IFA welcomes EUR 20 million fund for Irish aquaculture, but wants extra help on inflation
A representative of Ireland’s aquaculture sector has welcomed a new EUR 20 million (USD 20.4 million) scheme to mitigate the impact of Brexit on producers, but has warned the industry risks being overwhelmed by new pricing challenges.
The Irish Farmers’ Association welcomes the EUR 20 million fund from the E.U. budget, which can be used to offset 50 percent of the purchase price of new equipment, facilities, and replacement raw materials, IFA Aquaculture Executive Teresa Morrissey said.
“As we were without direct grant aid of any description until now, this funding is very welcome, even given the difficult economic climate at the moment a number of aquaculture producers are keen to proceed with capital projects and this funding will assist them in achieving this,” she said.
Coming from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund, the financial support for aquaculture is based on a recommendation of the Seafood Task Force, which was established by Ireland’s Agriculture Minister to assess the impacts of Brexit on the fishing sector and coastal communities.
Dogged in recent years with licensing-reform issues, Irish aquaculture production increased 11 percent in volume in 2021 to 42,000 metric tons, according to the Irish Agriculture Ministry, with the bulk of that output being mussels, oysters, and salmon.
But the sector faces a new challenge in the form of higher prices for the inputs it requires, Morrissey said.
“Input costs are soaring and the Irish aquaculture industry will require some direct assistance to deal with that crisis separately from this funding,” she told SeafoodSource.
Fuel and energy are the two main drivers of inflation, “but also feed and raw materials such as steel, ropes, and nets,” Morrissey said.
Photo courtesy of Irish Farmers’ Association