IFA President, Eddie Downey, said today (Thurs) that Minister Coveney must urgently pull all the various agencies and departments of the state together to solve the licensing problem in shellfish farming. “The agencies must be given a single task of meeting the Harvest 2020 and Ocean Wealth targets and a single, accountable body must be made responsible to government for breaking down the barriers to Irish businesses creating jobs and exports from aquaculture.”
Eddie Downey was speaking in Dublin at the opening of the 25th Anniversary Conference of the Irish Shellfish Association, a part of the IFA whose members from around the coast farm oysters, mussels and other shellfish worth over €50 million employing 1,548 people.
The IFA President continued, “Minister Coveney has set ambitious targets to deal with the licensing backlog and IFA needs to see delivery by way of renewals being processed and the entire backlog dealt with within 18 months. His agencies have told us this is possible and he must ensure the will and resources are there to deliver”.
Mr Downey said that shellfish producers were frustrated with delays in working progress with excessive and unnecessary bureaucracy. “This lack of co-ordination can no longer be accepted, where the objectives of Harvest 2020 and the Government’s “Harvesting our Ocean Wealth” policies form no part of licencing policy and are ignored when farmers ask for simplification and clarity to do their jobs”.
Mr Downey concluded, “The leadership of state organisations representing the sector must take responsibility. It is time that the licencing regime was taken by the scruff of the neck and a one-stop shop for all aquaculture producers created to remove duplication and improve the delivery of essential services to farmers”.