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Sinn Féin calls for All Ireland action to develop Salmon farming

29 January, 2004

Sinn Féin's Environmental spokesperson Willie Clarke MLA, has responded to a report study published in the magazine Science, which claimed that farmed Atlantic salmon from Scotland contains the highest levels of cancer-causing chemicals in the world.

Cllr Clarke said:

"There is a genuine fear that eating farmed salmon increases the risk of cancer. People are worried about toxicity levels, and the growth hormones and chemicals used in large commercial farms. Last week's report in the respected American scientific journal 'Science' claimed that Scottish fish farms were amongst the most contaminated in the world. This report has the potential to damage consumer confidence in the Irish salmon farming industry.

"An integrated all-Ireland approach must be brought forward in order to develop aquaculture, and salmon farming is a key to this industry. There is no long-term economic or environmental sense in trying to compete with the massive Norwegian and Chilean factory farms that have flooded the global market with cheap fish. Irish salmon must be synonymous with safety and quality.

"To achieve this the emphasis must be on low-intensity farming along organic guidelines. It is also essential that we provide proper protection for wild salmon habitats. We need to see further investment in feeding methods so techniques can continue to evolve and improve and natural food sources such as the sand eel preserved. Proper investment and support from the Irish and British Governments will be a key factor in achieving this.

"Every effort must be made to develop a quality product that is sustainable, safe to eat and an alternative to mass production. This can only be achieved with North/South co-operation."ENDS

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