Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (597)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

597. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 798 of 11 June 2013, if he will provide in tabular form the 91 bays-estuaries subject to appropriate assessment under EU rules; the current stage of the assessment for each bay-estuary; the likely timeframe for the completion of the assessment in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31636/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The table lists the ninety one bays/estuaries subject to the Appropriate Assessment process under the EU Birds/Habitats Directives. In excess of 200 marine sites have been designated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under the EU Habitats Directive and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the EU Birds Directive (‘Natura 2000’ sites). Multiple ‘Natura 2000’ sites are located in some bays and some sites are located offshore and not associated with any particular bay.

The European Court of Justice declared in case C418/04 that, by failing to take all the measures necessary to comply with Article 6(3) of Directive 92/43 (Habitats Directive) in respect of authorisation of aquaculture programmes, Ireland had failed to fulfil its obligations under that Directive.

In the negotiations to address the judgment a process was agreed with the European Commission which would lead to full compliance by Ireland with the relevant EU Directives. This process includes the following steps:

- a detailed data collection in 91 Bays/Estuaries

- detailed analysis of raw data collected

- setting of Conservation Objectives by NPWS in respect of each ‘Natura 2000’ site

- carrying out Appropriate Assessments (by the Marine Institute, on behalf of the Department) on each licence application/fishery plan against the detailed Conservation Objectives set, and

- determination of Licences/Fisheries on the basis of the Appropriate Assessment and other relevant factors.

The data collection programme is substantially complete. Analysis of the data, together with the setting of appropriate conservation objectives by the NPWS, enables all new, renewal and review applications to be appropriately assessed for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. This work represents a significant financial, administrative and scientific investment by the State in resolving this issue.

Conservation Objectives had been set for over forty ‘Natura 2000’ sites and Appropriate Assessments are being progressed taking account of the need to facilitate the use of scientific and other resources on a flexible basis across the full range of bays. At present, Appropriate Assessments have been carried on four bays (Castlemaine Harbour, Dundalk Bay, Roaringwater Bay and Lough Swilly). The first aquaculture licence determinations in respect of ‘Natura 2000’ sites have recently been made with over 40 licence determinations being made in respect of applications located in Castlemaine Harbour SAC/SPA.

In parallel with the work done in relation to ‘Natura 2000’ sites significant progress was made in 2012 on licensing in non-Natura areas. 115 licence determinations were made in 2012 and depending on the availability of Appropriate Assessments and other measures it is expected that overall determinations well in excess of this figure will be possible in 2013.

Addressing the issue of aquaculture licensing in Natura 2000 areas is a key priority for my Department and the Deputy can be assured that every effort is being made to expedite the completion of the overall process having regard to all the complexities involved.

Castlemaine Harbour

Tralee Bay

North Dublin Bay

Roaringwater Bay

Ballysadare Bay

Carlingford Lough

Blacksod/Broadhaven

Blaskets

Glengarriff Harbour

Lough Swilly

Boyne Estuary

Duvillaun Islands

Clew Bay

Carnsore Point

River Nanny Estuary

Kenmare River

Cumeen Strand

Inishboffin and Inishark

Dungarvan Harbour

Drumcliff Bay

Inishkea Islands

Wexford Harbour

Gweedore Bay and Islands

Horn Head and Rinclevan

Dundalk Bay

Hook Head

Achill

Wicklow Reef

Kerry Head

Baldoyle Bay

Wicklow Head

Kilkieran Bay and Islands

Ballymacoda

Waterford Estuary

Killala Bay/Moy Estuary

Ballyness Bay

Tramore Backstrand

Malahide Estuary

Ballyteigue Burrow

Long Bank

Shannon Estuary

Barleycove

Bannow Bay

Broadmeadow/Swords Estuary

Blackhead

Blackwater Estuary

Mulroy Bay

Bunduff Lough

Donegal Bay

Rutland Island and Sound

Carrowmore

Galway Bay

Saltee Islands

Clonakilty Bay

Inner Galway Bay

Slyne Head and Islands

Courtmacsherry

Trawbreaga Bay

Valencia Harbour/Portmagee Channel

Connemara Bog Complex

North Inishowen

Bull Island

Great Island Channel

Cork Harbour

Inisheer Island

Inishmaan Island

Kilkee

Ladys Island

Lambay Island

Lough Hyne

Rathlin O’Birne Island

Rogerstown Estuary

Sheephaven

Slieve League

Slieve Tooey

South Dublin Bay

St. Johns Point

Streedagh Point

Tory Island

Tranarossan & Melmore Lough

West of Ardara/Maas Road

Ballycotton Bay

Ballycotton Bay

Lough Foyle

Mid Clare Coast

Ballinskelligs Bay and Inny Estuary

Mannin Bay

Slaney R. Valley

The Raven Spa

Raven Point Nature Reserve

River Barrow and River Nore

Question No. 598 answered with Question No. 593.