Rossbeigh-Dooks-Glenbeigh beaches and Castlemaine Harbour SAC/SPA/Natura 2000 under threat
from intensive commercial aquaculture
There are currently 102 applications for Castlemaine Harbour, 11 of which are for Rossbeigh/Dooks area.
The Department is now waiving all Environmental Impact Assessments for aquaculture licensing!
This is unacceptable.
Save This Beach is alarmed at the scale of these oyster farming applications, in an area that is a Special Area of Conservation, a RAMSAR site, a Special Protected Area, and a recreational and tourism destination, a site is of recognized major ecological importance for its biodiversity and range of coastal habitats and species.
This exceptionally scenic area is located within a Special Area of Conservation adjacent to the Wild Atlantic Way, the Ring of Kerry and the new proposed Greenway track from Glenbeigh to Valentia. It’s a major habitat for native and migratory birds and hugely popular recreational area enjoyed daily by locals and visitors.
A map was published in January 2017 on the Department website as part of an application. This application was approved. This map outlined the scale of the applications that were confirmed by DAFM. We estimate this area to be 400 acres or more. The map was the first time the scale of the proposed farms was made public.
Previous requests for information to DAFM under Freedom of Information by various local groups have been refused.
The shorelines in question cover the back strand of Rossbeigh beach, Keelinabrack, Reenanallagane and Dooks, as well as Castlemaine Harbour: they are tidal shorelines and so are owned by the state and, in turn, governed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
None of this area is owned by the applicants; but the application, if successful, grants exclusive use to them for 10 years. (We know from the Review of the Aquaculture Licensing Process 2017 that the aim is to increase this period to 20 years.) The licensing application must be accompanied by a foreshore license, but to date this has not been posted to the DAFM website as required by regulation.
Additionally, the applications clearly show that there will not be significant employment created by this intensive aquaculture development – in fact, only a few individuals will profit while the rest of the local area risks losing employment that’s created mainly out of tourism in the area.
The group believes the proposed oyster farms contravene Kerry County Council’s Development Plan to sustainably promote the coastal strip for recreational activities, to ensure that cumulative impacts are taken into account for these areas, and to prohibit development that would significantly diminish the amenity, natural environment, and economic value of the County’s coastline and beaches.
We believe the sudden surge in oyster farm applications in Ireland is being mobilised by the French oyster industry as a result of major governmental restrictions on such farms in France.
Save This Beach has the support of local residents, the community council, local businesses and organisations such as CoastWatch Ireland.
Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine flooding SAC Castlemaine Harbour with hundreds of aquaculture farming applications
DAFM to do away with Environmental Impact Assessments
and Environmental Impact Statements
[Glenbeigh, Kerry, June 11, 2018] — In what appears to be a new governmental strategy that will affect coastal areas across the country, the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM) has determined that aquaculture activities do not fall under Annex II and thus don’t require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening. This essential document is a checklist to determine if an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for activities in Natura 2000/SAC areas.
The DAFM has also flooded the coastal community of Castlemaine Harbour, which is a Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area, and a Ramsar site, with more than 100 aquaculture applications in the space of 2 weeks. The applications cover a wide area in Rossbeigh-Rossbeigh-Dooks area of the SAC.
The community has a mere 4 weeks to make objections to DAFM…