Monday, November 2, 2020

Say no, West Coast, to 83 hectares Of Intensive Oyster Farming

This is valentia harbour/ portmagee channel,the area that there are licences being sought for prpposed oyster farms, totalling over 83 hectacres which would be @205 acres of oyster farmingSend to - These are the hoops to jump through this time: We must send individual letters (emails) to object to individual license applications! 

Edwardsia delapiae sea anemone

Valentia harbour 

the only known location in the WORLD

If you are further up the coast than Dingle, you could contact Renard - Save Our Strand as they could have the application numbers for the whole map. Or will know how you can get them.

Objection to license application T06/461A for Oyster Farming

T06/461A Realt Na Mara Shellfish ltd, Cromane lower, Killorglin, Co.Kerry

T06/521A Nigel Sheehan, Stookisland, Cromane, Co.Kerry

T06/502A Brian Mc Carthy and Daniel O' Mahony

T06/503A Brian Mc Carthy and Daniel O' Mahony

T06/514A Brian Mc Carthy and Daniel O' Mahony

T06/515A Brian MC Carthy and Daniel O'Mahon
Daniel O'Mahony Ardcost Portage
Brian McCarthy, Annadale road,Killorglin

A Public Health Warning is in place already in regard to Realt Na Mara's Cromane oyster farm due to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. 

I would like to object to this planning application in the strongest possible terms. Indeed, if you do grant this license, you will have had to deliberately overlook various key and blatantly obvious reasons not to, in order to serve some agenda known only to yourselves.

First:The ecological environment. 
Water quality in Valentia harbour and up the coast in many areas is polluted already.
The drinking water in Cahirciveen is currently and often deemed 'unsafe to drink'.
This pollution is caused as rain water systems (gutters) all lead into the sewers, with their tanks situated in the harbour, which then overflow and contaminate both fresh and marine water. There is no easy way to clean this situation up by dredging the harbour floor of sewage, without destroying the environment. It would be a big job by dedicated people who can work out a non mechanical approach. 

Two: What the DAFM should actually get behind.
Seaweed could filter the effluent and restore the marine environment but only if the cause  is addressed. This would mean funding under the Green Deal remit, the introduction of grey water systems for Cahirciveen residents and collecting water instead for baths and toilets etc rather than letting it keep overwhelming the municipal sewage tanks. Both seaweed cultivation and addressing the polluted water are worth doing. 

Three: Ireland is supposed to be moving away from intensive farming.
However, the very last thing the West coast needs are intensive shell fishing operations, exploiting the last square metres of shore and marine environment that Ireland has to play with. 

Four:  Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning already at Realt Na Mara Shellfish farm in Cromane.
 In July, just this year, the SFPA issued a public health warning in regard to this company's  shellfish. 

"due to the presence of a marine toxin, Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)"

Five: The Industry is on its way down, not expanding.
This is not a marine environment that can take any more disturbance or exploitation, like trying to intensively farm shellfish for a foreign market, for example. Indeed Renard Point's own fishmongers had to close down partly due to so much of the shell fish being affected by this Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.  That and the fact that the DAFM has consistently let the super trawlers create basically dead zones just offshore by overfishing and then throwing back the young, smaller stock dead.

Six: The Environmental Importance of the marine environment
And don't get me started on blaming the seals for the lack of fish and breeding too much, too close to the shore and the issuing of licenses to let fishermen shoot them from boats. I am so blown away by your ignorance of the natural world and coastal communities and the pressures and threats on the ecological systems that we rely on (including seaweed and algae that produces up to 80% of the oxygen you breathe. But not the sort of algae plumes that gather around the effluent in the bays. No, that is a sign of toxicity and lack of oxygen to the environment below. Please do not give licenses.

Seven: Under the cover of the pandemic, developments like these that affect the environment, are happening with impunity.  
And do you really think you can stick 300 community hubs on the island under the ruse of increasing internet speed and think that no one will notice the increase in electromagnetic stress that all this technological infrastructure will cause? Technology investment is also under the CAP now although artificial intelligence does not produce food and it is not without environmental and health impacts. Or are you just hoping to blame all consequences on the pandemic? In fact, with a respiratory illness, even a drop in oxygen levels caused by intensifying shell-fish farming and exploitation of the marine environment could probably be blamed on the pandemic too. Please use some discernment.

Eight: Disappearance of shellfish species
Even five years ago, visiting the King Scollop Festival on Valentia, there was a terrible shortage of shellfish. So much so, they had to bring supplies down from Donegal. There is not a resource to exploit, I promise you. There is, actually, an unseen calamity unfolding.

Nine: Money talks but it hasn't spoken yet. 
You can deny these licenses no problem now, before the mad investment that these companies are preparing to make. After which it will be nearly impossible to do. Also enquire where their money for investing is coming from - it could be Green Deal Money or farm support or covid recovery money or a deal with a foreign investor or a loan from a bank. One thing is obvious, they are not doing well as a company themselves as their produce is already being refused due to unacceptable toxicity levels that are not only non-compliant with food safety standards. They have actually recently be reported as dangerous to public health / consumers. 
10. Accountability and Transparency (Old-fashioned, I know) What about SACs and EU Directives? (Any better?)
Well, I'm watching you and the Renard Save Our Strand are watching and the whole community.
 Finally, even the Green Party are also watching your decision in this as the areas for which licenses are proposed, are areas of Special Conservation. Our neglect of Biodiversity in these areas have moved the EU to fine us on a daily basis. Ireland was asked, as you no doubt know, since 2002 to take action and I imagine that precludes giving licenses to oyster farms, which will clearly not promote or protect biodiversity. 

11. Areas of outstanding natural beauty. 
Have a look at some photos of the endless strips of un-swimmable, un-sailable, un-visitable, unsightly, not to say contaminating, environmentally insensitive and pretty cruel, unhealthy and unnatural oyster farms and then juxtapose them with photos of the channel between Renard and Valentia Island right now. We might be locked down but you don't get to issue licenses without looking at what you're responsible for.

Can I suggest not trashing the place any further until the plan is formed how to sustainably protect our protected areas and not give a license to the first companies that appear.

12. Validation of EPA reports 
If you want to tell the coastal communities that the EPA reports say the oyster farms are safe, then let me refresh your memory about the EPA reports for the Shell licenses. Their  plans the EPA also said were grand. The CAS (Central Access Scheme motorway and bridge into the Medieval Mile of Kilkenny, where the EPA also oversaw the pouring of unwashed stone into the river, later called by the High Court 'the worst case of environmental destruction and species lost that had been heard.' The EPA are clearly working within old parameters, disconnected from the Climate Action Charters or any sort of regard for the environment, one might argue.

13. So the minister that I would ask you to check in with is Malcolm Noonan, whose office wrote saying that he would definitely investigate the license proposals, in regard to the SACs (Special Areas of Conservation).

14. I would also ask you to check if there are already traditional seaweed harvesting licenses for any of these stretches as their rights are thankfully protected now too by the Oireachtas committee in 2019.

15. These farms do not need planning permission? These farms only need licenses. These applications were only brought to the attention of the communities directly involved and living on these exact shores a week ago. No public consultation whatsoever. So please forgive my exasperated tone and restore some faith in your department's processes and rationale, by refusing this license. And just because we only have 6 of the application numbers and the other communities might not have any group advocating for them, do not use that as an excuse to allow those licenses. This is a basic principle of the grounds on which you grant licenses. Just a blanket 'No' to all of them would be fair to all communities. And just help the wannabe operators/applicants to diversify into something more harmless and constructive.  

Yours sincerely, Frances Micklem  

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