What’s the issue?
Aquaculture is the farming of fish, shellfish or other aquatic organisms in a controlled environment in the water. While little is known about the true environmental impact of the aquaculture industry in Ireland, aquaculture can create significant risks for the water environment including: spread of disease and parasites from farmed fish to wild populations; pollution from concentrated excretory wastes and feed for farmed fish disrupting the ecology of the surrounding natural environment; and chemical pollution from antibiotics and pesticides releasing into the environment.
What needs to change?
The aquaculture licensing and regulatory regime in Ireland has been heavily criticised by multiple bodies and is in need of significant reform, particularly regarding monitoring and controlling environmental impacts.
SWAN believes that we need strong measures to manage all aquaculture in a coordinated, transparent way, taking into account the cumulative impacts.
Licenses for all existing and future fish farms must be fully reviewed to ensure that they are not compromising the water quality (as per WFD objectives) of the waterbody in which they are located.