NGO applies for injunction against Marine Harvest –

NGO applies for injunction against Marine Harvest Published:  12 August, 2014

FRIENDS of the Irish Environment (FIE) has applied for a High Court Injunction to prevent Marine Harvest Ireland taking water from a lake for its fish farm in Kilkieran Bay.

A report in the Irish Times states that the action has been taken by the group because Galway County Council has failed to take any action.

The fish farming company has been extracting water from Loch an Ór, in Connemara, for the treatment of salmon with Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD).

Marine Harvest Ireland explained that the move was in response to an outbreak of the disease amongst its Kilkieran Bay salmon. Water from the lake was pumped into a wellboat and ‘affected salmon were then allowed a three hour life-saving swim in well-boat’s fresh water,’ said the company.

‘The emergency response was carried out without full compliance with regulatory planning approvals in order to save the lives of the salmon,’ it conceded.

An application for temporary planning permission for the installation and retention of a water delivery pipe was made on 24 July, the company claims.

The company also made assurances that there was no impact on the local water supply, and no adverse environmental impact.  

FIE argues that the application was invalid, because such a development requires assessment under European law, and that ‘Marine Harvest is gaming the system.’

‘We believe they have support from the highest levels and that neither the county council nor Irish Water will take any action against this multinational,’ said FIE Director, Tony Lowes, ‘In spite of the threat to public water supplies in the area due to this extraction.’

Commenting on the injunction application, Marine Harvest Ireland said that it was ‘disappointed that a lobby group opposed to fish farming has sought a High Court injunction.

‘Not only will the injunction deny basic animal welfare by preventing the necessary live-saving fresh water treatment of farm fish stock, but it will confirm a death sentence on €20 million of salmon, threaten the 60 direct jobs and 40 downstream jobs associated with it, and damage Ireland’s reputation as a location for offshore fish farming.’

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