Ireland urged to accelerate fish farm licensing
Irish Farmers’ Association President John Bryan is calling on the country’s Department of Agriculture, Marine and Food to streamline and accelerate the process of licensing for fish and shellfish farms. Currently, there are nearly 600 license applications being processed.
During a visit to a farm in Donegal, Bryan said the backlog of license applications is hampering the potential growth of Ireland’s seafood industry and costing the country jobs.
“What we simply need is permission through licensing to produce more fish. It is unacceptable that we have to turn customers away due to lack of supply,” said Bryan.
The bureaucracy involved with Habitats Directive designations, which are more about paperwork than environmental impact, needs to be fully dealt, he urged.
“The impact of aquaculture on peripheral coastal areas and islands — whether it be the 270 jobs provided by Marine Harvest Ireland, or six jobs by one of hundreds of local shellfish producers — is significant,” continued Bryan. “With the breadth of knowledge and the close community links of companies involved in the sector, there is an onus now on the government to focus on supporting existing farmers who wish to develop their businesses and access the same EU-sanctioned funding as is available to the rest of our European industry competitors.”