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No help for farm attacked by jellyfish

NORTHERN IRELAND - Northern Ireland's government says there is no money available, as yet, to help the the province's only organic salmon farm to stay afloat.

Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew said budgets were fixed, but she would consult with colleagues to see if some finds could be used to help the company, which was desimated by a freak jellyfish attack earlier this week.

"It is our only organic salmon fishery. Unfortunately our poultry industry and our red meat industry are all under pressure and in need of assistance," she said.

A swarm of mauve stinger jellyfish collided with the fish farm and killed all the salmon at the site off the Antrim Coast. Rescuers tried to reach the rearing cages, but the density of swarm made it impossible.

Rough sea conditions off Glenarm Bay and Cushendun have hampered efforts by divers using suction pumps to collect the dead salmon out for transporting to a rendering plant in County Meath.

Managing director John Russell said the future of the company and its 12 employees remained uncertain but it was still "early days".

"We don't intend to take decisions too quickly, but remain focused in terms of keeping everybody in work," he said.

Local MP Sammy Wilson said that the government was still seeking ways of getting assistance for the company.

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Ellen Hardy

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