As Bord Iascaigh Mhara, BIM, is an independent statutory agency, the internal financial management is a matter for the board exclusively and the Minister does not have a role in it.
In 2009 BIM showed a total spend of €37.240 million, comprised of bi-monthly drawdowns totalling €34.932 million, a figure of €2.683 million brought forward from 2008 less €375,000 carried forward to 2010.
The revised Bord Iascaigh Mhara 2009 budget allocation amounted to a total of €40.8 million, comprising €17.2 million in current allocation and €23.7 million in capital allocation. In 2009 Bord Iascaigh Mhara achieved current savings of €2.4 million and the agency advises me that the savings were achieved through a reduction in the use of consultancies and contractors, legal and professional fees and travel, planning and communication costs. This reduction in spending was in response to the Government's efforts to reduce reliance on consultancies, contractors, external providers and measures to become as self-sufficient as possible using central, shared or managed services and procurements frameworks. BIM also advises that capital savings of €3.5 million resulted mainly from the delay in the adoption of the national seafood operating programme and also through information technology and training expenditure reductions. The level of savings was also achieved by ensuring that the operating surplus carried forward into 2010 was reduced to the lowest possible amount.
Following a European Court of Justice judgment in December 2007 that Ireland was not in compliance with certain obligations under the EU birds and habitats directives, my Department and its agencies worked with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to develop a plan to deliver compliance with the directives for wild fisheries and aquaculture over a determined timeframe. This plan was submitted to the Directorate-General for the Environment for consideration and has been subject to detailed discussions. While the Directorate-General had indicated that it was in principle supportive of the plan, it has recently advised that it remains concerned about certain aspects of the planned approach to delivering compliance for aquaculture licensing. I will continue to work with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to address outstanding concerns.
In that regard, €1 million was secured for the collection of baseline data for assessment purposes in 2009 and a further €750,000 for 2010 in addition to funding provided by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Following an EU tender, the Marine Institute appointed personnel to operate the data collection exercise. This process is ongoing and will support compliance of aquaculture and wild fisheries with the terms of the directives.
I met Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Conor Lenihan, on the issue of sea lice on several occasions, most recently last November. I advised him on the significant progress that has been made on managing sea lice levels in salmon farms and the concerns of the fishery boards were also outlined. I am hopeful there is a better understanding of the issues involved from both Departments' perspectives and that on this basis we can find a satisfactory resolution to the concerns raised.
The first set of guidelines on corporate governance in State bodies, entitled State Bodies Guidelines, was issued by the Department of Finance in March 1992 and updated in October 2001. To take account of recent developments and consultations the Department of Finance issued an updated version of the code in 2009. The new code requires all State bodies to operate in an efficient and cost effective manner in order to make the most of constrained resources. With this objective in mind the board of BIM reduced the surplus of €2.7 million brought forward from 2008 to €300,000 carried forward from 2009 to 2010.