A controversial oyster farm proposed for Gweedore Bay has had its licenses rescinded by the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board.
The farm was to be located at Braade Strand in the middle of Gweedore Bay within the Gweedore Bay and Islands
Special Area of Conservation.
A decision was made by the-then Minister for the Marine Michael Creed in 2016 to grant 11 licenses to French seafood producer Mr Thierry Gillardeau. However, the aquaculture licences were the subject of several appeals and the ‘Donegal SOS’ campaign began in the local area to oppose the 99 acre development due to environmental concerns.
In a Determination Order published on Tuesday, ALAB decided to rescind the remaining licences under appeal. The board referenced findings from an Appropriate Assessment screening report which determined that the aquaculture sites will result in the loss of 58 hectares of intertidal habitats potentially used by the common gull and the lesser black-backed gull for feeding and/or roosting.
The board also considered additional proposals for aquaculture development in relatively close proximity to the Gweedore Bay. The report noted the potential for high levels of recreational disturbance, which if not regulated, may temporarily or even permanently displace the birds from the area. Furthermore, sea and river angling could potentially affect prey availability, especially for Lesser Black-backed Gull which is reliant on fish prey.
‘Coiste Timpeallacha an Ghaoith’, a group specifically set up to oppose the oyster farm, greeted the news this week and said: “Coiste Timpeallachta an Ghaoith would like to convey our huge gratitude to all those who contributed to this campaign to oppose the above-mentioned licences, so that our beaches and natural resources be protected and preserved for future generations.”