Irish appeals board delays decision on huge Marine Harvest site

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The company will have to wait until 2019 to get a decision despite originally applying in 2011.

The Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) in Ireland was due to make a decision on the application by this October, having signalled last December that it would request a string of new reviews in relation to the proposed development off Shot Head according to the Irishexaminer site.

The company made an application for aquaculture and foreshore licences in January 2012, with a view to investing €3.5million in a new salmon farm site at Shot Head, Bantry Bay, southern Ireland.

However now the ALAB said it could be June 30, 2019, before a decision is reached and a new environmental impact statement may have to be taken.

Appeal
An appeal was lodged with ALAB following the granting by the Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine of aquaculture and foreshore licences to Braden Farad Teo, trading as Marine Harvest of Fanad, Co Donegal. A group of local residents also object to Marine Harvest’s proposed site.

In an email to SalmonBusiness, Jan Feenstra, Marine Harvest Ireland managing director, said:

“While respecting ALAB’s mandate and independence, Marine Harvest Ireland (MHI) wishes to place on record its disappointment that a final decision still hasn’t been reached on an application which the company originally applied for, to the Department of Agriculture in 2011.

“Seven years later, we are told that the decision won’t be taken until the middle of next year at the earliest. It sends out a very negative message to the Irish aquaculture sector and doesn’t provide any of the certainty which is necessary for those seeking to invest and create employment in the industry. Those who end up bearing the brunt of this inaction and suffering most, are our workers who don’t have the certainty and security of regular work because we cannot grow enough fish.”

Bottlenecks
The managing director voiced his concerns saying that ‘the Minister for Agriculture has been asked to address the serious bottlenecks in the aquaculture licencing system in an independent report commissioned by his own Department which was published in May 2017. MHI and IFA have asked the Minister to implement the recommendations of the report to break the never-ending cycle of unnecessary delays.”

Furthermore he added, “as it stands, ALAB is quite obviously under-resourced. It needs to be given adequate resources to do its job especially with the Minister putting further work its way by making promises about clearing the backlog of licence applications and committing to the issuance of 300 shellfish licences both this year and next.”

Mr Feenstra added that Marine Harvest had €22million earmarked for investment in Irish sites which would create 250 jobs in rural, coastal locations. He also said that “Ireland’s failure to meet aquaculture targets set out in various Government strategy documents will result in lost income of €1.3billion by 2020 if no tangible, progressive action is taken by the Department.”