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Written Answers - Fisheries Protection

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 755 No. 1

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 26.  Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  the way he plans to police the licensing of mussel farming; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7078/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Mussel farming is regulated in accordance with the provisions of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997.

Key features of the process are examination of each application by key scientific and technical advisors to my Department, Environmental Impact Assessment pre-screening, written consultation with statutory and non-statutory consultees and a period of general public consultation. In addition, following Ministerial determination in respect of the application, the process provides for an appeal by any party to the independent Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board.

Matters considered in reaching a licensing determination include potential impacts on safety and navigation; suitability of waters; other beneficial users; likely effects on the economy; statutory status of the area; ecological impacts on wild fisheries, natural habitats, flora and fauna. In the case of areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation and/or Special Protection Areas for birds there is an additional process of Appropriate Assessment in respect of flora, fauna and birds to ensure compliance with EU and national legislation governing these areas.

Once a licence is granted, the licensed site is subject to ongoing inspections by my Department’s Engineers and the Marine Institute in accordance with their technical and scientific roles.

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