Rogers seeks help for oyster farmers

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Friday, August 2nd, 2013
South Down SDLP MLA Seán Rogers has spoken out in support of what he described as the ‘horrendous circumstances’ that some local Oyster Farmers find themselves in. Speaking to Newry Times, Rogers said, “I was shocked to hear and see first-hand the devastation to Oyster Farming on the Northern side of Carlingford Lough. “One farmer has lost 80% of his stock in just 2 days, which is essentially 3 years of hard work in often very difficult conditions, gone. It is has been confirmed by DARD that these losses are linked to the unusually high water temperatures of late in Carlingford Lough. “Recent averages have been as high as 19 degrees. The Department of Agriculture has also confirmed that the OsHV Virus is present in Carlingford Lough but it appears to flourish in warmer water,” the SDLP MLA explained. “We could potentially be looking at the total decimation of Oyster Farming as we know it in Carlingford Lough. This is a very serious situation. These farmers need assistance and they need it fast in order to begin re-building their livelihoods. I am awaiting a reply from the Minister’s Private Office in respect of my call for assistance. “It is not good enough for the Department to say that established mechanisms to provide funding do not exist. These processes have to begin somewhere,” he insisted. “Before foot and mouth – there was no such mechanism – before the snow in early Spring, there was no mechanism to assist the farmers but thankfully these cries for help were heard and action was taken. Rogers added, “The Minister must now come out and announce ways in which the Department can assist these farmers rebuild the Mussel business in this area.”
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