Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
570. Deputy Tony Gregory asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason Ireland no longer avails of European funding for the aquaculture industry, taking into consideration the requirement for Departments to reduce expenditure; and the cost to the Exchequer through the loss of this funding. [46545/08]
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The total aid available to Ireland under the EFF amounts to €42 million for the period 2007 — 2013. In line with this funding, an Operational Programme for Fisheries in support of the seafood industry has been developed and approved by the EU Commission. Priority has been given to the Decommissioning of Fishing Vessels Scheme for which a total of €32 million has been set aside. A scheme for vessels over 18 metres in length was launched earlier this year and payments are currently being made.
In relation to aquaculture, the EU Commission was not prepared to support the inclusion of aquaculture development in the EU Operational Programme for Fisheries because of its concerns in relation to environmental compliance issues by Ireland. Aquaculture development will now be supported by state funds. In 2009, €5 million has been made available for aquaculture development support, in addition to funds provided by BIM. A further €1.46 million has been set aside specifically in 2009 to support compliance of fisheries and aquaculture with respect to activities in Natura 2000 sites.
572. Deputy Tony Gregory asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will recall for assessment aquaculture licenses which operations have been conclusively linked to mortalities of wild salmon by the sustainable management of interactions between aquaculture and wild salmonid fish project funded by the EU and partnered between Ireland, Scotland, and Norway and by the data obtained as part of the national fish stock assessment programme. [46547/08]
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): The monitoring and control of aquaculture licences is carried out by my Department in consultation with those bodies, BIM and Marine Institute, provided by statute to carry out that function. All relevant licences now granted by my Department include specific obligations on the licensee in regard to Sea Lice Monitoring and Control.
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