Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Fishing Industry Data
333. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the estimated amount of mussel seed available for fishing in the waters of the State in each of the years 2016 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40612/19]
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) undertake surveys of areas with potential to or a history of mussel seed settlement each year. Arising from these surveys estimates are made of the findings of the areas which have been surveyed. BIM generally publishes the survey reports on its website at the following link -
I will forward the Deputy's question to BIM for attention as appropriate.
334. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the location of mussel seed beds; the specific restrictions that apply in each area, such as the closed fishery in a location (details supplied) or other impediments to the fishing or transportation of mussel seed such as the detection of parasites; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40613/19]
Bord Iascaigh Mhara generally publishes reports of surveys of seed beds that it undertakes, including of the area in question, on its website: www.bim.ie
EU environmental legislation, namely the Birds and Habitats Directives, provides protection for certain species, birds and habitats. Member States are required to designate areas of their territory for protection as part of an overall European network; the sites of these areas are the so-called Natura 2000 network. In Ireland, Natura 2000 sites are identified for designation by the National Parks & Wildlife Service under the responsibility of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Ireland has designated approximately 80 marine Natura 2000 sites primarily located in coastal bays and estuaries where sea-fishing activities may occur. Castlemaine Harbour, near Cromane in Co. Kerry, includes two Natura 2000 sites.
Mussel seed fishing is subject to a prior consent process; accordingly mussel seed fishing which may impact on Natura 2000 sites must undergo screening for and, if necessary, appropriate assessment to determine if the activity will have a significant adverse impact on the features of the Natura 2000 site. In order to assess the potential impact, the local fishing industry is invited to submit a Fisheries Natura Plan for assessment and consideration. The most recent Plan underwent assessment in 2016.
Under the rules of the Fisheries Natura Plan for Castlemaine, up to two-thirds of the seed biomass identified by survey may be fished. The balance is reserved as prey for protected seabirds. Fisheries Natura Declaration No. 1 of 2017 (Castlemaine Harbour) sets out the rules which specifically apply to fishing for mussel seed there. Further details on the assessment and plan process can be found online at:
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) is statutorily responsible for the collation of data on catch and landing records for sea-fisheries including the mussel seed fishery. The SFPA is independent in the performance of its functions.
I will forward the Deputy's question to the SFPA for attention as appropriate.
336. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the estimated amount of mussel seed available for fishing in waters in Northern Ireland in each of the years 2016 to 2018 according to his departmental advice or records; the amount fished in each of those years; if his attention has been drawn to restrictions that apply to the beds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40615/19]
339. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the restrictions on the amount of mussel seed allocated to aquaculture farms in Northern Ireland that can be fished in Irish waters; the process by which such allocation is controlled; if it is linked to the total available mussel seed resource in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40618/19]
340. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he or his officials has an input into the way in which the relevant authority in Northern Ireland limits the total amount of mussel seed allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40619/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 336, 339 and 340 together.
Total allocations for aquaculture farms in Northern Ireland, estimates of amounts of mussel seed in Northern Ireland waters, the amounts fished and the regulation of fishing activities of such mussel seed are a matter for the authorities there.
Restrictions on mussel seed fishing activity in Irish waters may be subject to regulations from time to time and, in line with other sea-fishing activities, regulated by relevant fishing authorisations to eligible sea-fishing boats.
337. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the total allocation of mussel seed by him in 2018, by aquaculture sites located here, excluding the Foyle area, Northern Ireland, and the Foyle area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40616/19]