Ireland sets out new national aquaculture strategy

Fish farm, Donegal, Ireland

Ireland has launched a national strategy for the long-term development of its aquaculture industry.

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue recently unveiled his proposals which place an emphasis on sustainable aquaculture.

The National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development to 2030 (NSPSA) is the successor plan to  the five year scheme that was developed in 2015.

It   has been developed using a “food systems” approach in line with Food Vision 2030. The Irish government’s 10-year Strategy for the Irish agri-food sector. Its vision is that Ireland will become a world leader in Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) over the next decade.

The NSPSA strategy overlaps with the European Union’s new “Strategic guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture for the period  to 2030”.

The Dublin government believes that, in line with EU and national policy objectives, sustainable aquaculture in Ireland can play an important role in delivering public goods.

The aquaculture objectives  include: (1) nutritious and healthy seafood with a limited environmental footprint; (2) economic development and job opportunities for coastal and rural communities; (3) reducing pollution; (4) preserving ecosystems and biodiversity; and (5) contributing to the fight against climate change.

The government says the strategy: “…visualises a sustainable, profitable, competitive, and market-focused aquaculture industry making the maximum long-term economic and social contribution to coastal communities and Ireland as a whole, while optimising environmental performance and supporting the natural capital upon which it depends.”

It also says it is important for the  sector to maintain a competitive edge through low-impact production, whilst building commercial resilience through technical innovation and diversification.

“This in turn supports a more diverse consumer and market base aligned to increased recognition of Irish aquaculture’s growing status as a key provider of sustainable, low carbon and healthy food,” it adds.

Charlie McConalogue


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