Many in Ireland are welcoming the results of a recent report by the Independent Aquaculture License Review Committee. Ireland supports significant salmon and oyster farming industries, but administrative inefficiencies have slowed expansion.
The Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister established the committee with the intention of examining the country’s licensing process for aquaculture, following actions identified by Ireland’s National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development. The review group was tasked with making recommendations to improve the existing system and received 385 submissions. In the report, many of the deficiencies and delays of licensing are addressed—hurdles that some say are responsible for the loss of millions of euro and hundreds of jobs.
Irish Farmers Association president Joe Healy told the Irish Examiner that the report “is a significant and serious blueprint for the survival and development of a key food sector.”
The report was commissioned amid a significant backlog in the licensing process and associated legal requirements. The Minister says that Ireland’s aquaculture license system needs a revamp in order to make the nation competitive globally and appealing to companies. At the same time, he assured the importance of protecting the oceans and transparency in the licensing process.
Further supporters of the report include the Irish Salmon Growers Association and Marine Harvest Group, one of the world’s largest seafood companies. The goal now, said the Minister, is to grow aquaculture production across all species by 45,000 tons.