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Meeting BIM's standards for organic fish farming

Organic salmon can help secure a more sustainable future for Ireland’s coastal and island communities, but only if we work together with other marine resource users to ensure the benefits are shared.

That’s why we’ve added a set of conditions that the operator of the fish farm will have to observe in order to retain the contract. These conditions are in addition to those set by the Irish government, which are already some of the strictest in Europe.

These added conditions ensure that the product will not only achieve organic certification, but also that the needs of the community and the environment will not be compromised. Should the operator fail to meet BIM’s standards, we reserve the right to cancel their contract.

Gravadlax salmon

Organic standards in Irish fish farming

Organic standards are extremely strict and are set out in EU law. Ireland’s reputation for producing the best organic salmon means enforcing these rigorously. An independent third party certification body makes sure that our commitment to ensuring Ireland maintains its premium position in the European market will be kept. In this way we will not only ensure that these standards are met, but that the pristine waters that help make our salmon so popular are kept that way.

Amongst other factors, in order to be certified as organic, each enclosure must have a ratio of 99% water to 1% salmon. The firm pink flesh of the Irish product comes from a combination of the west coast’s wave action and the fact that the shoals have plenty of room to keep swimming. A special diet must be used and other environmentally friendly management practices must be followed.

Policies and enforcement on the proposed Inishturk farm

We’re not just committed to the production of good quality salmon, but also to holding the salmon farm operators accountable to the Irish public. All monitoring data will be displayed on the BIM website and we will liaise through a range of mechanisms with resource users, stakeholders and the wider community to ensure that any concerns they raise are addressed and that they are reassured about the environmental performance of the farm operation.

A BIM safety officer at work

Environmental standards

In addition to seeking organic certification, the farm operators will be required to look after the local environment, and cooperate with regular inspections by BIM’s officers. An annual litter survey will be conducted and they will compile an annual environmental performance report, which will be published on our website, to keep them completely accountable to the public.

Emergency measures on the farms

We will require the operators to have a detailed contingency plan and Standard Operating Procedure to deal with the full range of emergency situations. This includes storm damage (and, if necessary, rapid recapture of any escaped stock), disease outbreaks, external water pollution, or attacks on the stock by jellyfish or algal blooms.

Addressing public concerns

Because BIM will hold the licence in trust for the Irish public, we will hold the operators to the highest possible standards. We work for communities, and therefore take our commitment to sustainable marine industries very seriously. Any legitimate complaint will be thoroughly investigated. If you still have concerns or questions about specific requirements we haven’t mentioned, or you would like more detail, you can email us at mallon@bim.ie

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Contact Us

To learn more about this project, contact:

Mairead Mallon
Direct: +353 (0)87 9197312
Email: mallon@bim.ie