IFA President Welcomes Independent Aquaculture Licence Review

IFA President, Joe Healy has welcomed the publication today of the report of the Independent Aquaculture Licence Review Committee (IALRC) which was set up under FoodWise 2025 by Minister Creed to address the serious delays and flaws in the aquaculture licencing system managed by his Department.

Joe Healy said, “On behalf of our salmon and shellfish farming members around the coast, IFA has been campaigning non-stop for a fairer and faster licensing system for over 10 years and today’s report is a significant and serious blueprint for the survival and development of a key food sector in the rural economy. It particularly addresses many of the deficiencies and delays in licensing which has cost the industry millions of euro and hundreds of jobs.”

“Minister Creed and his department must implement all of the recommendations of the report as soon as possible and publish immediately an implementation strategy which, as the report concludes, ‘will assign responsibility for recommendations, accountability and set milestones for delivery and identify the necessary resources to support the implementation process’”.

Irish Shellfish Association Chairman, Michael Mulloy, welcoming the report, said that the achievement of a 20 year licence term was hugely significant for the sector “This will allow for proper business management and succession planning in the industry. As well the pre-assessment procedure, we welcome more transparency in public consultation and the emphasis on seeking managerial and financial assurance in advance of new licences being granted as well as proof of activity on all existing licensed sites to allow for streamlined commercial use.”

Irish Salmon Growers’ Association Chairman, Damien O’Keeffe said “The report contains many welcome proposals for simplification and increased transparency and customer service, for both land based and marine finfish farming. The ability to implement best technology and environmental practice without expensive reviews is crucial to encourage investment and a high quality industry. The 20 year licence proposal is a huge step and a major achievement for industry stability and planning.”

IFA President, Joe Healy said that the Association acknowledged the rationale behind the report’s overarching conclusion that “a root-and-branch reform of the aquaculture licence application processes is necessary. The reform needs to be comprehensive in scope and focus both on immediate actions which can produce results in the short term as well as initiatives which will bear fruit in the longer term.”

Joe Healy concluded, “Urgent reform in a number of areas is required to bring our licensing process into line with modern, professional and responsive permitting services at work throughout the industry worldwide and in many similarly complex areas at national level. If legislation is necessary it should be carefully considered but in the meantime the non-legislative issues should be dealt with by Minister Creed and his staff and agencies without delay.”

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