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Remove Obstacles To 2,000 New Jobs In Aquaculture


IRELAND - Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) President John Bryan says the Government must grasp the opportunity to create 2,000 jobs in fish and shellfish farming as well as developing export markets.

At a meeting with Minister for the Marine Tony Killeen in Dublin, Mr Bryan presented the IFA’s 10-point plan for the revitalisation of a high quality, sustainable industry around the coast, which he said was critical to saving remote communities and supplying vital raw material for seafood processors.

“There are 859 shellfish and finfish licence applications awaiting approval – that’s a lot of jobs, investment and exports at a time when they were never needed more. The economic crisis has hit remote rural areas extremely hard, yet our farmed seafood products are in high demand throughout Europe and the world. IFA needs a commitment from the Government that remaining blockages to licencing and grant aid are dealt with immediately,” Mr Bryan said.

IFA’s 10- point plan aimed at creating 2,000 jobs and doubling the output of the €120 million industry also identifies cost savings and efficiencies in the public service. The plan, which does not involve any extra spending over existing Government commitments, focuses on streamlining decision making, delivering key services, encouraging best practice and increasing the consumption of Irish seafood.

Irish Shellfish Association Chairman, Flor Harrington, who attended today’s meeting, said the increased output of products such as salmon, mussels and oysters, as well as new species, could add up to an extra €100 million in export earnings for rural areas.

Mr Harrington said, “Aquaculture is an increasingly important provider of year-round raw material for the domestic processing industry, where significant value is added to products by transforming them into consumer cuts, ready-meals and high value processed products.”

Jan Feenstra, CEO of the country’s largest aquaculture producer, Marine Harvest, who also attended the meeting said that the Inter-departmental Marine Co-ordinating Group set up by An Taoiseach in 2009 must deliver its key objectives including protecting and generating employment. The Group, which includes representatives of 9 Government Departments, must publicly set out a plan to defend and develop seafood jobs and exports.

The Association also proposes that BIM develops an inward investment programme to complement indigenous investment by attracting international capital into Ireland to bring new resources, knowledge and markets into a sector with huge potential for high value, top quality farmed products in Europe and the world.