THE Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. today announced the appointment of an independent Aquaculture Licensing Review Group to review the process of licensing for aquaculture and its associated legal framework in keeping with actions identified in Food Wise 2025 and Ireland’s National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development.
On the need for a review of the existing licensing process Minister Creed said “Our aquaculture sector has enormous potential to sustainably grow its production of seafood to meet the opportunities presented from growing world demand for safe, sustainable seafood. Ireland’s National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development aims to sustainably grow our production across all species by 45,000 tonnes.”
The Minister continued “To achieve that ambition, we need to revamp our aquaculture licensing process and its associated legal frameworks, so that an operator can have a decision on an aquaculture licence application within timeframes that compare favourably to our competitors. But any changes must ensure that all stakeholders can participate in a transparent licensing process and have confidence that any licensing decision complies with all EU and national legal requirements and protects our oceans for future generations.”
Both Food Wise 2025 and the National Strategic Plan identified issues with the current licensing system and recommended an independent review to examine the existing challenges and propose improvements in line with best-practice internationally.
Welcoming the Review Group, Minister Creed acknowledged the appropriate skills and experience that the members bring: “I am pleased to announce today the formation of an Independent Review Group comprising 3 persons who I am confident will be widely accepted as having the skills, experience and integrity to conduct this independent review in a manner that all stakeholders can support. I would like to thank Mary Moylan, Ken Whelan and Lorcán Ó Cinnéide for agreeing to serve on the Review Group and I look forward to their recommendations on what we need to change to give this sector a reliable, sustainable, effective decision-making foundation so that we can harness its full potential.”