The Issue

A licence to Industrially Extract 1860 acres of Native Kelp in Bantry Bay has been issued to BioAtlantis, Tralee.  

NO Public Consultation took place. This licence was NOT Advertised Adequately. This licence has been issued with NO requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment [E.I.A.]

This is the largest industrial scale native Kelp Extraction Licence ever issued in Irish or British waters.



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Write a Letter to....

Your Local TD or to DAMIEN ENGLISH TD asking him to rescind the license for the harvesting of Kelp in 1840 acres of Bantry Bay, at least until a full environmental impact assessment has been carried out.


Letters will be collected and delivered to the minister by hand. You can also post a copy.



Organico, Bantry • Centra, Schull • Bourkes, Kealkill

Durrus Post Office • Kilcrohane Post Office + MORE TO FOLLOW


Kelp harvest protest letter writing guide.


Writing a letter to ministers responsible for this area of policy is a highly effective strategy to combat the proposed harvest of kelp from Bantry Bay. Ministers do not receive many letters and they have an impact. Letters written on paper and sent through the post as opposed to email are harder to bypass and ignore.


Letters aimed specifically at the target minister and written from an individual rather than a form letter have more impact again.


I would stress that it is important to keep your letter civil, avoiding personal insults and profanities.

It is also more effective if the letter is as brief and to the point as possible. Long letters have less chance of being read and the reader may switch off mentally if they go on too long. It is best to keep your letter to one side of A4 only.


I have composed a few key points which you may wish to include:

  • That the license to harvest kelp was issued to BioAtlantis without an environmental impact assessment.

  • That the local population who will be affected by the removal of the kelp had not been consulted

  • That the application for the license was ineffectively advertised and went unnoticed.

  • That the minister responsible (Damian English) is able to revoke the license and put the harvesting on hold until an environmental impact assessment has been made and the local population have been consulted

  • That other, more sustainable, methods of obtaining kelp do exist and should be explored.


You may also wish to call into question the fact that a 13,000 strong petition appears to have been ignored, that a delegation with an appointment to meet with Damian English was stood up without apology or explanation and that a significant number of Irish citizens with real concerns are being ignored and treated with contempt.


This is a list of names and addresses of ministers with responsibilities in this area who you may wish to write to:

  • Damien English TD, (Tanaiste) Dept of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Custom House, Dublin 1

  • Simon Coveney TD, Main Street, Carrigaline, Co. Cork

  • Michael Creed TD (Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine), 95, Railway View, Macroom, Co. Cork

  • Denis Naughton TD (Communications, Climate Action and Environment) Abbey St, Roscommon, F42 XP03

  • Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach) Aras Mhic Dhiarmada Store Street D01WH03


Other politicians are of course available and this is a link for a list of them:




Kate Forlong



Co. Cork

To: Minister Jim Daly

Re: terms of licence issued to BioAtlantis


5th February, 2018


Dear Minister Daly,


I refer to your comments in the face of requests to suspend the licence issued to Biotechnology firm BioAtlantis to harvest kelp in Bantry Bay.


It appears that you are under the impression that this licence cannot be revoked, that having been given the go-ahead by Minister Damien English on the 11th of December last year that there are now no powers available to stop it; or so you have told our representatives.


I must tell you sir that you are very much mistaken.

I refer to clause 12.2 in the terms and conditions of the licence in which it is stated that: ‘This licence may be determined at any time by the minister.’


Given that this is the case I call on the government to put this clause into effect immediately and call a halt to this proposed harvest until:

  • A full, independent environmental assessment of the effects of this experimental, untested and unprecedented kelp removal has been carried out.

  • There has been well publicised consultations with local people

  • Other, more sustainable and less environmentally damaging methods of exploiting this precious natural resource have been explored.


To do otherwise is to show great contempt for the people that you represent. The people of the Bantry Bay area have demonstrated huge opposition to the plan and a petition has been signed by 13,000 people. This cannot be ignored.


I call on you to use your influence to ensure that clause 12.2 is put into effect and avert this environmental catastrophe.




Kate Forlong






Kate Forlong



Co. Cork

Damian English TD

Re. Kelp harvest in Bantry Bay


Dear Minister English


In the speech you gave at An Taisce Ocean Hero Awards on November the 21st 2017 you outlined the main objectives of your department’s marine environmental policy. These commendable aims were:

  • To maintain Biodiversity.

  • To ensure that non-indigenous species do not adversely affect the ecosystem.

  • The health of the commercial fish stocks.

  • That elements of food webs ensure long term abundance and reproduction.

  • Minimising eutrophication from sewerage and nitrogen.

  • Sea floor and sea waters are not altered in such a way as to harm ecosystems.

  • Contaminants in seafood are below safe levels.

  • Introduction of energy and underwater noise does not adversely affect the ecosystem.


Less than a month after making this inspiring and admirable speech you issued a license to BioAtlantis to extract kelp from Bantry Bay.


I am sure you must be aware that this proposed harvest using untested machinery on a scale unprecedented in Europe, will contravene every one of your stated objectives.


I am sure also that you are aware of huge local and nationwide opposition to this plan and yet it appears that all attempts to communicate with you and express our grave concerns have been swatted away with what can only be described as contempt.


We are calling on you to show enough integrity to halt the go-ahead of this ecologically disastrous harvest, which you are fully able to do under section 12.2, until a full, independent environmental impact assessment has been done, the local people have been consulted, and other more sustainable methods have been explored for making use of this valuable resource.




Kate Forlong







Kate Forlong



Co. Cork


31st January 2018


To Minister Simon Coveney

Re: Kelp harvest in Bantry Bay.


Dear Minister Coveney,


I am writing to you to express grave concerns that I and many others share about the license that has been granted to bio-technology company BioAtlantis to harvest kelp in Bantry Bay.


As I would hope you are aware, since a petition objecting to the license was signed by more than 13,000 people, there has been no study made of the environmental study of the impact the harvest would have on the ecology of the bay and the knock on effect of that on many livelihoods dependant on fishing, aquaculture and tourism as well of course on wildlife. There has been no investigation moreover of alternative sustainable methods of obtaining kelp, such as different harvesting methods and aquaculture.

There was moreover no public consultation with notice of the issuing of the license being quite desultory.


The method that BioAtlantis is planning is untested, destructive and short-sighted. BioAtlantis, according to its CEO John T O’Sullivan is planning to cut the kelp at a height of 25cm. This would, according to marine scientists kill the plant, so this is a short term, one shot, money making plan with no thought of the future. It is moreover probably not possible to ensure that this could be done with the sea bed of the bay being uneven, rocky and littered with shipwrecks.


I could write on about the endangered species, the unique marine environment, the unspoiled natural beauty; but I suspect sir that none of this means very much to you.

But I would hope that the notion of a democracy in which our representatives are elected and paid by us and expected to listen to our views does have meaning for you and that you do not continue to ignore and treat with contempt all the objections that have been presented. You must be aware that a significant number of citizens are strongly opposed to this harvest.


I call on you sir to summon a halt to this disastrous harvest. You are eminently able to do this under section 12.2; while a full and independent scientific evaluation is carried out, the methods that BioAtlantis are proposing to use are examined, and alternative, more sustainable methods of extracting kelp are explored.



Kate Forlong




We need to think before we act

And we need to act before it's too late

"I can only compare these great aquatic forests of the southern hemisphere with the terrestrial ones in the inter-tropical regions. Yet if in any country a forest was destroyed, I do not believe nearly so many species of animals would perish as would here, from the destruction of the kelp


Amidst the leaves of this plant numerous species of fish live, which nowhere else could find food or shelter; with their destruction the many cormorants and other fishing birds, the otters, seals, and porpoises, would soon perish"


~ Charles Darwin

Public consultation and advertising required

NO mention of 'MECHANICAL HARVEST'  ¦  NO mention of 'NATIVE KELP FOREST'  ¦  NO mention of '1860 ACRES OF BANTRY BAY'

Dept of Housing stated that a notice was placed in a national newspaper - no record can be found by the Dept. of the advertisement published


  1. No public meetings  
  2. No consultation with Bantry Bay Coastal Zone Charter Groups (formal framework for public consultation for developments in Bantry Bay).


  1. No information on development given to Cork County Council
  2. Notice placed in Bantry Bay Garda Station for 21 days - no access to copy of record on Dept. of Housing website


  1.  Advertisement placed by BioAtlantis in Southern Star Newspaper on 12th December 2009 states 'Occupy an area of foreshore for the purpose of harvesting specific seaweed at Bantry Bay'