The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD launched a public consultation on a draft National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development proposing 24 actions and initiatives to boost the sustainable growth of aquaculture.
The reformed Common Fisheries Policy requires Member States to prepare multi annual national strategic plans to drive forward the sustainable development of aquaculture and the draft Plan launched today has been prepared in that context.
Commenting on the Plan, Minister Coveney said: “Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry internationally with very rapid expansion opportunities identified over the coming decades to meet the ever growing seafood demand arising from population growth and increased consumption in Asia. Aquaculture internationally produced 67 million tonnes of farmed fish in 2012 and it is projected to increase to 85 million tonnes by 2022. That global projection to increase aquaculture production by 18 million tonnes by 2022, puts in context the proposals in the National Strategic Aquaculture Plan to increase Irish aquaculture production by 45,000 tonnes, across all species, by 2023.While the targets in the Plan are ambitious in the context of the past performance of this industry nationally they are modest in the context of the global expansion which this industry will experience over the next seven years.”
Minister Coveney added “Our aquaculture industry has long been recognised as an area with potential to grow significant value and employment and to sustainably provide the raw material to enhance our processed seafood exports. Clearly, that has not happened and there are many complex reasons for that. At the same time, concerns have been raised about the environmental sustainability of the industry. In this plan, I have sought to identify all of the issues affecting both the growth potential and sustainability of the aquaculture industry and I am proposing a suite of 24 tailored actions to boost sustainable growth, while allaying legitimate areas of concern. With these initiatives, I believe we can get our aquaculture sector back on a path of sustainable growth and provide much needed jobs in our coastal communities”.