Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
657. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the involvement his Department has had in the development of the national marine planning framework; the consideration given to the inclusion of fisheries and aquaculture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44532/20]
The National Marine Planning Framework (Marine Spatial Plan) is currently being developed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and my Department participates on the Interdepartmental Working Group on the Plan.
In relation to aquaculture, the aquaculture licensing backlog in respect of shellfish aquaculture has now been eliminated as an issue affecting the industry. In the case of finfish, measures have already commenced to reduce this backlog and these measures have intensified significantly in 2020. Following very extensive work designed to reform the operation of the current licensing system, the system as it currently stands is operating effectively and efficiently. It is currently acting to facilitate the development of the aquaculture industry while also protecting the marine environment.
My Department will continue to actively engage with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage as the National Marine Planning Framework develops.