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Creed receives report from Independent Aquaculture Licensing Review Group

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. today received the report of the independent Aquaculture Licensing Review Group which examines 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.

The Minister thanked the Independent Review Group for their report “I wish to thank the members of the Group, Mary Moylan, Lorcán Ó Cinnéide and Ken Whelan, for the expertise, focus and attention they have brought to bear on the issues arising for this licensing process”.  

The Independent Review Group was tasked with making recommendations to improve the existing licensing system and to undertake steps to review the legislative framework.  As part of its review work, the Group took a detailed look at the existing process, undertook comprehensive stakeholder consultation and examined comparative national and international consent systems to determine best practice for managing a complex licensing process in a transparent, environmentally appropriate and legally robust way. 

Welcoming receipt of the report, Minister Creed said “This report was commissioned against a backdrop of a licensing process which has accumulated a significant backlog and, it’s fair to say, considerable stakeholder frustration on many sides.  I have no doubt that the Independent Review Group has undertaken a considerable journey to understand the complex issues involved in this process and to reach the 30  recommendations in the report that I will now need to examine.” 

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.

The report will be published online at http://www.fishingnet.ie/independentaquaculturelicensingreview2017/

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”.

The members of the Independent Review Group commissioned to prepare the Report are:

Mary Moylan (Chair) is a retired senior civil servant who held a number of senior posts throughout her career, including in relation to planning, land use, environment and rural development.

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;

  1. Support achievement of the actions and priorities of Food Wise 2025 and the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development;
  2. Facilitate enhanced transparency in the licensing process for all stakeholders
  3. 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.

Added 31.05.17

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. today received the report of the independent Aquaculture Licensing Review Group which examines 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. From (L to R) The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D, Mary Moylan, Chair, Ken Whelan and Lorcán Ó Cinnéide.

Date Released: 31 May 2017