Bord Iascaigh Mhara Welcomes Ireland’s First Integrated Aquaculture Development Plan

Agency to Withdraw Application for Organic Salmon Farm in Line with New National Policy

Agency to Withdraw Application for Organic Salmon Farm in Line with New National Policy

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), today (21st December) welcomed the publication of Ireland’s first National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development. The strategy drawn up by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine follows extensive consultation and forms the basis for the drawdown of €30 million in EU funding dedicated to Irish aquaculture development over the next five years from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

Among the twenty-four tailored actions agreed in the Strategy was the setting of scale limits in relation to the development of individual offshore salmon farms, capping their size to between 5,000 and 7,000 tonnes. Based on this significant development and current legislation (Fisheries (Amendment) Act, 1997) that states an application cannot be altered while in the planning process; BIM confirmed at its Board meeting today, that it will no longer be proceeding with its current application for an aquaculture licence for a proposed 15,000 tonne organic salmon farm in Galway Bay.

Announcing the decision, BIM CEO, Tara McCarthy said “Taking account of the new policy framework, BIM has reviewed its work programme to match our activities against this new Plan. The scaling of fish farms was one element that had to be addressed and we have taken swift and decisive action on that. We must now re-assess our delivery of this project in the context of the new operating environment and examine the operational and commercial impacts. This will take time and a significant amount of engagement and consultation.”

Ms McCarthy added; “It is important to note that €30 million of EU support has been earmarked to support Irish aquaculture over the next five years to deliver on growth targets set out in the Government Food Wise 2025 report. BIM’s focus for the period will be to continue to drive and explore new innovative technologies, lead sustainability programmes and improve profitability for our producers to deliver against considerable market demand” BIM has informed the licensing authority (the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine) that it is withdrawing the current application.