August 10, 2022
Irish politicians clash over salmon farm licensing policy
Two partners in Ireland's coalition government have clashed over salmon farm licensing policy.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, currently Ireland's minister for environment, climate change and communications, wrote recently to his ministerial colleague Charlie McConalogue – a member of the Fianna Fáil party and head of Ireland's Department of Agriculture – questioning the system in place to regulate salmon farms' impact on wild stocks, with particular concern for the spread of sea lice.
Ryan's department oversees Inland Fisheries Ireland, the state agency in charge of protecting wild salmon, while the Agriculture Ministry oversees aquaculture licensing guided by research produced by another state entity, the Marine Institute.
McConalogue, in a reply to Ryan's letter, defended the vigor of the institute's research and the regulatory process it operates, which he said is also bound by European Union conservation law.
The tiff comes amid opposition from anglers and environmentalists to a license sought by Mowi for a large salmon farm in Ballinakill Bay, part of the scenic region of Connemara on Ireland's west coast.
Tourism executives in the area have also spoken against the project, fearing an impact on sizeable numbers of angling tourists that visit the region.