18th December

Aquaculture licence refused on grounds of poor flushing in location

Brian Moore

Plans for a new mussel farm in Dunmanus Bay have received a major setback with the refusal by the Aquaculture Appeals Board to grant the company a licence.

Dunmanus Bay Mussels Ltd applied to the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, for an aquaculture and foreshore licence to begin operations in the waters between the Mizen and Sheep’s Head peninsulas in West Cork.

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Dunmanus Bay. Photo Brian Moore

While the licence was granted by the department, a group including local residents – the Association of Dunmanus Bay fishermen – the Dunmanus Bay Marine Association and the Friends of the Irish Environment, launched an appeal to the AAB.

 At a meeting on September 24, the AAP refused to grant permission for the licence, citing insufficient flushing at the proposed mussel farm site.

While there is sufficient water depth in the proposed area, the AAB noted it was a sheltered location and was ‘likely to harbour large amounts of organic and inorganic waste material produced during production, compromising the integrity of the marine habitat.’

Tony Lowes, Friends of the Irish Environment, said they were “delighted” with the decision.

“I think we may be seeing the turning of the tide, so to speak, when it comes to this type of aquaculture in our bays. This decision bodes well for the environmental future of Dunmanus Bay and I hope Bantry Bay as well.”

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