recent storm that battered the west coast of Ireland would have damaged the structure of the huge salmon farm proposed for Galway Bay as being "speculative, misinformed and incorrect".
BIM has revealed that it knows the precise wave climate experienced at the location of the proposed fish farm as there was a measuring device on site during the storm.
The data buoy demonstrated that the wave conditions generated by the storm were well within the parameters of the scenarios suggested in our Environmental Impact Statement and would not have caused damage.
The organisation stresses that it has also been confirmed that no damage was suffered by similar fish farms at Clare Island or Deenish Island in Kerry, despite their being subjected to the same storm. Those sites have a similar exposure profile to our proposed Galway Bay site.
The unfortunate storm event has actually provided robust evidence that the proposed sites in Galway Bay are well suited as locations for a modern deep sea salmon farm, according to BIM.
IRELAND's salmon farmers have been praised for investing sufficiently in their infrastructure and training to ensure that their sites weathered the unrelenting storms that have battered the island over the last couple of months.
The Irish Salmon Growers' Association (ISGA) says its members report that no significant damage was caused to any of the 15 marine salmon farming sites from Donegal to west Cork during the period.
ISGA Executive, Richie Flynn, said: "While unprecedented damage was caused to coastal infrastructure, salmon farms stood up extremely well to the constant storm challenge".
Much of the credit for the security of the systems at sea must go to farm staff who worked throughout the holiday period. Mr Flynn said: "Farm companies, who have been denied any assistance from money available through legitimate EU grant schemes, have kept up with the latest technology and reinvested in their farms."
"Minister Coveney must support the commitment and expertise of the aquaculture sector. This is an industry ideally suited to coastal communities, sustainable and successful in every respect and deserving of a better deal from government by way of equal treatment with competitors in other EU countries and a licencing system capable of delivering for a professional, modern food industry."
Mr Flynn concluded: "Commercial aquaculture grant schemes for the finfish and shellfish industry are essential in ensuring that SMEs can keep abreast of international technological developments, continually modernise and improve their safety and environmental management systems and guarantee a year round supply of healthy seafood for the home and domestic markets."