Fourteen of 18 applications for licenses to create clam and oyster farms in Ballyness Bay in Cloughaneely have been granted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.
All 14 of the licenses granted have been awarded to Donegal based groups and individuals, reports the Tirconaill Tribune.
Four applications were rejected including three by Northern Shores Shellfish Ltd in Galway.
Six licenses including “variation licenses” were granted to Joseph Coll, Hillcrest, Meenlaragh, Gortahork.
Two “variation licenses” were granted to Edward and Paul O’Brien, Magheroarty.
Anthony McCafferty of Glasserchoo, Gortahork was granted three licenses and had one application refused.
Seamus O’Donnell, Ballyconnell, Falcarragh, was granted two variation licenses.
Tully Shellfish Ltd in Redcastle were granted one license.
The announcement has come from the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine’s office that he had made the “determination on the Aquaculture and Foreshore license applications …..in Ballyness Bay” under the 1997 Fisheries Act and the 1933 Foreshore Act.
The license are for a mix of farming Pacific Oysters using bags and trestles and clams on wooden trays under mesh.
In recent months there has been a high profile campaign by local residents opposed to the aquaculture farming in an area they are citing as one of outstanding natural beauty and invaluable to the local tourism sector as well as the flora and fauna of the Special Area of Conservation.
A meeting organised by the ‘Save Ballyness Bay’ group drew a crowd of over 700 people back in August with many voicing their anger at what they called a lack of public consultation or information about the planned developments.