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Ireland Not Exploiting Huge Marine Resources


IRELAND - Many aquaculture projects are on hold due to the lack of a practical approach to planning, according to a fisheries spokesman.

Ireland has a long been underestimating what the value of its territorial waters and foreshore represent to the State, an agriculture and fisheries spokesman Michael Creed told the Dáil (the Irish House of Representatives), according to the newspaper, The Corkman.

Speaking on a new Foreshore and Dumping at Sea Bill, he said:"Terrestrial planning is mainly concerned with individual property owner rights and obviously third party rights.

"However, this is a resource that is owned by the State and needs to be exploited in the national interest. However, it seems to be an area of responsibility for which nobody wants to take ownership."

The Corkman said Mr Creed also bemoaned the lack of progress in the operational programme for seafood development.

He said: "There are aquaculture projects which have been approved for grant aid by Bord Iascaigh Mhara and have the potential to increase employment significantly, but are on hold because of the turf war between the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Minister of State's Department, which is as much about ideology as environmental issues."

Mr Creed believes a practical approach is needed."We currently have about six per cent of the EU oyster market and seven per cent of its shellfish market at a time when Europe is importing €8.5 billion worth of shellfish annually.

"Ireland is one of the few maritime nations in the EU that could contribute to reducing EU imports and earn significant moneys for this economy if we facilitated that sector in getting on with its expansion programme," he added