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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 17:14 GMT
No help for jellyfish attack farm
Jellyfish in a jar
It could take at least two years for the firm to recover
No government money is available yet to keep afloat a salmon farm wiped out in a freak jellyfish attack.

Billions of small jellyfish swamped Northern Salmon's cages about a mile off the County Antrim coast.

Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew said budgets were fixed, but she would consult further with colleagues.

"It is our only organic salmon fishery. Unfortunately our poultry industry and our red meat industry are all under pressure and in need of assistance."

The mauve stinger jellyfish covered an area of up to 10 square miles and a depth of 35 feet. Rescuers tried to reach the cages but the density of fish made it impossible.

The density of jellyfish stopped workers from reaching cages

The company has some high-profile clients, with Irish chef Richard Corrigan serving Glenarm salmon to the Queen on her 80th birthday last year as part of the BBC's Great British Menu programme.

Rough sea conditions off Glenarm Bay and Cushendun have hampered efforts by divers using suction pumps to collect the dead salmon out for transporting to a rendering plant in County Meath.

Managing director John Russell said the future of the company and its 12 employees remained uncertain but it was still "early days".

"We don't intend to take decisions too quickly, but remain focused in terms of keeping everybody in work," he said.

Local MP Sammy Wilson said: "Just as farmers receive assistance when their stock has been wiped out by avian flu, mad cow disease or foot-and-mouth, we are seeking ways of getting assistance for the company at this present time.

"This, I am sure, will only be a short-term problem, as the product is established and there is a market for it, but in the meantime we must ensure that the company gets the assistance necessary for it to recover and that jobs are protected."

Footage of the jellyfish

Jellyfish attack destroys salmon
21 Nov 07 |  Northern Ireland
Fishing 'destabilises Black Sea'
05 Jun 07 |  Science/Nature
Jellyfish warning to beachgoers
21 Aug 07 |  Cornwall
Anglers' heaven after great escape
29 Aug 01 |  Northern Ireland


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