The Marine Institute would like to clarify a number of inaccuracies in the article in journal.ie (15/08/13) regarding criticism of a Marine Institute study. The article refers to a “study by the Marine Institute into the Aran fish farm”. The study referred to is a scientific paper (Jackson et al., 2013) published in the Journal of Fish Diseases - a peer-reviewed international scientific journal. It is not connected to the BIM proposal for a fish farm in Galway Bay.
The study presents an analysis of a 9-year dataset (2001-2009) from eight locations along Ireland’s west and south coast to determine the impact of sea lice on migrating salmon. It concludes that while sea lice-induced mortality on outwardly migrating salmon (smolts) can be significant, it is a minor and irregular component of marine mortality in the stocks studied and is unlikely to be a significant factor influencing conservation status of salmon stocks.
The recent paper from the University of Toronto’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, also published in the Journal of Fish Diseases, has questioned the methodology used. The Marine Institute will consider this paper, as we do with all relevant scientific papers, and if appropriate will issue a response through a peer-reviewed scientific process.
The Marine Institute is tasked with providing independent scientific advice to the Minister as part of the deliberative process in considering aquaculture licence applications. In formulating such advice, the Institute considers all of the available scientific literature and does not support individual applications.