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An rud bhios na do bhroin, cha bhi e na do thiomhnadh
"That which you have wasted will not be there for future generations"

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International News, December 2006

  • Germany
  • Norway
  • New Zealand
  • Chile
  • Ireland

GERMANY

The German supermarket group, Lidl, has launched a range of frozen foods using wild fish, including wild Alaskan salmon and Pollock, backed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo. The MSC is an independent London-based international charity that operates a fisheries certification programme which encourages sustainable fishery practices. Also chasing sustainability and sporting the MSC logo, German salmon smoker, Gottfried Friedrichs has been granted permission to put the World Wide Fund’s (WWF) prestigious panda logo on their new chilled salmon product. Friedrich recently made a substantial donation to WWF’s new marine research centre in Hamburg.

NORWAY

Year 2005 looks set to break all records for factory-fish farm escapes in Norway. The largest escape reported occurred at a Marine Harvest site near Tustna. An estimated 300,000 fish were initially thought to have escaped, but this figure was revised upwards to nearly 500,000 by the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate. The escape was thought to have happened when mooring lines failed. Norway, which produces more than 600,000 tonnes of farmed salmon each year, has a less than savoury record in connection with fish farm escapes. In 2002 it is estimated that 800,000 fish escaped from their cages and in 2005 the figure looks as though it will be closer to the 1 million mark. WWF’s marine coordinator in Norway, Maren Esmark, commented that the escapes proved that “the national salmon fjords must be emptied of salmon farms” to protect wild fish stocks. Concern is also being expressed about the spread of disease along the Norwegian coastline because of the introduction of new species of farmed fish, such as cod and halibut. Ms Vera Lund, of the Norwegian College of Fishery Science said that furunculosis was already a problem in halibut farms, and was an increasing problem in cod farms. In October, Ms Lund, according to a Fiskeriforskning report, said, “Since neither cod nor halibut are vaccinated against atypical furunculosis, it is also possible that cod can infect halibut in a nearby farm. In addition, we do not know for certain whether salmon that are vaccinated against atypical furunculosis are protected against all variants of the atypical furunculosis bacteria that are found in the environment.”

NEW ZEALAND

The Nelson Mail carried a story about government attempts to persuade people to accept the presence of fish farms in pristine waters, rather than the industry being carried on from land-based, closed containment systems. Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton claimed that the most successful fish farming operations where those that were conducted in pristine waters, “in natural environments,” he said. The minister claimed that the challenge facing the industry was for them to persuade regional communities to “accept aquaculture as a normal part of economic development.” However, people who may have paid dearly for a home with a fine sea view might not welcome the presence of a fish farm spoiling the vista. Mr Anderton explained, “We’ve got to see areas where the coastline is turned into aquaculture as a natural thing which we see and think it’s nice to see fish farming.”

CHILE

Not everyone welcomes the growth of salmon farming in Chile, least of all Maria Mansilla who lives on Chiduapi Island in the tenth region of that country. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Maria, who is in her early 60’s, remembers when sea lions and dolphins swam outside her front yard. Today, she says her aquatic visitors have been replaced by plastic bags of dead, smelly fish produced by a nearby salmon company, ironically called Aguas Claras, or "Clear Waters." "The sea lions have been killed and the dolphins don't return because they are intelligent," said Mansilla, who has lived on the serene Chidhuapi channel for more than five decades. "They know this place is neither clean nor safe." Her complaint echoes a growing dissatisfaction here and abroad over the practices of many of the approximately 60 national and foreign salmon companies operating in Chile. The San Francisco Chronicle also interviewed another Chiduapi Island resident, Jose Roman, who has worked 10 hours a day, six days a week for the Norwegian-owned fish farmer Mainstream Salmones y Alimentos. He earns the equivalent of US$170 a month, US$20 more than then minimum allowable wage. "They treat us like slaves," said the father of four. "And if we are sick, or late, or take breaks, we get a cut in pay."

IRELAND

‘STOP NOW COMMENDS GOVERNMENT ON DRIFT-NET BAN’ Stop Now today warmly welcomed the Government decision to adopt the recommendations of the Independent Salmon Group and to ban drift-net fishing from 2007. Niall Greene, Chairman of Stop Now, said, “Today’s Government decision is of critical importance for the future of Irish salmon and the Government is to be commended for acting quickly and decisively on foot of the Independent Salmon Group report. In particular, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resource, Noel Dempsey, TD, deserves credit for the resolve and foresight he has shown on this issue.” “The decision to ban drift-net fishing for salmon presents everyone involved in the sector with an unprecedented opportunity to work in partnership to rebuild our salmon stocks. The end of drift-netting is an important initiative, it is imperative that this positive development is now supported by a range of other measures to protect and restore this unique species. Anglers are more than ready to play their part to ensure that wild Irish salmon return to Irish rivers in abundance over the coming years,” concluded Niall Greene. For more information contact: Niall Greene, Stop Now on tel: 086-8269222. Founded in 2004, Stop Salmon Drift Nets Now is a single-focus, not-for-profit organisation. The organisation represents angling federations, fishery owners and tourism interests who are campaigning for the ending of the single largest threat to the survival of the Atlantic salmon - drift netting for salmon at sea. see: www.stopnow.ie