The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. today announced the appointment of an independent Aquaculture Licensing Review Group to review the process of licensing for aquaculture and its associated legal framework in keeping with actions identified in Food Wise 2025 and Ireland’s National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development.
On the need for a review of the existing licensing process Minister Creed said “Our aquaculture sector has enormous potential to sustainably grow its production of seafood to meet the opportunities presented from growing world demand for safe, sustainable seafood. Ireland’s National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development aims to sustainably grow our production across all species by 45,000 tonnes.”
The Minister continued “To achieve that ambition, we need to revamp our aquaculture licensing process and its associated legal frameworks, so that an operator can have a decision on an aquaculture licence application within timeframes that compare favourably to our competitors. But any changes must ensure that all stakeholders can participate in a transparent licensing process and have confidence that any licensing decision complies with all EU and national legal requirements and protects our oceans for future generations.”
Both Food Wise 2025 and the National Strategic Plan identified issues with the current licensing system and recommended an independent review to examine the existing challenges and propose improvements in line with best-practice internationally.
Welcoming the Review Group, Minister Creed acknowledged the appropriate skills and experience that the members bring: “I am pleased to announce today the formation of an Independent Review Group comprising 3 persons who I am confident will be widely accepted as having the skills, experience and integrity to conduct this independent review in a manner that all stakeholders can support. I would like to thank Mary Moylan, Ken Whelan and Lorcán Ó Cinnéide for agreeing to serve on the Review Group and I look forward to their recommendations on what we need to change to give this sector a reliable, sustainable, effective decision-making foundation so that we can harness its full potential.”
Pictured L to R: Lorcan Ó Cinnéide, CEO of the Irish Fish Processors & Exporters Association, Mary Moylan, Chair of the Review Group, Michael Creed, Minister For Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Ken Whelan PhD, Adjunct professor in the School of Biology and Environmental Science at UCD
Note for Editors
Ireland’s first National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development was approved by Government and published in December 2015. That Plan proposes 24 actions to drive the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector and sustainably grow production in the sector by 45,000 tonnes. One of the actions of the Plan commits the Minister to “a review and revision of the aquaculture licence process, including the applicable legal framework”.
For seafood, Food Wise 2025 commits to “an independent review of the existing aquaculture licensing system involving all key stakeholders, to identify the current shortcomings and bottlenecks (legislative, resource and logistical), to report by early 2016 and implement necessary changes to the aquaculture licensing system as a matter of priority”.
Mary Moylan (Chair) retired as Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Environment in 2014. Mary successively headed up the Planning and Built Heritage, Corporate Affairs and Rural Development Divisions of the Department. Mary held a number of senior posts throughout her career including responsibilities in the area of International Environment Policy, Planning and Landuse and earlier as Environment Attaché at the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Communities.
Ken Whelan PhD is adjunct professor in the School of Biology and Environmental Science at UCD and is also Research Director of the Atlantic Salmon Trust. Dr Whelan was formerly an Executive Director, with responsibility for aquaculture, at the Marine Institute, Chairman of the International Atlantic Salmon Research Board and Chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation. He is currently a self-employed marine and freshwater fisheries consultant.
Lorcan Ó Cinnéide is CEO of the Irish Fish Processors & Exporters Association, the national representative body for the seafood processing industry. He is a member of the Board of the Marine Institute, the board of the European Fish Processors Association, the Sea Fisheries Protection Consultative Committee and a former member of the Aquaculture Licence Appeals Board.
The Terms of Reference of the Independent Review Group are as follows:
Review of Aquaculture Licensing Process
– Terms of Reference –
The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine appoints an independent three person review group to conduct an independent review of the aquaculturelicence process and associated legal framework, in line with the objectives described below. The Independent Review Group includes a Chair and two members and administrative support is provided by the Department.
Objectives of the Review
Having regard to Government policy for the sustainable development of aquaculture, as outlined in Food Wise 2025 and the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development, the Committee shall aim toidentify changes required to the aquaculture licence process and its associated legal framework that will:
Deliver licence determinations in a timely manner, having regard to international best practice;
Support achievement of the actions and priorities of Food Wise 2025 and the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development;
Facilitate enhanced transparency in the licensing process for all stakeholders
Ensure legally robust licence determinations having regard to EU and national law.
Scope of the Review
The review will encompass the aquaculture licensing process from pre-application stage to the determination of a licence. It will encompass all applications for a licence under existing legislation, including an aquaculture licence, a trial licence, a review of a licence or a renewal of a licence. The Independent Review Group will consult with stakeholders and take their views into account in formulating its final report.
Duration of the Review
The Independent Review Group will report to the Minister within 4 months with a concise report containing recommended actions.