Natural ‘toxic bloom’ killed Bantry salmon, department vet says
A DEPARTMENT veterinary inspector said the massive fish kills at Bantry last October were consistent with a phytoplankton bloom.
Following the death of around 80,000 farmed salmon, worth 2.4 million, Michael Collins (Ind) TD called on the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to investigate the case.
Alec O’Donovan speaking on behalf of Save Bantry Bay – an organization set up to campaign against salmon farming – also called for an independent investigation.
A spokesperson for salmon farming company Mowi Ireland confirmed it had informed the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine of the mass mortalities at its Ahabeg and Roancarrig sites in Bantry Bay.
He claimed that both sites were affected by ‘natural toxic plankton blooms’.
A Department spokesperson confirmed that on October 29, they received notification of high/exceptional mortalities at two salmon farm sites in Roancarrig and Ahabeg.
“The department can confirm that a veterinary inspector visited the site and samples were taken from live/moribund fish for examination,” the spokesperson said.
“The department’s scientific advisers, the Marine Institute, carried out fish health tests on the samples taken and the results of these tests revealed no indication of any diseases listed as notifiable in EU Regulation 2016/429 n has been detected.
“Overall,” she said, “the extensive gill pathology noted was consistent with physical insult as caused by a phytoplankton bloom.”