Written Answers. - Seafood Processing.

David Stanton

Question:

172 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 137 of 28 November 2000, the integrated strategy to enhance the profitability and performance of the seafood processing sector has been finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8174/01]

Last month I launched the commissioned report on future directions for the seafood processing sector and I have arranged for a copy of the report to be forwarded to the Deputy. This report, which was carried out in full consultation with the industry, sets out strategies to address the key challenges facing the sector and to develop the industry over the short to medium term. The report is guiding formulation of the overall strategy for investment support measures for the sector under the NDP. Key challenges identified in the study include strategies for improving the competitive position of seafood products on international markets, the scale of the industry, value added and research and development priorities, the consistency of raw material supply and capacity utilisation within the sector.

Under the national development plan, £25 million in grant aid, leading to total investment of some £100 million, will support the further development of seafood processing to build a competitive, value added capability of scale to the highest quality and technological standards.
Work on investment schemes based on the findings and recommendations of the independent study is under way by my Department in consultation with Enterprise Ireland, BIM and Údarás na Gaeltachta. I expect that the drafting of schemes will be completed within the next month at which stage EU state aid approval will be sought for the investment measures. I will announce details of the scheme shortly thereafter.