IFA’s Aquaculture section has welcomed the publication today (Mon) by EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki of a new strategy to cut red tape and boost fish and shellfish farming which will create thousands of jobs and reduce Europe’s huge dependence on seafood imports.
IFA Aquaculture Executive Richie Flynn said, “In identifying the key strategic link between the provision of home-grown quality seafood and direct employment benefits, the Commissioner has shown that common-sense and direct action is the way to break the long-standing log jam in farmed seafood production. By forcing each member state government to follow-up the EU policy with a progressive and realistic national plan, the Commission proposals show a clear path to the Irish government to reduce red tape, simplify procedures and produce high-end quality exports”. The Commission document includes a “league table” of the length of time it takes to get a licence to farm in the EU. Mr Flynn said, “The Irish Government should be ashamed of the fact that the space available on an A4 page was insufficient to illustrate the 7-8 years it currently takes to get a decision here. Ireland’s licensing system has become a black hole down which 600 applications have disappeared creating enormous frustration and anger around the coast. Today’s communication from Commissioner Damanaki is a wake-up call to our administration who are asleep at the wheel when it comes to one of our most obvious sectoral opportunities for jobs and exports.
Mr Flynn said, “In proposing an EU-wide monitoring system to keep member states on their toes when it comes to licencing, the Commission has provided a hugely useful alternative to the “do-nothing” default position of successive Irish governments. Clear targets and oversight of our licencing system will at the very least embarrass the national authorities into action to produce licences and increase production around the coast in the face of more efficient and productive systems at work in competitor countries.”
Commissioner Damanaki also proposes particular monitored actions in the areas of marine spatial planning, enhancing the competitiveness of the industry through R+D and an emphasis on turning our strict environmental and health regulations to the competitive advantage of EU producers.
Mr Flynn concluded, “It is obvious that at Brussels level, aquaculture is rightly regarded as central to European food and marine policy into the future. Irish regulators and politicians need now to apply the same determined approach to make the most of our ocean wealth by tearing down the barriers to development. As an export driven economy in dire need of jobs, especially in peripheral areas, supporting aquaculture development is a priority for any government with a serious commitment to sustainable economic development.”
Details of the Commission’s aquaculture strategy will be discussed at a major event with industry leaders from all over Europe in Dublin at the end of May, hosted by IFA Aquaculture.
You can find the text of the Communication on http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/aquaculture/official_documents/com_2013_229_en.pdf while the press release is available on http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/aquaculture/official_documents/com_2013_229_en.pdf
For more information contact Richie Flynn at 086-2454402