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State Cannot Licence Seaweed Harvesting Where Rights Already Exists Says English

10th July 2018
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State Cannot Licence Seaweed Harvesting Where Rights Already Exists Says English Photo: Tom Corser/Wikimedia

#Seaweed - The State cannot licence seaweed harvesting in a era where harvesting rights already exist.

That is the official position of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, following “ongoing assessment of the legal interaction” between applications for licenses and existing seaweed harvesting rights around the Irish coast.

Speaking at the recent Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Galway, Minister of State Damien English said: “I have taken the necessary time to carefully consider all aspects of this issue and have met with a variety of interests across this sector. The position is that my department cannot licence seaweed harvesting in an area where there is an existing right to harvest seaweed.

“I have also clarified that existing seaweed rights holders can continue to exercise their right to harvest seaweed and do not require consent under the Foreshore Act although they must respect relevant national and European environmental legislation.”

Minister English said he has written to all of the existing applicants setting out the position, and would work with them to consider how it would impact on their applications.

“In the course of the consideration of these issues, I have had the welcome opportunity to meet many people in this sector and listen to their views. One of the things I took from these interactions is the great potential to develop the wild seaweed sector if we take the right decisions to realise it.

“I will be working with my colleagues to identify the most suitable body to develop and implement a strategy to underpin the development of this sector which will need to include a robust and transparent licensing system.”

BioAtlantis Aquamarine recently began mechanical harvesting of sub-tidal seaweed in Bantry Bay despite a High Court challenge to the project by environmental groups, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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