18 Oct 2011
MINISTER COVENEY TO ADDRESS SHELLFISH FARMERS AT IFA’S KINSALE CONFERENCEAquaculture
Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food, Simon Coveney TD will address a national conference of shellfish producers in Kinsale this weekend. The industry – made up of mussel, oyster, scallop, clam and abalone producers from around the entire Irish coast, exports 40 million euros worth of molluscs each year and sustains 1705 full and part time employees.
The conference, which will be opened by IFA Deputy President, Eddie Downey on Saturday 22nd of October in Acton’s Hotel, Kinsale, will discuss a range of topics on the Irish shellfish industry. European markets, food safety regulations, digital marketing, EU legislation and licencing will be discussed as well as a specific session on R+D activities, new technology and innovation.
Irish Shellfish Association chairman, Flor Harrington, said, “Production of mussels, oysters and other shellfish is a key part of the coastal economy in Ireland. We are improving our marketing and maintaining the highest quality through our own investment and hard work as farmers. Unlike many other food sectors, shellfish producers market their own produce and deal directly with customers at home and abroad. It has been a difficult few years for the industry, with the closure of processing plants, mortalities in oysters and a lack of progress on licencing by successive governments. However, both Minister Coveney and EU Commissioner Damanaki have clearly stated that aquaculture will play a key role in addressing the European seafood defecit into the future and from that we expect that support – politically, financially and in decreasing red tape – will be forthcoming at national and EU level.”
IFA has been campaigning for the implementation of a new licensing regime since a 2007 European Court of Justice judgement ruled that the government had not implemented application regulations relating to the Habitats Directive. The delays have caused a backlog of almost 600 licence applications for new sites and revised existing sites in almost every coastal county. IFA has estimated a potential increase of 2,000 jobs and €150 million in export revenue from the swift processing of these applications.
Programme details for the conference are available in the aquaculture section of: www.ifa.ie