Sustainable Aquaculture

BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mhara), Local & National Policymakers

Current plans for large scale fish farming in Galway Bay should be rejected for many reasons especially when a far better alternative is possible in the form of onshore fish farming. Amongst the many reasons for refusing a large fish farm in Galway Bay are:
– The risk of farmed fish escaping from the massive cages and breeding with wild salmon and introducing genetic weaknesses in the wild stock.
– Large scale fish farms require large amounts of chemicals to treat the fish for disease such as sea lice. Much of these chemicals is not taken up by the fish and enters the sea untreated.
– The large metal and plastic cages housing the fish are unsightly and take away from the beauty of the area which is very dependent on tourism.
– As there would be millions of fish living in close proximity in cages, there would therefore be massive amounts of waste from these fish entering Galway Bay untreated.
– As farmed fish are crowded into small areas they are more prone to disease such as sea lice. Sea lice are then more easily spread from the farmed fish to the wild native stock.

Fish farms, instead of being offshore in the sea, should be on land where it is far easier to control. Onshore fish farming has been shown to work successfully in Scotland and in Canada. It involves large tanks of fish built on land near the coast so that fresh seawater can be pumped into the tanks to keep the fish healthy. Instead of feeding other wild fish to the farmed fish, which further depletes the seas, greener alternatives such as algae-derived feed should be promoted. The energy required for the pumping of seawater into the tanks could be provided by wind farms or other local renewable sources. Onshore fish farming has great potential to provide much needed employment in our rural areas.
Gigha Halibut Ltd., Gigha Island, The Hebrides, Scotland
FishFrom Ltd., Tayinloan, Kintyre, Scotland
Kuterra, British Columbia, Canada

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