EU Fish News, 19 July 2013: Irish aquaculture expansion plan under fire

Irish aquaculture expansion plan under fire, 19 July 2013

THE environmental pressure group Friends of the Irish Environment is calling on Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Simon Coveney to open public consultation following the recent publication of the BIM Strategy 2013-2017.

The strategy, launched on July 17, plans to “Significantly develop the aquaculture sector, within the context of clearly defined national policies, output targets and environmental targets.”

Chairman Kieran Calnan said BIM is targeting the production of over 45,000 tonnes of additional raw material during 2013-2017, with a 78% increase in volume of fish farm production by 2020. In this regard, Calnan went on to describe Irish farmed salmon as “a key target growth area for industry”.

The document revealed that a new Strategy for Aquaculture is to be produced in tandem with the Seafood Operational Programme 2014–2020 which will give effect to the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

A spokesman for the Friends said: “The public has the right to be consulted about a new national strategy. As happened during the last National Development Plan 2006 – 2013, there must be a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Operational Programme as it receives EU funding.

“Part of this process is public consultation, and this must be undertaken at the earliest possible opportunity in the national policy making process. During the previous 2007-2013 fisheries operational programme the SEA for aquaculture was not completed until July 2010. There is little point consulting with the public about policy that has already been implemented.”

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