A licence application for a Mussel Shellfish farm in Kinsale Harbour was submitted to the Dept. of Agriculture and Marine on 21st December 2018. The Application Number is T05/472A, submitted by Woodstown Bay Shellfish, The Harbour, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford.
Parts 1 & 2 of the application are available for Public inspection, and available on line at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/seafood/aquacultureforeshoremanagement/aquaculturelicensing/
Alarmingly the licence application covers an area of 25 hectares (62 acres) stretching from roughly the Blockhouse (James Fort) to Money Point (ref. map on Part 1 of application) (equivalent to 21 Gaelic, or 35 Soccer/Rugby pitches).
Production tonnage is stated as 200t and harvesting would be by dredging, and a similar process would be used to control predators (crab & starfish).
Other than the impact, or lack of same as claimed in this case, of this proposed development on two Special Protection Areas (SPAs) or ‘Natura 2000’ sites in the harbour area, the Old Head (special consideration interest, Kittiwake and Guillemots) and the Sovereign Islands, which are addressed in the application, potential impact on the quality of the water off local beaches is not addressed.
The licence application is for the harvesting of 200 Tonnes/annum, which equates to 14.8 Million mussels harvested per year. As Mussels take three years to grow to harvest stage, one assumes that there will be at least (14.8X3) 44.4 Million mussels at different stages of the growth cycle concentrated in this area at full production.
According to the applicants submission (“They” meaning ‘Mussels’): “They selectively ingest phytoplankton and other organic material (e.g. small zooplankton and bacteria) and dispose of inorganic and larger organic matter in pseudofeces, which is excreted into the water column. Typically the fecal and pseudofecal pellets will fall to the sea floor and may cause localised organic enrichment and/or sedimentation. The level of enrichment is a function of, inter alia, water depth current speed, density of culture, the quantity of suspended particulate matter in the water column, or a combination of these. The build-up of excess organic matter beyond the footprint of the sites is not considered likely.”
It is hard to imagine that this additional activity in the harbour could not cause pollution beyond the footprint of the fish farm.
Our harbour is a cherished natural public amenity for all of us in Kinsale, we appreciate its beauty, its history, and enjoy the many activities the sea allows; swimming, fishing, sailing, kayaking, etc.. The water-quality in the harbour is critical to all of these activities, which are enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.
Is it worth protecting these amenities for this and future generations of inhabitants of Kinsale, its environs, and its visitors?
If you think it is, submit your comments/objections to the licencing authority in relation to this proposed development, the closing date for receipt of such submissions is: Wednesday, 6th March 2019. Submissions, quoting the Application No.: T05/472A should be addressed to: Department of Agriculture Food and Marine, Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division, The National Seafood Centre, Clonakilty, Co. Cork