#Aquaculture - Marine Minister Michael Creed has announced the appointment of an independent Aquaculture Licensing Review Group
The group has been established 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.
“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 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.”
Review Group chair Mary Moylan retired as assistant secretary at the Department of the Environment in 2014. Moylan successively headed the Planning and Built Heritage, Corporate Affairs and Rural Development Divisions of the department, and previously held a number of senior posts throughout her career, including responsibilities in the area of International Environment Policy, Planning and Land Use 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.