PRESS RELEASE FOR: 1 December 2017
A refusal to release details of the 41 outbreaks of disease on Irish salmon farms reported to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s agencies in 2016 and 2017 is the subject of a petition launched today to the newly established Petitions Committee of the Oireachtas.
The Petitions Committee, established by the Oireachtas in 2015, examines Petitions from members of the public. The Committee is empowered to report to the Dáil with recommendations, including a request that their report be debated by the Dáil.
The Petition, being organised by the Boycott Organic Farmed Salmon for Christmas 2017 campaign, claims ‘The state policy of refusing to release information on these diseases is not in the public interest and denies the public its rights to protect the public health and the environment.’
The petition follows on a series of Parliamentary Questions tabled by Clare Daly, TD. after reports of a large number of mortalities at the Marine Harvest Roancarricg salmon farm in Bantry Bay in September of 2017. Large numbers of ’Dead salmon and wild fish including mackerel’ were reported to Inland Fisheries Ireland in Macroom, County Cork on 21 September and conformed by his Department, according to the Ministers reply to Deputy Daly.
While initially credited to jellyfish strikes, the Minister subsequently confirmed in the most recent parliamentary reply on 8th November that the mortalities at Roancarrigh were also due to CMS [Cardiomyopathy Syndrome], a severe viral cardiac disease that can lead to sudden death. It originated in Norway in 1988 and is now well established there. It was first reported in Ireland in 2014. The human variants is known as ‘heart break disease’. Diseased farmed fish can infect wild salmon. The recent use of ‘cleaner fish’ to control lice in salmon farms, such as wrasse which are taken in local waters, are susceptible and 2017 research found wrasse held on an Irish salmon farm in the south-west had been infected with CMS from the salmon.
However, an email from Marine Harvest in response to the Inland Fisheries Ireland enquiry dated 22 September 2017 said the company’s mortalities were due to jellyfish during week 35 (28 August – 3 September) and that they couldn’t comment on the pathology of the wild mackerel mortality but they suspected ‘these blooms are to blame’.
A spokesman for the Boycott Campaign said that ‘All we are asking is that the public be told what is going on. The Minister says there is a contagious disease, but the company says there are only jellyfish. We have a right to know what is going on along our coast, and our petition to the Oireachtas is to ask their support in requiring the publication of the 41 diseases and the incidents of infection of our wild fish.
In order to be listed as a supporter of the petition, the public can email their name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Wildfish Website http://www.wildfish.ie/
Read the Parliamentary Questions and the Marine Harvest email.
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cms_pq_mh_denial_41.pdf 1.16 Mb