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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 877-893
 Header Item Farm Retirement Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Administration
 Header Item Equine Industry
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Applications
 Header Item Inland Fisheries
 Header Item Aquaculture Licence Applications
 Header Item Suckler Welfare Scheme Extension
 Header Item Beef Industry
 Header Item Rural Development Programme Funding
 Header Item Aquaculture Licence Applications
 Header Item Ministerial Staff
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Food Industry Development

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 877-893

Farm Retirement Scheme Eligibility

 877. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if farmers who are in receipt of payments under the farm early retirement scheme, and who have leased their farm and their entitlements under this scheme, will retain their entitlements after 2014; the basis on which they will be retained; the necessary steps to be taken by the farmer to retain their entitlements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13594/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Any farmer who was entitled to receive a direct payment in 2013 (Single Payment, Grassland Sheep Scheme, Burren Life Scheme, Beef Data Scheme) is automatically eligible to receive an allocation of entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme in 2015.

Farmers who joined the Early Retirement Scheme undertook to cease farming definitively. Where such farmers have leased out their entire holding and all entitlements for a period which includes 2013, they consequently do not have an automatic ‘allocation right’. In most cases they will not be ‘active farmers’ in 2015.

As a consequence, these 100% lessors will neither be eligible to establish entitlements in their own right, nor can they enter into a PCC to transfer entitlements to the lessee. The value of such 100% leased entitlements would be lost to both lessor and lessee (but would remain in the overall fund for redistribution). This scenario also applies to those who have leased out a portion of their entitlements in 2013 but failed to draw down a payment on the entitlements they retain.

The value of such leased entitlements will be lost to both lessor and lessee unless the entitlements in question are transferred permanently by sale or gift before 15 May 2014 to a person who holds an allocation right, ideally the existing lessee. My Department is writing to all persons impacted by this scenario to advise them of their options.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 878. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding those who have leased land with entitlements for the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 in relation to those entitlements for the new Common Agricultural Policy programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13595/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Any farmer who was entitled to receive a direct payment in 2013 (Single Payment, Grassland Sheep Scheme, Burren Life Scheme, Beef Data Scheme) is automatically eligible to receive an allocation of entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme in 2015. The status of entitlements held in 2013, whether leased or owned, has no impact on the establishment of such an allocation right.

The value of entitlements that will be allocated to a farmer in 2015 will be based on a percentage of the value of entitlements (and where relevant the payment received in 2014 under the Grassland Sheep Scheme) owned by the farmer on the closing date for applications under the 2014 scheme year. When carrying forward the value of leased entitlements to the Basic Payment Scheme in 2015, such value will be assigned to the owner of the entitlements (where the owner is eligible to participate in the Basic Payment Scheme) and not to the lessee.

A lessor and lessee may wish to carry forward an existing lease into the new Basic Payment Scheme and may do so by way of a Private Contract Clause. However, to enter into such an agreement, the lessor must hold an allocation right (from 2013), must remain an active farmer in 2015 and must also establish entitlements in his own right in 2015.

A difficulty arises where lessors have leased out their entire holding and all entitlements for a period which includes 2013 and consequently do not have an automatic ‘allocation right’. In most cases they will not be ‘active farmers’ in 2015. As a consequence, these 100% lessors will neither be eligible to establish entitlements in their own right, nor can they enter into a PCC to transfer entitlements to the lessee. The value of such 100% leased entitlements would be lost to both lessor and lessee (but would remain in the overall fund for redistribution). This scenario also applies to those who have leased out a portion of their entitlements in 2013 but failed to draw down a payment on the entitlements they retain.

The value of such leased entitlements will be lost to both lessor and lessee unless the entitlements in question are transferred permanently by sale or gift before 15 May 2014 to a person who holds an allocation right, ideally the existing lessee. My Department is writing to all persons impacted by this scenario to advise them of their options.

Single Payment Scheme Administration

 879. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 541 of 11 February 2014, when the information promised will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13597/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The data requested by the Deputy in relation to monetary amount of penalties imposed each year on farmers since the Single Farm Payment was introduced is set out in tabular form below.

YEAR
TOTAL
2005
€1,402,272.38
2006
€1,848,528.87
2007
€2,216,778.98
2008
€2,744,773.76
2009
€2,926,247.45
2010
€5,411,679.38
2011
€5,935,484.69
2012
€6,426,760.65
2013
€8,638,115.14

Equine Industry

 880. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a change is proposed in respect of equines under Pillar 1 of the Common Agricultural Policy, including whether the farming of equines will be eligible under all the definitions of an active farmer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13598/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney To participate in the Basic Payment Scheme and related schemes a person must be an ‘active farmer’ as defined in the Direct Payment Regulation. Only persons who fulfil one of the following can be considered as an ‘active farmer’ and will be eligible to receive a direct payment:

a. A ‘farmer’ is defined as a person who carries out an agricultural activity such as ‘the rearing or growing of agricultural products including harvesting, milking, breeding animals and keeping animals for farming purposes’.

b. Persons who do not engage in one or more of these activities must at a minimum maintain their land in ‘good agricultural and environmental condition’.

c. Where land can be described as an area ‘naturally kept in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation’ (marginal land), each Member State must establish a level of ‘minimum activity’ to be carried out by farmers on such land. As of yet it has not been decided what will constitute a ‘minimum activity’ but one option is the application of a minimum stocking density.

In addition, farmers who qualify under the so called Scottish derogation must produce verifiable evidence that in 2013 they ‘produced, reared or grew agricultural products...’

  Council Regulation 1782/2003 confined the allocation of entitlements to farmers who received a direct payment in the period 2000-2002. In Ireland’s case this resulted in entitlements being allocated to farmers who were paid coupled support under the Suckler Cow Scheme, and/or the Special Beef Premium Scheme, and/or the Slaughter Premium Scheme, and/or the Ewe Premium Scheme and/or the Arable aid scheme. The farming of equines during this original reference period did not attract the allocation of entitlements under the Single Payment Scheme.

  A similar situation will apply under the new Basic Payment Scheme where the definition of agricultural activity or the production of agricultural products will be taken to apply to the Beef, Sheep and Arable sectors exclusively. As under the Single Payment Scheme, the farming of equines will on its own not form the basis for defining an active farmer nor qualify a person for an allocation of entitlements.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

 881. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a decision has been made on the review of a single farm payment over-claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13626/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A review of the land parcels declared by the person named under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme revealed that several of the land parcels declared by the person named contained ineligible features. As the person named applied for a review of my Department’s decision, a visit by a Department official to verify the position is necessary to resolve the matter. This verification visit will be conducted shortly and the applicant will be informed of the outcome of the visit as soon as is possible.

In the event that the person named is dissatisfied with the outcome of this verification check, the decision can be appealed to the independent LPIS Appeals Committee.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

 882. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a decision has been made on the review of a single farm payment over-claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13627/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A review of the land parcels declared by the person named under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme revealed that several of the land parcels declared by the person named contained ineligible features. As the person named applied for a review of my Department’s decision, a visit by a Department official to verify the position is necessary to resolve the matter. This verification visit will be conducted shortly and the applicant will be informed of the outcome of the visit as soon as is possible.

In the event that the person named is dissatisfied with the outcome of this verification check, the decision can be appealed to the independent LPIS Appeals Committee.

Inland Fisheries

 883. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney regarding his reassurances that his engineering division and the Irish Marine Institute were investigating the disaster that overtook a fish farm (details supplied) in County Cork more than six weeks ago, if he will provide the number of salmon contained in the fish farm before the disaster overtook it and the number of fish remaining subsequently.  [13634/14]

 884. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide information on the number of mortalities collected and stored in formic acid on barges in enclosed ensiling tanks after the disaster that overtook a fish farm (details supplied) in County Cork; and the licensed facility at which they were ultimately disposed of as required by his fish health management plan.  [13635/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 883 and 884 together.

  My Department’s Engineering Division together with the Marine Institute carried out a preliminary onsite examination of the aquaculture operations at the location referred to by the Deputy as soon as weather conditions permitted.

  The results of this preliminary examination suggest that the total number of salmon held on site in three cages immediately prior to the recent storm was in the order of 250,000. The number of live fish remaining after the storm event was in the order of 20,000.

  In accordance with the requirements of European Regulation No. 1069/2009 all aquaculture operators are obliged to send mortalities to Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine approved facilities for disposal (e.g. rendering, incineration). My Department’s Veterinary Inspectors carry out routine inspections to ensure compliance with these requirements.

  Due to the ongoing severe weather conditions that prevailed at the site up to recently no fish mortalities were collected. At the first available opportunity my Department arranged a dive inspection of the area and this took place on the 13th  March. The dive inspection indicated that there were no dead fish present. I am advised by the Marine Institute however, that where dead fish remain in the bottom of a cage for extended periods (i.e. more than a week or so) they decompose and the bodies of the fish disintegrate making any estimate of numbers difficult. In addition the effects of rough weather and scavengers feeding on the remains will tend to accelerate the disintegration process.

  My Department continues to keep the position under review.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

 885. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will make available copies of the Norwegian Standard for Containment Systems NS94152009 which the environmental impact statement for the Galway Bay fish farm states will be adhered to in that proposed operation, stating to view relevant sections of NS 9415 2009 See Appendix 3, when in fact the standard is not included in the Galway Bay EIS Appendix 3 or anywhere else in the EIS; if he will explain the way the public can assess the standards used for fish farm construction if the standards are not publicly available; and if he will confirm that these are the standards that are applied to all Irish licensed operations.  [13636/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) for an aquaculture licence for the cultivation of finfish near Inis Oirr in Galway Bay was received by my Department in 2012. The application and its accompanying Environmental Impact Statement are being considered under the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act and the 1933 Foreshore Act.

The assessment process will take full account of all national and EU legislative requirements and will reflect the full engineering, scientific, environmental, legal and public policy aspects of the application.

There is always a strict separation between my Ministerial role as decision maker in respect of aquaculture licence applications and my Ministerial duty to promote the sustainable development of the industry. This separation of duties is strictly observed.

As the application is under active consideration as part of the statutory process it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

Suckler Welfare Scheme Extension

 886. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans to pursue a suckler cow annual premium, specifically for farmers on the western seaboard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13644/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As part of the budget process for this year, I announced an investment package worth up to €40 million to suckler beef farmers in 2014. Among the measures in the investment package are €23 million for a Beef Genomics Scheme, €10 million for the Beef Data Programme, €5 million for the Beef Technology Adoption Programme and €2 million in residual payment under the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme. These measures are available to all suckler farmers throughout Ireland.

  In addition to these payments, farmers receive an annual Single Farm payment under Pillar I of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and farmers who operate in areas of natural difficulty also receive a Less Favoured Areas payment under Pillar II of the CAP. Many of these farms are located along the western seaboard.

  The supports in 2014 will be built upon as part of the Rural Development programme from 2015 onwards in which I am proposing a number of measures of interest to suckler farmers. These include:

-   a substantial new agri-environment/climate scheme (GLAS), which will build on the progress made under REPS and AEOS. This will provide for a maximum payment of €5,000 for up to 50,000 farmers, and a further payment of up to €2,000 for a limited number of farmers who take on particularly challenging actions,

-   continued strong support for disadvantaged areas (now Areas of Natural Constraint), to the tune of about €195 million per year,

-   incentives for on-farm capital investment,

-   knowledge transfer and innovation measures, aimed at underpinning farm viability, sustainability and growth through the adoption of best practice and innovative solutions, including the beef sector,

-   a beef data and genomics measure worth up to €52 million per year aimed at improving the genetic quality of the beef herd, and

-   other supports aimed at collaborative farming, artisan producers, organic farming, etc.

  Suckler farmers will be able to apply for any or all of these measures over the lifetime of the programme, as suits their particular enterprise, once the draft RDP has been approved. In keeping with the timelines agreed at EU level, it is intended to submit a draft of the new RDP to the European Commission in the second quarter of 2014. This draft will then form the basis for detailed discussions over a number of months with the European Commission.

Beef Industry

 887. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on the ICSA's call for a regulator to be appointed for the beef sector; his views that a regulator would go a long way in redressing the imbalance which currently exists in the anti-competitive beef sector, whereby farmers are actually losing money per head of every animal they finish; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13670/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  I am aware of the statement made by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) to the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on 4 March 2014. Matters related to regulation and competition such as this are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in the first instance. I would also suggest that if the Deputy has specific information on anti-competitive practices in the beef sector that he brings this to the attention of the Competition Authority.

My Department monitors the kill figures from Irish meat plants and I note that that slaughtering of bull beef in the first 11 weeks of 2014 (up to the week ending 16 March) stood at almost 65,000 head which represented an increased kill of almost 2,000 head (3%) over the same period in 2013. In addition the number of live cattle exported to the end of week 10 (week ending 9 March) is approximately 42,000 head which is up 6% over the same period in 2013. This is positive news and belies the perception that there has been a reduction in outlets for slaughter of bull beef or live exports. It should also be noted that Irish beef prices were 106% of the EU average R3 steer price in 2013 and notwithstanding recent fluctuations remain relatively high. The average price change over the first 10 weeks of this year for the benchmark R3 steer is an approximate 1.8% reduction but it must be remembered that it is common for prices to decrease slightly in the first quarter of any year.

In relation to the current difficulties between farmers and processors, the Deputy will appreciate that ultimately questions of price and market specification are matters to be determined between the purchasers and the sellers of cattle and it is neither appropriate nor possible for me to intervene directly on these issues. Nonetheless I met with both farmer representatives and processors recently to discuss the current situation. Following that interaction, I have called on the factories, in collaboration with the farming bodies, to resolve the various issues that have lately caused difficulties for some producers. At my request, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) member companies have kept their livestock offices open to deal with farmers with any particular queries or concerns on the marketing of their stock. MII member companies have made available contact details for each of their main plants to enable farmers to phone them directly.

The relationship between processors and farmers is an interdependent one. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of both sides working together to manage the type and volume of cattle being brought to market so that the supply chain does not undermine the viability of beef production systems for either winter finishers or suckler farmers. The current situation clearly underlines the need for industry operators to improve communication on market trends and signals throughout the supply chain and to address supply chain issues in such a context. An industry-led solution to the current uncertainty is essential to restoring confidence in the sector and I would encourage the various stakeholders to continue their efforts to reach a mutually acceptable outcome.

Rural Development Programme Funding

 888. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views that cattle and sheep farmers must be prioritised with regard to Pillar 2 funding allocation, which will be distributed as part of the next rural development programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13671/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As the Deputy will be aware, to support the beef sector I recently announced the operational details of an investment package worth up to €40m to beef farmers in 2014. Among the measures in this investment package are €23m for a Beef Genomics Scheme, €10m for the Beef Data Programme, €5m for the Beef Technology Adoption Programme and €2m in residual payments under the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme. The Government’s investment is a strong vote of confidence in the suckler beef sector. I also recently announced the extension of the Sheep Technology Adoption Programme (STAP) for a further year. In committing funding of €3m to the programme in 2014, I am acknowledging the success of the 2013 scheme in which 4,000 producers participated.

  These schemes exemplify the smart, green growth initiatives envisioned in the Food Harvest 2020 strategy and, coupled with additional support measures under the new Rural Development Programme, will underpin the development of a sustainable beef and sheep sector with long-term growth potential.

  While the final decisions have yet been made on the measures to be included in the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020, the new RDP will be a key support in enhancing the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, achieving more sustainable management of natural resources and ensuring a more balanced development of rural areas.

  I have recently published a consultation document on the new RDP, which sets out a range of proposed measures for inclusion.

  The main areas proposed for support in the new RDP are:

-   a substantial new agri-environment/climate scheme (GLAS), which will build on the progress made under REPS and AEOS. This will provide for a maximum payment of €5,000 for up to 50,000 farmers, and a further payment of up to €2,000 for a limited number of farmers who take on particularly challenging actions,

-   continued strong support for disadvantaged areas (now Areas of Natural Constraint), to the tune of about €195 million per year,

-   incentives for on-farm capital investment,

-   knowledge transfer and innovation measures, aimed at underpinning farm viability, sustainability and growth through the adoption of best practice and innovative solutions, including in the beef and sheep sectors,

-   a beef data and genomics measure worth up to €52 million per year aimed at improving the genetic quality of the beef herd, and

-   other supports aimed at collaborative farming, artisan producers, organic farming, etc.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

 889. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if an appropriate assessment has been set for aquaculture licence applications for Donegal Bay SAC; when he expects licence applications to be processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13672/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Appropriate Assessment in respect of Donegal Bay has been completed by the Marine Institute.

  My Department is currently examining the general licensing issues that arise for consideration as a result of the Appropriate Assessment. This process is ongoing and every effort is being made to expedite the determination of the relevant licence applications.

Ministerial Staff

 890. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of civil servants engaged in constituency work on his behalf; and the salaries, accommodation costs and expenses involved or associated with these duties. [13677/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney 3 Civil Servants (2.8 FTE) are engaged in constituency work on my behalf, with a total salary cost of €188,273.75, which includes employers PRSI, pension contributions and overheads. My Department does not incur any additional accommodation costs or expenses associated with these duties.

Forestry Grants

 891. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a decision will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13700/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The application by the person named was approved subject to conditions that included the removal of a plot from his application. He appealed against this part of the decision and his appeal is currently being processed. He will be notified of the outcome when the appeal has been determined.

Forestry Grants

 892. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding planting refusal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13706/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am arranging to have this matter reviewed within my Department. My officials will be in contact with the person named when this review is completed.

Food Industry Development

 893. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will outline the details of the discussions that took place recently with his Norwegian counterpart and Norwegian seafood companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13222/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF), which recently took place in Bergen, Norway, is the world’s biggest seafood investment conference attracting more than 600 industry seafood players from 35 countries. As the only EU Fisheries Minister to be invited to speak at this prestigious event I spoke to delegates about the importance of seafood for global food security and separately updated delegates on the new reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy which was negotiated to conclusion by the Irish Presidency in 2013.

In addition to my role as speaker at the event, I met with my Norwegian counterpart at the Conference Minister Monica Maeland. We discussed issues of common interest, including the then ongoing negotiations on North East Atlantic Mackerel which is of such importance to both countries.

I was also able, along with BIM, to meet with a number of seafood companies with a view to broadening and deepening cooperation to the mutual benefit of the Norwegian and Irish seafood sectors. Specifically, we explored opportunities for the Irish seafood processing industry and took the opportunity to learn more about Norway’s aquaculture industry and how it perceived the future development of the industry. A key focus throughout my discussions was on encouraging, wherever possible, new inward investment across the Irish seafood sector. I fully believe there will be considerable benefits for Ireland both from a job creation and investment perspective from my visit to the North Atlantic Seafood Forum.


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