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Irish Industry Unites for Aquaculture Development

IRELAND - Fishing, seafood retail, processing and exporting sectors have unanimously agreed to support IFA Aquaculture in calling for the Government to urgently address the backlog in aquaculture licence applications (currently 280) and to guarantee public funding to match over 100 million of investment ready to go into the industry over the next 5 years.

The unified demand from the Federation of Irish Fishermen, the Irish Fish Exporters and Processors Association, the Irish Association of Seafood Companies and inshore fishing representatives was made at a meeting in Donegal of the Seafood Strategy Implementation Group chaired by Dr Noel Cawley.

The demand was prompted by a discussion on delays in getting agreement from Brussels on the national Operational Programme for Fisheries due to failures by the Irish Government to implement a number of EU Directives.

IFA Aquaculture Executive Secretary, Richie Flynn representing the €120 million industry which employs over 2000 people in coastal communities said: “There is a clear recognition that in the difficult situation the fishing sector finds itself, in the demand for more jobs in seafood and more fish for processing and adding value that aquaculture production should be increased substantially in Ireland.

Demand for Irish seafood is very strong and quality, traceability and health aspects are readily delivered by farmed salmon, trout, mussels, oysters and other species.

It is a disgrace that most major retail multiples can’t find enough Irish salmon to sell to Irish consumers. We know that we can sell up to 6 times the amount of traditional and organic farmed salmon on the domestic market and abroad, if only the Government will do its job and process the licence applications on hand. We also know that farmed mussels, oysters, clams and scallops can achieve great breakthrough in domestic and new export markets with the right promotional backing through the Operational Programme and BIM.”

Richie Flynn said that IFA Aquaculture wanted to see the Operational Programme which is focused on issues such as decommissioning of the white-fish fleet, is signed off as soon as possible but that Government must give guarantees on delivery for fish and shellfish farmers before it goes ahead. “This morning at the special BIM conference on the seafood industry, IFA secured a meeting with Minister Tony Killeen to discuss these issues and move them forward urgently”, he said.

“Licences are crucial as a solid foundation for production, investment, business planning and security. A clear funding mechanism to promote volume, competitiveness, added value and much-needed jobs is also essential. Other areas of concern include compensation for statutory culling of fish under new fish health regulations and what the industry believes is the illegal the closure of significant areas for fishing mussels seed.

IFA will with Minister Killeen deal with all these issues as soon as possible and push forward a productive, positive and progressive industry forward.

the Fish Site Editor

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