Yacht club objects to plans for mussel farm off Kinsale

Yacht club objects to plans for mussel farm off Kinsale
The harbour town of Kinsale. Pic; Larry Cummins

Kinsale Yacht Club (KYC) has lodged an objection to plans for a mussel farm just off Dock Beach.

Plans for a mussel farm have been lodged by Woodstown Bay Shellfish, a family run company from Waterford.

The application seeks to operate a 25 hectare/61 acre mussel farm on the waterbed in front of Charles Fort and Dock Beach.

Submitted by Commodore of the KYC David O’Sullivan, the objections centres around the fact that the area is extremely busy with water users from kayakers, to Yachts, to fisherman and there is no space for a fish farm operation.

“It is not an appropriate location for an industrial style fish farm,” Mr O’Sullivan said. “They haven’t taken into account the existing use of the area.

“You wouldn’t let a farmer grow turnips in a public park and you can’t let a fish farm in this very busy area.” Mr O’Sullivan said there are many fish farms in Kinsale and they have no problem with any of them, but the area proposed is an amenity site.

The location of the proposed mussel farm in Kinsale.
The location of the proposed mussel farm in Kinsale.

“It is used extensively for leisure activity. Every boat goes past this area into Kinsale. It is on our route.” The KYC commodore said that the locals don’t want anything that in any way affects the existing use of this area.

“I don’t think this area should be considered as an appropriate area for fish farm. That beach is used a lot. It is full of swimmers. I would be really concerned it will interfere with the existing use of the beach.” Woodstown Bay Shellfish Managing Director Paul Barlow said he was surprised by the objection by the local yacht club and assured locals there would be no negative impact for them.

“There will be no negative impact for any users of the area. Mussels are currently on the bottom of the sea bed and no structures are involved in bottom mussel farming so absolutely no restrictions or effects would be felt by locals.” Mr Barlow said that there have been three years of mussel farming trials at the site already.

“The facts are that this site has been in operation for quite some time and successful trial years were completed on the site with absolutely no observations or concerns expressed from the yacht club at that time.

“Our family business always works with local clubs and organisations in a proactive and transparent manner and so we fail to see if there were no issues during the trial why they would expect to have issues going forward.” Mr Barlow said if anything the mussels would have a positive effect on the area, by making the water cleaner.

“Mussels are a natural resource and a necessary and very important part of the diverse ecosystem in the area. As mussels are filter feeders and feed on microscopic algae in the water, they actually clean the waters in which they reside. Their effects on the area if any are positive.” Should permission be granted to the farm, Mr Barlow said 20 local positions would be created.

Woodstown Bay Shellfish has a reputation for working with locals and Mr Barlow said that working closely with the local community is something they are very proud of.

“We are very supportive of other bay users and there is no reason for concerns by other bay users as the normal rules of the road apply.” “I would imagine many locals wouldn’t even know about a mussel bottom culture mussel farm due to its uniqueness by having no structures in place and minimal activity levels.”

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