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Organic Salmon Farm Back in Production

IRELAND - Glenarm Organic Salmon, an early 'casualty' of global warming, is now back in business.

The Northern Salmon seawater farm off scenic Glenarm suffered a massive fish kill two years ago when a seven-hour invasion by a massive shoal of billions of small jellyfish wiped out more than 100,000 fish in the pens.

4NI reports that the Mauve Stinger jellyfish shoal covered up to 10 square miles of water to a depth of 35 feet and killed all the fish by suffocation such was their bulk in the water.

NI Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, has announced that Glenarm Organic Salmon has re-established itself as the preferred choice of top international chefs.

Glenarm Organic Salmon, which produces a range of salmon products for the premium organic fish market, has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland, particularly in activities such as marketing.

The Minister said demand for the premium seafood is already strong from top restaurants in Europe and the US: "The re-emergence of the brand is a triumph for the Northern Salmon Company which saw salmon in its seawater farms totally wiped out by an unprecedented jellyfish invasion in November 2007.

"Thanks to new investors, the company has recovered from the catastrophe with sea pens in Red Bay and Glenarm Bay now restocked with salmon.

"Invest NI has provided support for the company to develop its processing capability and to help with rebuilding its brand," she said.

The jellyfish flooded into the cages about a mile into the Irish Sea, off Glenarm Bay and Cushendun.

Rescuers tried to reach the cages but the density of fish made it impossible.

In recent years, increasing numbers of mauve stinger jellyfish in the Mediterranean have posed a danger for swimmers.

Their presence in the colder northern waters was thought to be due to wind and tidal factors, but many people suspect the growth of such a huge swarm is more to do with accelerating climate change, due to global warming.

At the time, the salmon farm's Managing Director, John Russell, said he had never seen anything like it in his 30 years in the business.

"The sea was red with these jellyfish and there was nothing we could do about it, absolutely nothing," he said.

"It's a disaster for this company. You cannot legislate for something like this."

Last year too there was another major surge in the killers' migration, with a mass invasion of Mauve stingers discovered near Portrush, County Antrim and as far south as County Sligo.

At the time, in October 2008, the billion-strong swarm was estimated as stretching for hundreds of miles around the Irish coast.

According to 4NI, the news comes as the Stormont Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, highlighted the long-term resilience and sustainability of the seas.

The Minister was speaking as he delivered the opening address at the 'Brave New Ocean' conference, organised by the Ulster Wildlife Trust to help raise awareness about what is happening in the world's oceans.

"Northern Ireland's seas support around half of our biodiversity, including many threatened marine animal and plant species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.

"Sustainable development is at the heart of the proposals and key to the achievement of this is a holistic and integrated approach to the management of activities in the marine environment," the Minister continued, noting that the forthcoming UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill sets a partnership framework from which legislative reforms in Northern Ireland will follow.

He explained that new marine legislation will be introduced using a combination of the UK Bill and a NI Marine Bill.

the Fish Site Editor

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