An opinion poll on aquaculture was commissioned by IFA and carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes in May and June 2015. The objective was to gather topical data on priorities, concerns, perceptions and information sources for the Irish public on the industry. the findings would inform the industry on individual licencing applications, marketing, communications and other policies.
It also serves to inform regulators, politicians, the media and the public about the wider perception of the industry and provide solid information rather than anecdotal evidence.
Some of the main findings of the research are:
- An increase in local residents “happy to see a fish farm in their area” from 27% (2008) to 49% (2015)
- A decrease between 2008 and 2015 in local residents opposed to a fish farm in their area from 7% to 5%
- Steady support for aquaculture development among local residents without an existing fish farm nearby: 25%-27%
- Overall support for new farms among residents in areas without an existing fish or shellfish farm – those who would not object – steady at 79%
- No difference in attitudes towards salmon and shellfish farms
- Main reasons for opposition to a fish farm in the locality (unprompted): Don’t understand it 31%, water pollution concerns 24%, conditions fish are kept in 19%, Quality of the fish 18%, “Nothing in it for me” 17%
- Main reasons for support of a fish farm in the locality (unprompted): Employment 59%, Ensures fish stocks 27%, A healthy food to eat 22%, Wealth creation/helps support local communities 18%, Ensures fish do not become scarce 19%, cheaper fish 14%,