Spent wisely and backed by a pro-active state infrastructure that encourages entrepreneurs, SMEs and family aquaculture businesses around the coast, the EU’s new fisheries fund can turn the tide in favour of Ireland’s seafood industry, according to IFA.
IFA’s Aquaculture Section has welcomed the announcement today (Thurs) by Minister Simon Coveney that Ireland has secured €148 million in EU aid for the fisheries and seafood sector under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
“The European Commission has placed the development of sustainable aquaculture as its highest priority to address serious employment problems, reinvigorate the economies of coastal areas and displace the influx of imported fish, which now account for over two thirds of consumption by European Consumers”, said IFA Aquaculture Executive, Richie Flynn. “The clear EU commitment to aquaculture in monetary terms must be matched by Government with a renewed vigour at home to cut red tape and remove backlogs in licensing created over many years.”
“IFA has lobbied intensively for a fair share of EU funds for the fish and shellfish farming sector since the current Common Fisheries Policy review began. Now the attention turns home to making sure that companies and individuals with high quality seafood products, new ideas and an ability to create jobs and exports can make the most of this tremendous opportunity. Government must ensure that every cent of EU funding is maximised to ensure the aquaculture sector reaches its true potential and takes advantage of the growing high value market demand for seafood products from Ireland.”
IFA has prioritised capital investment, modernisation, new entrants, and environmental impact mitigation in the forthcoming negotiations on the share-out of the funds at national level.
Notes for editors (Source BIM 2013 Aquaculture Survey):
- First sale value of the Irish aquaculture industry was €117m;
- Salmon culture remains the highest value sector of the industry accounting for 50% of the value;
- Total direct employment in aquaculture production was over 1,800 persons;
- The oyster sector provided the highest proportion of employment with over 1,100 jobs;
- 76% of all aquaculture by volume is carried out along the western seaboard;
- The highest volume of aquaculture production was in Cork where nearly 11,000 tonnes of seafood was produced.