IFA Aquaculture Launches Comprehensive Licensing and Compliance Guide

Opening the IFA Aquaculture annual conference and AGM in Limerick today, IFA President Tim Cullinan said there is a critical need for commitment from Government to ensure that the economic potential and sustainable future of the Irish aquaculture sector is realised.

“Prioritising immediate action to implement a functioning aquaculture licensing system must be a key priority for the future development of the Irish aquaculture sector, including appropriate legislative changes required to facilitate this,” he said.

The event is taking place ahead of tomorrow’s Irish Skipper Expo at the UL Sport Arena.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Charlie McConalogue will address the event this afternoon. “I am delighted to be joining our thriving aquaculture industry today and it is great to see everyone together to discuss the industry. In 2022, I outlined my intention to deliver a Sustainable Aquaculture Growth Scheme as recommended in the Seafood Task force. I was pleased to secure €20 million in funding for this scheme and believe that the scheme will assist the aquaculture industry in sustainably growing production, value and employment. It will ensure that Ireland maintains its reputation as a source of premium quality seafood; protect food supply chains in times of uncertainty; grow coastal economies; and sustain the natural environment.”

Irish aquaculture is worth €180m to the Irish economy, providing almost 2,000 direct jobs and contributing to 8,500 indirect jobs in the seafood sector, sustaining coastal communities.

IFA launched a new, industry-focused policy guide, “Best Practice Guidance & Information on Aquaculture Licensing, Legislative Responsibilities & Environmental Objectives.”

The guide, developed by IFA Aquaculture in conjunction with Aquacence consulting, is the first fully comprehensive resource on licensing and environmental objectives for those operating in the sector. The online version is available here.

Speaking about the resource, IFA Aquaculture Chairman Michael Mulloy said, “I am delighted to be able to share this resource with our members, the wider sector and indeed anyone with an interest in aquaculture. Those in the sector know our obligations under multiple EU Directives and national legislation. However, until now, there has never been a guide that brought all relevant information together in a ‘one-stop-shop’ format. This can prove challenging for people keen to ensure they meet the highest standards and adhere to multiple regulations and directives”.

“This guide removes any uncertainty and sets out exactly what producers seeking aquaculture licence renewals, and new applicants, must undertake to be fully compliant. It is a living document that will be continually updated if and when legislation changes.”

Topics covered throughout the day at the conference included the next EMFAF programme, the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture, the Carbon Footprint of the Irish Aquaculture Sector, Marine Protected Areas and the DAFM AquaMIS project.

Michael Mulloy said, “There have been many challenges for the Irish aquaculture sector in recent months, with many producers struggling to deal with the rising cost of inputs, market instability and logistics. This event allows members to engage and discuss the policy priorities for the year ahead”.

“Prioritising immediate action to implement a functioning aquaculture licensing system must be a key priority for any future development of the Irish aquaculture industry, including appropriate legislative changes required to facilitate this,” he concluded.

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