“We cannot satisfy the market demand for our product”

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In an interview, Mowi Ireland managing director Jan Feenstra said that the salmon farmer may be forced to move if things didn’t change. “The lack of action to modernise the licencing regime here both disappointing and very frustrating,” he added.

Despite Mowi being a top supplier of organic Irish salmon, the industry cannot grow. That’s the sentiment at Mowi Ireland where authorities have not given out a salmon farming licence in 11 years.

To compare, 10,000 tonnes will be produced in Ireland this year, while Mowi’s largest site in Norway alone is at 15,000 tonnes.

Feenstra said in the Independent.ie that: “new licences need to be progressed, and existing licences need to be renewed in a certain timeframe,” and bemoaned the current system which takes eight years to grant a salmon farming licence.

Salmon farming site in Mulroy bay, Co. Donegal. PHOTO Mowi Ireland

He added that Mowi Ireland may move elsewhere and pull its EUR 22m capital investment programme if the current system doesn’t change.

How realistic is the threat of Mowi pulling out of Ireland? 

In a statement to SalmonBusiness, a Mowi spokesperson said:

“Mowi is fully committed to its Irish operations but finds the lack of action to modernise the licencing regime here both disappointing and very frustrating. This is preventing the industry from reaching anything near its full potential and thereby depriving rural coastal locations of jobs and investment.

“This inaction is handing a competitive advantage to other companies in markets developed by the Irish Industry since we cannot satisfy the market demand for our product due to the inordinate delays in securing licences and obtaining renewals to grow fish. We have met and conveyed this message to both the Minister and his officials at regular intervals for many years.

“While this situation is wholly regrettable, it can ultimately only be resolved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine,” it added.