Wednesday, 2 March 2022
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Research and Development
233. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department plans to continue funding the duck weed carbon sequestration research that is ongoing at Mount Lucas, Edenderry, County Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11813/22]
My Department's €240 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme 2014-2020 is the principal source of public funding for the sustainable development of our fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors and is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under the EMFF Regulation.
I understand that BIM awarded grants under the EMFF Knowledge Gateway Scheme to two projects concerning duckweed (lemna minor and lemna gibba) at the Bord na Mona owned aquaculture facility at Mount Lucas in Co. Offaly. Both projects were undertaken by University College Cork. The AQUASUS project assessed the suitability of duckweed to remediate aquaculture wastewater and was completed in 2019. The AquaOpti project looked at developing duckweed biomass for protein extraction. This project is still ongoing and will conclude in April 2022.
The Knowledge Gateway Scheme is presently closed, as the EMFF nears its conclusion with almost all funds committed. My Department's new Seafood Development Programme under the successor to the EMFF, the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund 2021-2027, is being developed and I expect to submit it to the Commission later this year for its adoption. That Programme may include a similar support scheme for innovation in aquaculture, subject to available funds and funding priorities and it would be a matter for interested parties to apply under the scheme for funding at that time. I am advised that BIM is presently assisting a commercial duckweed company and the Technological University of the Shannon with prospective duckweed work at the Mount Lucas site.