Rossbeigh oyster farm protest
CONCERNED residents in a scenic coastal area of Kerry have planned a public protest over plans to develop a major oyster farm in the area.
The organisers of the protest say they have significant support from householders in Rossbeigh, Glenbeigh, and Dooks – areas that they claim will be most affected if the plans are approved.
The protest is planned for the Blue Flag Rossbeigh Beach this Sunday where organisers will voice concerns over the potential impact such a farm could have on their locality.
SaveThisBeach.com spokesperson Maurice Murphy feels “an industrial scale” Pacific Oyster farming development could have a negative impact on scenery in an area that thrives on tourism.
The group claims that a further seven applications are in the pipeline in nearby waters, a claim the Department has not yet responded to since it was contacted by The Kerryman this week.
Mr Murphy is also astonished that Minister for the Marine Michael Creed has said an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not required for the application – which is located within a Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar site – and he feels the application process is weighted heavily against appeals.
“This exceptionally scenic area is located within a Special Area of Conservation adjacent to the Wild Atlantic Way, the Ring of Kerry and the proposed Greenway track from Glenbeigh to Valentia. It’s a major habitat for native and migratory birds and [is a] hugely popular recreational area enjoyed daily by locals and visitors,” he said.
“A map was published last week on the Department [of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine] website as part of an application. We believe this map outlines the scale of the proposed upcoming seven applications that were confirmed by DAFM. We estimate this area to be 400 acres or more,” he claimed.
“It is not really a consultation,” he claimed of the consultation process for applications. “It occurs after the Minister has already approved the application... in addition to prohibitive costs to appeal, there is a very strict deadline to adhere to: a mere four weeks.
This hardly leaves time for communities, groups, organisations, or individuals to put together documents to substantiate their appeal, especially when scientific evidence is required,” he said, adding that the public has until February 28 to object to this application.
The protest and fundraising walk is scheduled for 2pm from the parking at Rosspoint Inn and is open to all interested parties.
The Kerryman had received no response from the Department at time of print.
Minister Creed said the 2.75 hectare site is not likely to have significant effects on the environment and added that the decision not to require an EIA gave regard to European Commission documents. He also said the proposal would have little visual impact and would have no significant impact on recreational use.
The license application states that the operation will provide two part-time jobs. If successful, the Kerry-based applicants, who have more than 20 years’ aquaculture experience in the Castlemaine Harbour area, will farm crassostrea gigas oysters using bags and trestle, while also using hatchery seed from France, Guernsey, the UK, and Ireland. By its fifth year it is projected to produce 25 tonnes. Oyster farmers in Castlemaine Harbour have previously bemoaned delays in the application process, saying they have put many jobs on hold.
Councillor Michael Cahill has called on the applicants to reconsider their proposed location, adding that the proposal had caused great concern amongst residents, local businesses, holiday home owners and tourists.
The Fianna Fáil Councillor also suggested there are more appropriate sites available than the Glenbeigh area.