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Shellfish Industry Adds Pressure on Irish Govt

IRELAND - The shellfish industry describes the EU fines on the Irish Government for failing to protect Irish waters as 'regrettable'.

The Irish Shellfish Association (ISA), which is part of Irish Farmers Association's Aquaculture section, has stated that the imposition of fines on Ireland in excess of €3.8 million by EU Environment Commissioner, Satvros Dimas, is regrettable and a signal to government that they must pay more attention to rural industries based on indigenous natural resources.

ISA Executive Secretary, Richie Flynn, said: "The EU is rightly concerned at the slow progress of the Irish government's reaction to the original ECJ judgement in June 2007, which highlighted the dangerous situation of towns and villages around the Irish coast discharged waste directly into the sea.

Producers of oysters, mussels, scallops and clams are in the front line of environmental protection and the first to be hit when pollution occurs."

The ISA points out that the industry is not looking for additional investment outside of capital works to reduce pollution.

Mr Flynn said: "Development of the pollution control plans in designated shellfish growing areas demands reorganisation of resources, not extra spending. It is important to remember that successive governments ignored this Directive since its publication in 1979, so there is no point in Government now blaming small businesses for this action when all we want is to operate in clean waters.

"The shellfish industry, which is suffering badly from the non-implementation of other EU laws, including the Habitats Directive, is also concerned that the EPA is currently in the process of licensing 500 discharges of waste into waters. The shellfish industry is being asked by Brussels and the Irish Dept of Environment to undergo very expensive environmental assessments to grow fish in their natural environment, yet county councils appear to be exempt from any formal assessment to allow them pump raw sewage into inshore waters. This is clearly unfair to an industry that wishes to create badly needed jobs and exports."

the Fish Site Editor

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