15th October

Marine Institute stands over quality and accuracy of its research

Statement by Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO, Marine Institute:

I welcome the acknowledgement by the 'Journal of Fish Diseases' for their error in publishing as a ‘Short Communication’ the piece by Krkosek et al. claiming ‘fundamental errors’ in Marine Institute science.  

I further welcome the apology by the Journal for the inadequate editorial procedures followed and the unfairness with which they treated the Marine Institute by not affording us right of reply prior to the publication of Krkosek’s accusation.

In the Journal on the 14 August 2013, Krkosek et al.’s work was presented as having been peer reviewed. It was subsequently the basis of much media comment criticising Marine Institute science.

Read more: Marine Institute stands over quality and accuracy of its research

Statement from BIM

Emmet Barrett, Keating & Associates

The contention by groups opposed to salmon farming that the recent storm would have damaged the structure of the salmon farm proposed for Galway Bay is speculative, misinformed and incorrect. 

BIM knows the precise wave climate experienced at the location of the proposed fish farm as there was a measuring device on site during the storm. The data buoy demonstrated that the wave conditions generated by the storm were well within the parameters of the scenarios suggested in our Environmental Impact Statement and would not have caused damage. 

Read more: Statement from BIM

Publisher apologises to Marine Institute for contentious sea-lice article

A controversial article in a prestigious scientific journal that accuses the Marine Institute of ‘incorrectly’ concluding that sea lice play a minor role in the survival of wild salmon, has been downgraded significantly by its publishers who have also apologised to the agency for denying it a right of reply prior to publication.

This is the latest twist in what has been a highly charged debate involving some of Ireland’s environmental State Agencies as well as the scientific community here and abroad.

 Sea louse under the microscope

 Sea louse under the microscope

First published in August 2013 in the widely respected Journal of Fish Diseases, the article, written by a team of scientists led by Dr Martin Krkosek of the University of Toronto alleges that based on its own research, the Marine Institute incorrectly concluded ‘that sea lice play a minor, perhaps even negligible, role in salmon survival’.

Read more: Publisher apologises to Marine Institute for contentious sea-lice article

Allegations of misleading and false information surround salmon farm debate

Two formal complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman which could stall the planning process for a large salmon farm in Galway Bay have been slammed by the project’s promoter BIM as a “deliberate attempt designed to confuse the general public”.

The office confirmed to Inshore Ireland that it was dealing with two separate complaints by the Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) against two government departments. The complaints concern the parts played by both departments during a recent EU Commission investigation into sea lice and salmon farms.

9.5 farmed salmon debate

 “Complaints by the FIE in relation to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are still open and on-going,” a spokeswoman for the office confirmed to Inshore Ireland.

Read more: Allegations of misleading and false information surround salmon farm debate

Debate ‘darkens’ over proposed salmon-farm project

Inshore Ireland masthead

For the second time this year, BIM’s proposal to site a large salmon farming operation in theoutreaches of Galway Bay near Inis Oírr is the subject of our front-page story. By now, no one can be in any doubt that this proposal has managed to raise the volume – if not the quality - of debate as it works its way through the planning system to an eventual Ministerial decision.

Those who oppose sea-based fin fish aquaculture have again shown themselves to be formidable opponents, and the closer we get to a decision, the more intense their arguments become.

As Inshore Ireland went to press we learnt that the Office of the Ombudsman had opened preliminary investigations into two formal complaints from environmental lobby group, Friends of the Irish Environment against two government departments: the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for allegedly deliberately withholding information from an EU Commission investigation; and the Department of Foreign Affairs for its alleged stance in dealing with the EU Commission.

Read more: Debate ‘darkens’ over proposed salmon-farm project

Scientists at odds over how to interpret sea-lice results

A Canadian scientist claims that errors by the Marine Institute in analyzing its own scientific data means it has substantially underestimated the impact of lice on wild salmon. Dr Martin Krkošek from the University of Toronto’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology alleges that scientific papers published by the Marine Institute in 2011 and 2013 ‘incorrectly lead the reader to a conclusion that sea lice play a minor, perhaps even negligible, role in salmon survival. Such a conclusion can be supported only if one is prepared to accept at least three fundamental methodological errors’.

Krkošek further claims in his scientific paper published in The Journal of Fish Diseases, 2013 that his‘re-analyses’ of the same data ‘departs substantially from those reported and interpreted’ by the Marine Institute. ‘Whereas they assert that sea lice cause 1% of mortality in Atlantic salmon, the correct estimate is actually a one-third loss of overall adult recruitment,’ he states.

9.4 Salmon cages at Muir Geal Teo

Read more: Scientists at odds over how to interpret sea-lice results

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