Fine Gael has pledged to reinstate the Department of the Marine in its election manifesto published today. Under the heading 'steering the marine' Fine Gael also says it will replace the Boards of all State Port companies and Harbour Commissions within one year of entering government. The full chapter dealing with Marine is below:
1.11 Supporting the Seafood Sector and Marine
Expanding the Industry: Fine Gael believes Ireland, as an island nation with a strong and valued fishing tradition has huge potential to succeed as a serious competitor in the international seafood sector. The seafood industry currently generates annual revenues of €718 million and provides direct employment for 11,000 people. With an estimated 40 million tonnes of seafood to be required annually by 2030, there is significant scope for further expansion.
Common Fisheries Policy:
We will negotiate the best possible deal for Irish fishermen in the context of the ongoing review of the Common Fisheries Policy. Our priorities are:
• A progressive reduction of discards, fishery by fishery and in all maritime regions in the EU.
• Protection of the Hague Preferences.
• A uniform and transparent regulation regime.
• A clear, independently audited database of infringements across the EU.
• The development of a sustainable aquaculture plan.
• A strong focus on seafood marketing, labelling and country of origin to ensure imports meet the same
standards on safety, hygiene, traceability, recall, information and audit.
Sea Fisheries Bill:
We will publish legislation to replace the criminal sanctions system for minor fisheries offences with an administrative sanction system to bring Ireland into line with other European jurisdictions.
Funding for Fisheries:
Fianna Fáil and Green Party in-fighting has limited Ireland's ability to draw down EU funds for seafood development. We will resolve difficulties blocking the drawdown of available funds. Aquaculture Licensing: An additional 42 million tonnes of farmed seafood will be required to keep pace with demand each year by 2030, just 20 years away. We must increase our raw material supply and expand our aquaculture sector. We will remove administrative obstacles and clear the backlog of aquaculture licences currently preventing the creation of thousands of jobs in the aquaculture sector.
Value Added Products:
Currently, 85% of all Irish seafood is commodity traded. There is a significant opportunity to generate more value from this raw material base. Fine Gael will task Bord Iascaigh Mhara with assisting Irish companies in adding value to their products through innovation.
Single Food Label:
We will create and market a single label for all Irish produce and will drive a targeted marketing campaign to grow the Irish brand in new markets.
1.12 Steering the Marine
Marine and fisheries policy is currently spread across three Departments. Fine Gael will merge these responsibilities under one Department for better co-ordination in policy delivery.
National Marine and Coastal Plan:
We will develop an integrated marine and coastal planning process to reach the full potential of our coastline in fishing, aquaculture, ocean energy and tourism.
We will support the development of our ports and marine sector as important drivers of economic growth. We will also replace the Boards of all State Port companies and Harbour Commissions within one year of entering government.
The manifesto is HERE