Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Aquaculture Licence Applications

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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235. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 92 of 11 February 2014, the progress that has been made regarding the assessment of Ballycotton Bay, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47218/14]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Ballycotton Bay is designated as a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive (Natura 2000 site) and as a result very detailed scientific investigations must take place before licence applications can be considered by my Department. Detailed information in relation to these investigations has previously been made available to the Deputy.

At present there are 6 aquaculture applications awaiting determination in Ballycotton Bay.

My Department, in conjunction with the Marine Institute and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, is continuing to engage in a major programme to gather the necessary baseline data appropriate to the conservation objectives of aquaculture sites located within designated Natura areas, including Ballycotton Bay.

The setting of Conservation Objectives has been completed in respect of Ballycotton Bay and the carrying out of the Appropriate Assessment is currently at an advanced stage.

Addressing the issue of aquaculture licensing in Natura 2000 areas is a key priority for my Department and the Deputy can be assured that every effort is being made to expedite the completion of the process in Ballycotton Bay having regard to all the complexities involved.


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