Thursday, 9 March 2017
Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government
Seaweed Harvesting Licences
145. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the reason there was no environmental impact assessment or public consultation carried out by his Department before issuing a ten year kelp harvest licence to a company (details supplied) [12664/17]
A decision whether to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment is governed by the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIA). In the case referred to, as the activity was not a class of activity set out in either Annex 1 or 2 of the EIA Directive, nor was it within a Natura 2000 site, an EIA was not required.The application was subject to the normal public consultation process which ran from 12 December 2009 until 15 January 2010. The application was advertised in the Southern Star newspaper and the application documents were displayed in Bantry Garda Station for the duration of the public consultation period. There were no submissions on the application from members of the public.
In addition to the public consultation process, written submissions were received from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the Dept of the Environment, the Marine Survey Office, the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board, the Central Fisheries Board and the Marine Institute. The views submitted by these bodies were considered in the context of the decision on the licence application.
The licence granted in this case is to mechanically harvest specific types of seaweed within certain specified zones in Bantry Bay, on a rotational basis. 5 zones for harvesting within the bay are identified as A, B, C, D, and E on the map supporting the application. E is divided into E1 and E2. Only one of the zones marked as C, D, E1 and E2 will be harvested annually allowing for a four year regeneration. The A & B zones are stand by areas only to be harvested if conditions do not allow for harvesting in zones C to E. The effect of this is that although the licence covers an area of some 750 hectares, the annual harvest will be restricted to less than 200 hectares per annum, a very small percentage of the area of the bay.
The licence is on a trial basis, subject to strict monitoring and should provide valuable scientific information which can feed into further policy development in this area.
All of the details regarding the application, supporting documentation and maps identifying the areas described above can be found at the following link: