Aquaculture producers and members of IFA have expressed serious concerns with a proposal published in December by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to apply to the EPA for a licence to dump almost 100,000 tonnes of fine peaty silt in Donegal bay.
At a meeting today in Killybegs the proposal was described as threatening the health of millions of fish and shellfish farmed along the Donegal and Sligo coastline.
Executive of IFA Aquaculture, Richie Flynn said that producers had voiced serious concerns: “We are all in favour of coastal economic development and the extension of facilities in Killybegs which require dredging, but the consequences of the Department’s proposals to dump the spoil in a site which was previously associated with fish kills would outweigh the benefits by ruining the livelihoods of oyster, mussel and salmon farmers in the bay."
He said the proposed site is “too close to our members, too close to Natura 2000 sites and the level of monitoring proposed is totally inadequate, given the scale of the potential losses involved."
Mr Flynn added: "The models used for dispersion are out of date and most significantly the peaty nature of the silt has not been taken into account. This material will drift and spread throughout the bay, potentially causing damage to up to €50 million of our stocks and threatening 150 jobs.”
Mr Flynn said the EPA must find an alternative site far away from any aquaculture or fishing grounds.