Tuesday, 15 February 2022
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
965. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way that it is ensured that aquaculture licences are subject to fair due process throughout the statutory and public consultation process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8046/22]
My Department considers all applications for aquaculture licences in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable national and EU legislation. The licensing process involves consultation with a wide range of scientific and technical advisors as well as various Statutory Consultees. The legislation also provides for a period of public consultation.
Decisions in respect of aquaculture licence applications are only taken following full consideration of all views submitted as part of the statutory and public consultation process. The licence application process is designed to strike a balance between the rights and obligations of all parties including the applicant(s), statutory consultees, relevant NGOs and the general public. I am satisfied that the current licensing system meets all of these requirements.
966. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views as to the relationship the new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority, MARA, should have with regard to aquaculture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8047/22]
The Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Bill recently signed into law provides for the establishment of the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA), a new state agency under the aegis of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government which will be responsible for consenting and enforcement functions under the Act.
Following significant consideration of the matter, it was concluded by Government decision in 2019, that development and activities for which the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is the appropriate Minister will continue to be regulated under the Foreshore Act and are thus excluded from the scope of the new consenting regime outlined in the recent Maritime Area Planning Bill. This continues to enable an applicant to apply for both an aquaculture licence and relevant foreshore licence from one Government source.
My Department will continue to engage with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage as the MARA is established to ensure provision is made for early, effective and ongoing engagement on any developments which may affect the marine areas utilised by the seafood sector.