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Oil Spill Threat to Irish Aquaculture

by the Fish Site Editor
19 February 2009, at 12:00am

IRELAND - The Irish Farmers Association's Aquaculture Section has warned that oyster and mussel producers along the south coast are fearing pollution damage and losses of stocks due to the oil spill incident off Fastnet which is reported to be making its way to inshore areas.

IFA Aquaculture Executive Secretary, Richie Flynn, said the organisation’s members along the south coast feared the worst from this pollution incident. “Aquaculture producers are in the front line when environmental problems are caused by shipping or industry along the coast”, he said.

Mr Flynn pointed out, “The counties of Cork, Waterford and Wexford are important producers of quality mussels and oysters, producing over a quarter of the national production. Over 100 small and medium sized farms operate in inshore areas from Kenmare Bay in west Cork to Wexford Harbour. These farms are static operations with no possibility to move out of the way of any potential slick. It is imperative that the three local authorities and the EPA put into place an emergency plan to ensure that facilities such as booms are available should the slick make landfall near a shellfish farm. Every effort must be made to collect or disperse the slick while it is still atsea.”

Oil spills have caused problems and massive losses for the aquaculture industry internationally - most notably the “Prestige" case in Galicia (2002) and the "Braer" incident in the Shetland Islands

the Fish Site Editor