IFA Aquaculture Conference 2023

Opening the IFA Aquaculture conference in Limerick on the 23rd February, 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 took place ahead of the Irish Skipper Expo at the UL Sport Arena.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Charlie McConalogue also addressed the conference on the day, “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.”

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.”

There was a very strong attendance of over 150 delegates with very positive engagement between the industry, stakeholders, DAFM officials, and state agencies throughout the day. The Marine Institute were also on hand to demonstrate the new DAFM online AquaMIS system along with a number of exhibitors that provide services to the wider aquaculture sector. 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 – presentations from the day are available below.

Presentations from the Day

Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme

Brenda O’Riordan, BIM

DAFM Update – Aquaculture Licensing & AquaMIS

Ultan Waldron Head of Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division

The Carbon footprint of Irish seafood

Ben Dallaghan Economic & Strategic Services Unit BIM

A deep dive into the Carbon emissions of Irish aquaculture – Life Cycle Assessments

Ronan Cooney, Sustainability & Certification, BIM

IFA Aquaculture Best Practice Guidance Document & IFA Aquaculture Update

Teresa Morrissey, IFA Aquaculture

Zuilmah Willis, Bord Bia

Insight, Innovation and Brand Development Services to drive growth

Marine Protected Area’s legislation

Fair Seas campaign

BIM’s support for the Irish Aquaculture sector

Caroline Bocquel, BIM CEO