The public consultation period officially begins today (Monday 15th October 2012) in the licence application process for a deep sea fish farm in outer Galway Bay.
The consultation period will run for eight weeks, during which time any member of the public may make observations or comments to the Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Natural Resources, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D. The closing date for submissions to the Minister is midnight on the 12th of December 2012.
The public consultation period is being widely publicised and accompanied by a comprehensive information campaign. All of the application information, including the full Environmental Impact Statement, drawings and artists impressions of the proposed development as well as Irish and English versions of a non-technical summary are available at www.bim.ie.
BIM’s CEO, Jason Whooley, reiterated the Seafood Development Agency’s commitment to full and transparent communications throughout the process and welcomed the beginning of the public consultation phase.
He said: ‘BIM have a vital role to play in the coming eight weeks to ensure that members of the public are given the opportunity to inform themselves about the proposed development. The level of scientific research that has gone into identifying these potentially suitable locations in outer Galway Bay for deep sea fish farming is unprecedented, bringing together research and modelling from some of the State’s most eminent marine scientists. We are confident that the very carefully chosen locations, matched with the rigorous monitoring that must accompany any salmon farm in Ireland will enable the proposed development to run successfully and produce premium organic salmon, something that Ireland is world renowned for.’
The licence application for the deep sea salmon farm is to produce 15,000 tonnes of organic- certified salmon. It is envisaged that, should the application be successful, this output will be carefully and incrementally built up over a 6 year period, bringing with it over 500 new jobs. These jobs would be created both directly (350) and indirectly (150) creating a €14.5 million annual wages flow, mainly in the vicinity of the proposed farm. Irish organic farmed salmon is a premium product in Europe, commanding on average a 50% premium on farmed salmon produced elsewhere. This exceptional market position is a direct result of the strict standards that Ireland’s organic salmon farmers adhere to. The single biggest issue facing Irish salmon producers today is that they cannot fulfil the demand for their product.
In order to ensure that this highly valuable natural resource remains in the ownership of the State and also to ensure ongoing rigorous enforcement of environmental standards, BIM would retain the licence as an asset for the State and seek a suitable commercial operator to manage the efficient running of the salmon farm. This approach will allow BIM to apply additional standards to the running of the farm, to maximise returns to the local coastal economy in accordance with our mission to develop the Irish seafood industry and sustain coastal communities.
BIM has already engaged in widespread stakeholder meetings and briefings in an effort to make people aware of the proposed project, its nature and scale and also to explain the unique approach that is being taken to secure this opportunity to create jobs and wealth for the local economy.