Ireland Can Be World Leader In Seafood

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
26 July 2010, at 1:00am

IRELAND - The Irish Farmers Associations aquaculture section has welcomed the launch of the Governments investment scheme for modernisation and development of the fish and shellfish farming industry.

The organisation pointed out that Government failure to meet EU rules regarding Habitats Directive areas disqualified 80% of Irish SMEs from the scheme while our EU competitors in the seafood industry can access to similar funding.

IFA Aquaculture Executive Secretary, Richie Flynn said: “There is a massive amount of work to be done to re-establish Ireland as a major seafood producer in Europe. Geographically, environmentally, economically and socially we can be world seafood leaders.

"Jobs, exports and quality are they key issues which the Government must focus on, yet we have had to wait since 2007 for this programme to be announced because of the apathy of Government departments towards the seafood industry.

"The fact that Ireland got caught red-handed by the European Commission for not properly establishing measures to licence fishing and aquaculture in its marine protected areas is shameful. But it is only our industry with people mortgaged to the hilt around the coast who are paying the price.

"Eighty per cent of our members will not have access to this scheme because the Department of Environment did not fulfil their obligations under the Habitats Directive.

"Family-owned companies in the west of Ireland will be barred from access to grant aid because the old Dúchas and now the NPWS (as proven by the European Court of Justice[1]) did not do their job and got caught, costing the Irish economy millions of euro.”

He added: "The ridiculous and wasteful pass-the-parcel blame game between departments and agencies that has cost Ireland dearly must end today.

“While our competitors in Scotland, France, Spain and elsewhere charge ahead with developing their industries under the 2007 European Fisheries Fund regulations[2], we are being told that work undertaken since 2007 is ineligible for aid. This must be immediately reversed as there is no restriction in national or European law to disbar investment undertaken since the EU regulation was announced.”