Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development: Discussion
I might pose one question. I thank members for their questions. Much of the concern that has been articulated, and not just at the committee, has been about buy-in and agreement with local communities. The committee has done a number of reports, but Deputy Ferris referred in particular to the visit to Scotland. The aim of the report in question was to develop an economic model for rural, coastal and island communities. Aquaculture was one pillar on which the foundation could be built. Another committee report was generated when we were in a previous guise, with a communications and natural resources remit, on oil and gas. An important point of the report was the concept of buy-in at the earliest possible point from local communities in order that people would have a sense of ownership. I am not sure about the new guidelines. Is it possible for the regional inshore fisheries forums to become a partner to establish joint ventures with companies?
To be honest, they are the ones that have the wherewithal. If they get buy-in from a type of joint venture co-operative model, that might be the best way to progress this and get real traction in terms of growth, rather than meeting resistance everywhere we go.
The other aspect is the environmental designation of many of the inlets and bays that are best suited to setting up salt-water farms. Where stands that process? That is one of the reasons many of the farms either no longer operate or operate on a tenuous licence. I am not quite sure of their status, but it is not solid.