IFI Tender: Consultant Aquaculture Impacts – Consultant to Provide Expert Support and Advice on the Impacts of Aquaculture on Wild Salmonids


Scope of tender:                

The scope of this tender includes the provision of expert advice on interactions between wild fish and aquaculture facilities and the species they farm.   The advice provided will support IFI in its role in the conservation and protection of species under its legislative remit.  

Scientific studies have demonstrated that sea lice from marine salmon farms, when not adequately controlled, can have a serious impact on local sea trout stocks and migrating salmon smolts. Sea trout are especially vulnerable to salmon lice infestation because, in the sea, they remain feeding and growing in coastal waters where salmon farms are situated.

There is a large body of published literature on the negative interactions of farmed salmon and wild salmonid stocks. Apart from the well documented sea lice-mediated impacts on wild salmonids associated with salmon farming, the interbreeding of salmon farm escapees with wild fish have also been shown to significantly negatively affect the sustainability of wild stocks.

It is anticipated that the contract will be awarded in early September 2022 work commencing immediately.

Impacts of Aquaculture on Wild Fish Stocks: Letter from Minister Eamon Ryan to Minister Charlie McConalogue

25 Jan 2022


Includes Appendix on Concerns regarding the Appropriate Assessment of aquaculture activitives in marine SACs and potential impact on Atlantic salmon, and response letter from Minister McConalogue (29 March 2022)

Allow Priority Area for Action Desktop Report

August 2018


The Allow is part of the Munster Blackwater SAC which contains Otter, Salmon, Shad, Lamprey and Freshwater Pearl Mussel among others.

The RaptorLife project and IRD Duhallow are active in area with the possibility of ongoing agri-environment projects.

The main risk of diffuse pollution is likely to be phosphate via overland flow as well as sedimentation from modified channels and drainage

Failing to meet protected area objectives for Freshwater Pearl Mussel (19 of 27 catchments of S.I. 296 2009)

Kanturk WWTP

North Cork Creameries Co-operative (Section 4 site) – licensed industry with chemistry indicating elevated levels of phosphate and ammonia

EPA file for North Cork Creameries Co-operative is here



AIE: Salmon Farm Mortalities

Marine Institute 


Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages request the following information under Access to Information on the Environment Regulations (AIE) Aarhus Convention 2007 to 2014.

Were there any reports to the Marine Institute of high farmed salmon mortalities on any Irish salmon farm installations between 1st January 2021 to the present day?

If the answer to the above question is yes, please answer the following questions.

When and on what salmon farms did the mortalities occur? Please supply details.

How many mortalities occurred on each salmon farm? Please supply details. 

How many farmed salmon were on each farm when the mortalities occurred? Please supply details. 

What was the reason for the mortalities? Please supply details. 

How and where were the mortalities disposed of? Please supply details. 

Please reply by email as soon as possible please.

Billy Smyth

Chairman, Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages,

Email billysmyth0@aglover


The Marine Institute does not hold records of the number fish involved in each mortality event. Mortalities are reported to the Marine Institute as percentage values. This information has been released.

The Marine Institute does not hold records relating to the number of salmon held on the salmon farms at the time the mortality events occurred.

The Marine Institute does not hold any records relating to the disposal of mortalities from salmon farms.

Sea Lice Monitoring and Control

All finfish farms are obliged to monitor for sealice on an ongoing basis and to take remedial action. This involves the inspection and sampling of each year class of fish at all fish farm sites fourteen times per annum, twice per month during March, April and May and monthly for the remainder of the year except December-January. Only one inspection is carried out during this period.

During 2020, a total of 209 sea lice reports (consisting of 108 MI reports and 101 farm reports) were received from 22 active farm sites.

One inspection was not undertaken by the Marine Institute on fish health grounds.

Shot Head, Bantry Bay, Salmon Farm Licencing

Shot Head farm will have a maximum permitted biomass of 2,800 tonnes over a 24-month production cycle and will have 18 pens

On 23rd of September, Salmon Watch Ireland filed an application at the High Court seeking  judicial review of the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) decision to approve the awarding of a licence for a new open-cage salmon farm at Shot Head in Bantry Bay. 

Inland Fisheries Ireland, Sweetman and others filed a similar application.


The Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board has determined all appeals before it against the decision by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to grant an Aquaculture Licence to Bradán Fanad Teo t/a Marine Harvest Ireland on site Ref: T05/555 for the cultivation of Atlantic Salmon; Salmo Salar on a site on the foreshore at Shot Head, Bantry Bay, Co Cork.

The Board determined the Appeals pursuant to section 40(4)(b) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 (as amended and substituted) by determining the appeals as if the application had been made to the Board in the first instance and by GRANTING a licence to the Applicant for the proposed activity on the Site, in accordance with the draft licence prepared by the Minister, but subject to the varied and amended Terms and Conditions as set out in the Determination. There were 14 appeals in total.

Copies of the Board’s determination in respect of each appeal are available on this website by following the link to Board Determinations 2015 – http://alab.ie/boarddeterminations/2015/

Copies of the documents to which the Board had regard in reaching its determination are available on this website by following the link to http://alab.ie/boarddeterminations/2015/scheduleofdocuments

Media Coverage on Decision






Salmon Farms Ireland – Licence Status

Each salmon farm license has a) stocking rate, and b) max allowable biomass

Licenses are all (or almost all) expired

There is no easy way to determine overstocking of salmon in salmon farms

There is no way way to extract the licenced stocking data in a structured format, as it is all held in various pdf docs

If a farm remains unstocked for two years, the license is revoked. But how can you tell when and where fish farms are not stocked? One clue would be via the Marine Institute Annual Sea Lice Reports, which contain results for all the sea lice inspections. See below for most recent report (2020)

Note: Salmon farm data is on the ‘to do’ list, as it is not in any structured or open public format… for reasons