IFA aquaculture meets new ministerial team on licences – Fishupdate.com

IFA aquaculture meets new ministerial team on licences Published:  30 May, 2008

IFA is pushing for more investment in Irish aquaculture

IFA Aquaculture representatives met for the first time yesterday in Dublin with the minister for agriculture, fisheries and food, Brendan Smith and minister of state, Tony Killeen to seek action on the “vital” areas of licences and the implementation of the seafood development plan in the Cawley report for the €120 million farmed fish and shellfish sector.

IFA Aquaculture chairmen, Damien O’Ceallacháin (Salmon) and Flor Harrington (Shellfish) asked for urgent movement from the ministers to remove the logjam in the licencing of aquaculture, which is currently holding up over 250 licence applications and licence renewals in their Department.

“Investor confidence in quality seafood is strong at present, but the industry depends on a robust and responsive regulatory system which delivers the necessary service for modern food businesses.

“The service has completely dried up for over two years and industry’s patience has now run out.”

IFA Aquaculture asked the new ministers to tackle this issue head on and deal with the remaining bureaucratic blockages immediately.

The IFA Aquaculture team also sought assurances that the Cawley report, which recommends a total investment of over €200 million in Irish aquaculture by 2013 is fully implemented and funded.

IFA says the Government must maximise the EU contribution to Irish aquaculture development and respond strongly to the European Commission’s negotiating document on the Operational Programme for Fisheries.

Following the meeting, The IFA Aquaculture team acknowledged ministers Smith and Killen’s commitment to working in partnership with the organisation to capitalise on the tangible opportunities for development across the sector and to overcoming any obstacles to that growth.

The organisation asked that “to ensure continued momentum and feedback to our members on licencing, we can rely on regular monthly contact with you and in particular Minister Killeen”.

On the Operational Programme, the IFA reiterated its view that a most

positive signal of Government support for the industry would be the

announcement of the opening of Capital Investment and Resource Development Grant schemes as per the Cawley plan.

The organisation noted with regret that the Department had responded that it was not yet possible to give an indication of the opening of these schemes pending the outcome of the Strategic Environmental Assessment on the nationally-resourced development programme and IFA urged full haste in this matter.

In a statement, it says: “The boards of the ISGA and ISA must consider the positive and very welcome declaration of support heard today from both ministers for the aquaculture sector, while weighing up the very real financial, business and biological consequences of the continued inability to issue licences.”

The IFA Chairmen extended invitations to both ministers to visit its members in key aquaculture production areas around the coast, in order to hear the issues first hand.

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