Redress for maladministration EU Pilot 764/09/ENVI over sea lice from farmed salmon impact on wild salmon.
Summary and weblinks
The evidence for and copies of the Requests for Redress for maladministration EU Pilot 764/09/ENVI over sea lice from farmed salmon impact on wild salmon.
The evidence of maladminsitration
18 December 2009.
Original EU Pilot Investigation terms 18.12.2009. This sought the views of the Department of Agriculture as licensing authority, and the ‘express views’ of the Department of Environment’s Parks and Wildlife Service as Habitats Directive, and the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources’s Inland Fisheries Ireland as responsible for wild game fisheries.
7 September 2010.
EU warning to the Department of Foreign Affairs of infringement proceedings if IFI and NPWS views are not provided
26 November 2010
IFI’s final Report as sent to DCENR
20 June 2011
DAFF letter to DCENR requesting the withdrawal of their Report.
15 November 2011
Last ditch stand DCENR refusing DAFF request
15 November 2011 [same day as above]
Letter from DAFF to EU stating that they were still awaiting the IFI submission.
9 December 2011
Letter from DCENR to DAFF without any of the criticisms and views of the IFI Report.
18 December 2011
The final meeting in Brussels previous to the closure of the case at which all the parties were present. While the Government often refers to this meeting as proof of their complete cooperation, no mention was made of the IFI Report and the presetations were limited to the two scientists present. [The Marine Institute presentation by Jackson appeared to show only a 1% mortality from sea lice actually shows 33% mortalities when three fundamental errors are corrected.]
June 11, 2012
Letter of closure from EU on sea lice investigation. The Commission says it would need ‘uncontested evidence’ to go to Court. As long as the Marine Institute can continue to produce any evidence, it appears they are safe from the law under this determination – no matter how full fundamentally flawed their science is?
Redress Outlines and weblinks
Friends of the Irish Environment have lodged three ‘request for redress of mal–administration’ based on the European Commission’s investigation of sea lice and wild salmon. A ‘Request for redress of mal–administration’ is a formal procedure that is required before bringing a complaint to an Ombudsman.
A Request was made to the Department of Agriculture Food and Fisheries [DAFF, later DAFM] for requiring the withdrawal and so suppressing the Inland Fisheries Ireland Report [IFI, an agency of DCENR] on the impact of sea lice on wild salmon specifically requested by the Commission. A further request was filed against the Department of Foreign Affairs [DFA later DFAT], who assigned the investigation file to a single file handler – the Department of Agriculture – when the file should have been assigned to each of the agencies whose replies were required. A final request was filed with the European Commission for failing to follow through on the terms of the investigation which required the express views of Inland Fisheries Ireland.
The decision of the Commission as to reopening the investigation is expected during October 2013.
The denial by DAFF of mal administration is to be investigated by the Irish Ombudsman and a request is pending to extend the investigation to include the Department of Foreign Affairs.
1. The European Commission
1.1.Redress for maladministration in the processing of EU Pilot 764/09/ENVI which sought to address the impact of sea lice from salmon farms on wild salmon. The Commission closed the case without seeking this complainant’s views and without obtaining the ‘express view of the agency responsible for game fisheries’ as required in the terms of the PILOT investigation.
1.3 Letter from the EU agreeing to investigate to see if the case should be reopened; http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/index.php?do=library&action=view&id=237
FIE has also provided three supplementary information submissions to the Commission. A decision as to reopening the investigation is expected during October 2013. The matter can then be referred to the European Ombudsman.
1.4 Supplementary Information I
August 28, 2013. This outlines the published work showing that Ireland’s scientific evidence contained three fundamental errors which meant that mortalities rates were not 1% but 33%. Includes data on the increase in lice levels 2009 – 2012
1.5 Supplementary Information II
Further supplementary information supplied to the European Commission on16 September, 2013. This information provides documentation of the Government’s suppression of the Report by IFI (after the change in Government) forcing IFI to withdraw.
1.6 Supplementary information III
The monthly sea lice monitoring figures for 2012 – August 2013. These show continuing exceedences of sea lice levels at the same locations as 2009 – 2012. Also includes note on the ‘very poor precision’ that the Irish method of sampling produces, partly through ‘clustering’ of sea lice infected fish.
2. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries [DAFF, later DAFM]
In spite of direct and repeated requests for the views of the ‘express views of the Minister responsible for inland game fisheries’, which under Irish law is Inland Fisheries Ireland under the Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources’ [DCENR] , Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food [DAFF] did not provide the final IFI report to the Commission as it was heavily critical of the DAFF submission and supported scientific concern about the location of salmon farms in wild salmon catchments.
DAFF wrote to DCENR requesting that the document be withdrawn in June 2011 and denied having the Report to the Commission in November 2011. Aside from seeking to have DAFF release this report to the Commission, the request seeks to have the moratorium on salmon farm development in the NDP 2007 – 2013 reinstated and for the opening of public consultation on the SEA Environmental Report of the Fisheries Program for the NDP 2014 – 2020. The request also seeks to have DAFF regularise the salmon farm licences, 31 of 38 being past their renewal date and operating under 2006 legislation that allows this practice, a clear contravention of EU law which requires assessment of renewals for these operations.
2.1 Department denial
Letter from DAFF of 19 July 2013 denying the allegations of maladministration, which included not only the PILOT case, but also the overturning of the prohibition on investment and increased production targets for farmed salmon incorporated in the National Development Plan and published in July 2010 as part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Aquaculture Measure of the Operational Programme. It also raises the 2006 legislation being used as justification for allowing operators to continue past their renewal date without relicensing.
This case has now been accepted for preliminary examination by the Irish Ombudsman. [See Ombudsman below]
3. Foreign Affairs and Trade
The Department of Foreign Affairs is in charge of allocating the responsibility for the responses to European Commission legal enquiries such as EU Pilot 764/09/ENVI. It assigns file handler[s] as appropriate who respond to the Commission. In this case, the DFA assigned the file to DAFF, in spite of the fact that the legally mandated Agency for wild fisheries is IFI and the Minister is DCENR.
In fact, DAFF was the promoter of the salmon farms whose adverse impact was being investigated. By failing to ensure the file was addressed by DCENR, the Department infringed Article 23 of the Habitats Directive which requires administrative procedures to ensure the implementation of the Habitats Directive. It permitted the undermining of the investigation, leading to the closure of the case without the views of the appropriate Government Department.
3.1 Eamon Gilmore as Minister for Foreign Affairs responded that it was standard procedure to assign one file handler who would liase with other agencies as necessary. Minister’s reply.
3.2 However, the Department of the Taoiseach has stated the opposite – that the procedure is to assign the file to each agency for direct response. Read the D/Taoiseach reply.
FIE has requested that the Ombudsman extend the investigation to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Taoiseach’s Office to clarify if there was or was not mal administration in the assigning of the case to a single file handler. [See Ombudsman 4.1 below]
4. Irish Ombudsman
The Ombudsman agreed to begin a preliminary investigation into the role of DAFF in the suppressed IFI Report.
On 15 October 2013 the Ombudsman informed us that it was not possible to reach on conclusion these issues. The case has been put forward into a queue for more detailed consideration. However, ‘ Due to the large number of complaints on Hand, it will normally be at least three months before further consideration can be given to the complaint.’
4.1 Request to Ombudsman re DAFF
4.2 Ombudsman acceptance letter re DAFF
4.3 Supplementary clarification I on actions taken and issues requiring examination.
4.4. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. [DFAT]
4.4.1. Redress request to Ombudsman on DFAT 26 September, 2013
This Request compares Eamon Gilmores answer that the EU investigation correctly went to only one Department [DAFF] to coordinate all responses and followed the procedures with the Department of Taoiseach’s position that the file should have been assigned to each of the agencies cited in the Commission request.
The Ombudsman has questioned if the appeal process was completed before lodging the Redress Request and we have provided two supplementary submissions clarifying the issues.
4.4.2. Supplementary I laying out issue 3 October 2013
4.4.3 Supplementary II chronological list of submissions, 15 October 2013
A decision is awaited as to the Ombudsman extending the Investigation.
Last updated 18 October 2013
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