Licensing system needs urgent improvement, says Irish aquaculture group – Fishupdate.com

Licensing system needs urgent improvement, says Irish aquaculture group Published:  14 September, 2007

REPRESENTATIVES of the Irish aquaculture industry have met with Ministers to discuss priorities for the farmed seafood sector – including what they describe as the “urgent” need for upgrading of the licensing system.

The meeting took place following the Government’s decision to transfer powers for aquaculture licensing and policy to the newly named Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Irish Salmon Growers’ Association Chair, Damien O’Ceallachain, Irish Shellfish Association Chair, Flor Harrington and IFA Aquaculture Executive Secretary, Richie Flynn met with Minister for Agriculture and Food Mary Coughlan and Minister of State John Browne.

They told the Ministers and senior officials at the meeting that the industry warmly welcomed the transfer of important marine policy and regulation powers to the department. The IFA Aquaculture team said that the Ministers first task had to be the urgent upgrading of service and delivery to producers by the licensing division and the removal of the backlog of licence applications and renewals.

IFA Aquaculture has clearly outlined the need for industry and the department to work together to develop a more transparent, responsive and customer focused licensing system, based on a Charter of Rights for Aquaculture Producers.

Ministers Coughlan and Browne agreed that the licensing issue was a priority and that resources would have to be committed to improve the system to ensure the best quality of service.

It was agreed at the meeting that IFA Aquaculture and the department would rapidly convene the Ministerial Aquaculture Forum to address this and other issues important to the sector, including the implementation of the Cawley report recommendations on development of the sector.

The Irish Salmon Growers Association, the Irish Shellfish Association and the Irish Trout Producers Group are all members of IFA Aquaculture – the national representative body for all fish and shellfish farmers.

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