Donegal company’s anger at seven year wait on aquaculture license

first_imgDonegal salmon producer Marine Harvest Ireland (MHI), has expressed disappointment at the latest delay in reaching a decision on a finfish license application in Bantry Bay, originally submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2011.The application for a site at Shot Head was last approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in September 2015 but was subsequently appealed to the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB).MHI were among the appellants since some of the conditions set-down in the licence rendered it unfit for purpose and grossly out-of-kilter with international best practice. Having indicated it would reach a decision by October 2018, ALAB has now stated that it is extending its latest deadline until June 30th, 2019.The application is the preferred single licence size for MHI’s organic operations and is smaller than its very successful and well-established operations at Clare Island off the Mayo coast.It involves an investment of €3.5 million which would initially create six full-time jobs during the farm set-up and a further two additional jobs when fully operational.The company would also commission a marine vessel with a local shipbuilder to service the Shot Head site. A spokesperson stated: “While respecting ALAB’s mandate and independence, Marine Harvest Ireland (MHI) wishes to place on record its disappointment that a final decision still hasn’t been reached on an application which the company originally applied for, to the Department of Agriculture in 2011.“Seven years later, we are told that the decision won’t be taken until the middle of next year at the earliest. It sends out a very negative message to the Irish aquaculture sector and doesn’t provide any of the certainty which is necessary for those seeking to invest and create employment in the industry.“Those who end up bearing the brunt of this inaction and suffering most, are our workers who don’t have the certainty and security of regular work because we cannot grow enough fish.“The Minister for Agriculture has been asked to address the serious bottlenecks in the aquaculture licencing system in an independent report commissioned by his own Department which was published in May 2017. MHI and the IFA have asked the Minister to implement the recommendations of the report to break the never-ending cycle of unnecessary delays. As it stands, ALAB is quite obviously under-resourced.“It needs to be given adequate resources to do its job, especially with the Minister putting further work its way by making promises about clearing the backlog of licence applications and committing to the issuance of 300 shellfish licences both this year and next. “MHI has €22million earmarked for investment in Irish sites which would create 250 jobs in rural, coastal locations. Ireland’s failure to meet aquaculture targets set out in various Government strategy documents will result in lost income of €1.3billion by 2020 if no tangible, progressive action is taken by the Department,” concluded the spokesperson.With global demand for reliable sources of quality protein increasing rapidly, Marine Harvest Ireland already contributes over €21million to the domestic economy annually with some 800 Irish suppliers presently doing business with the company here.MHI is a subsidiary of the Marine Harvest ASA headquartered in Norway, it is a global-force in aquaculture with more than 13,200 employees operating across 24 countries worldwide and servicing 70 markets across the globe.The company had a turnover of almost €3.6billion in 2017 and is prepared to invest in market opportunities that offer growth potential. To that end, it has recently approved an £80 million investment in Scotland.Marine Harvest has operated successfully in Ireland for 39 years to employing approximately 300 people between its salmon farms and hatcheries in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Cork and Kerry. Donegal company’s anger at seven year wait on aquaculture license was last modified: September 7th, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img