Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Aquaculture Industry.

Thursday, 9 April 1987

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 371 No. 10

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7.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  asked the Minister for the Marine the proposals if any, he has in the area of research and development to ensure continued growth in the aquaculture industry.

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  My Department, An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Údarás na Gaeltachta are actively promoting the development of aquaculture in accordance with a multiannual guidance programme submitted to the EC by my Department. I will have a copy of this programme sent to the Deputy.

A multiannual guidance programme covering the next five years is in course of preparation and will provide a sound basis for the continued development of aquaculture.

With a view to stimulating this development, priority is being given to the issue of aquaculture licences in the 14 areas which have been designated to date. In addition, a list of areas where designation procedures will commence during 1987 is currently being prepared.

Mariculture research is at present in a fragmented state and badly needs coordination. This will be achieved through the early establishment of a marine research and technology institute.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I welcome the news that the Minister intends to establish a marine research and technology institute. In view of the potential of the industry I should like to know if the Minister agrees that its growth will largely depend on research and development. Will the Minister ensure that there will be adequate resources to carry out research and development so that the industry can achieve its full potential?

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  I agree with the Deputy's views. In recognition of the absence of an adequate research and development programme we decided to establish a marine research and technology institute. [2112] I appreciate the importance of the industry but we must develop it in a way that will be of benefit to the community. This area has suffered from the fragmentation of research up to now. I hope the institute we propose to establish will bring together the various agencies, organisations, the universities and others involved in the development of aquaculture and marine research under the umbrella of one research institute. We are preparing plans for that institute.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  When will the institute be fully operational?

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  We cannot give a firm date now. I am sure the Deputy is aware that it will not be possible to remedy the neglect in this area over the past 25 years in a matter of three or four weeks.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Has the Minister a rough idea of when the institute will be in operation?

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  I propose to appoint an interim board or institute to carry on until the necessary legislation is put through the Oireachtas. It may be possible to do that pretty quickly. I hope that under that interim arrangement it will be possible to bring together the various strands of activity in the area of research which are at present fragmented and working towards different objectives. Such an interim board will operate pending the enactment of legislation that will put a firm statutory body in place.

Mr. Begley: Information on Michael Begley  Zoom on Michael Begley  Will the Minister give an assurance that the rights of traditional fishermen will be protected before new areas are designated?

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  The Deputy will be aware that it has been the practice to hold public inquiries in the different areas before designation orders are made. At those public inquiries traditional fishermen, those with anchorage, berthage and other rights, are given an opportunity to present their case. I am satisfied that [2113] adequate opportunity is given to the various interests to put forward their observations at those public inquiries. I can assure the Deputy that no area will be designated without the views of all interests involved, including traditional fishermen, being taken into consideration.


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