IRELAND SET FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH IN FISH FARMING, JOBS AND EXPORTS – IFA
The EU Commission has found for the second time that the public can have full confidence in Ireland’s scientifically proven controls and policies relating to sea lice control.
“With this welcome confirmation of our world-class credentials, the industry is now poised to reach the international demand for sustainable high-quality seafood from the Irish coast,” according to the IFA’s Aquaculture Section.
“Meeting EU and national targets for ‘Blue Growth’ are realistic and incredibly positive goals for coastal communities, with associated jobs in farming, processing and service sectors. Our relatively small and highly-focused industry is driven by filling niche quality markets. We have been held back due to indecision and the long wait for the inevitable dropping of this case. Ireland has a chance to shine on the world seafood stage and capture high value markets while still reminding relatively small in international terms but incredibly important locally.”
The closure of the EU’s investigation into sea lice management and control in Ireland is the second time the Environment Directorate of the European Commission has dismissed the same complaint due to lack of evidence. A related case against the Department of Agriculture for allegations of maladministration was thrown out earlier this year by the Irish Ombudsman.
IFA Aquaculture Executive, Richie Flynn said, “Ireland needs to send a strong and positive signal to consumers and communities that we can move forward in a sustainable way to satisfy strong market demand for our fish, particularly those grown to organic standards, as well as provide raw material for our key processing and smokery industry. IFA believes it is a priority to satisfy the unambiguous targets set out in the Government’s “Harvest 2020” and the European Commission’s “Blue Growth” strategy for increasing aquaculture production to rebalance the imports of over 60% of our seafood consumption from third countries: harvested beyond EU scrutiny and providing little by way of jobs in the Union.
 In 2009 two Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) submitted a legal complaint against Ireland to the EU Commission (EU Pilot Case 764/09/ENV1). In responding to the complaint a detailed scientific investigation was undertaken. Long term research and specifically commissioned studies were accessed and their data drawn on to ensure a comprehensive and accurate response based on the best available scientific data and information. This information, together with the associated studies and data which formed the basis of the scientific response to the complaint is available here: http://oar.marine.ie/handle/10793/893 . The complaint was closed in favour of the State on the 11th of October 2012
 The Irish Ombudsman’s report on the request for redress of Maladministration (CO1/13/1243)