Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (534)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

534. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an environmental impact assessment has been conducted for a shellfish aquaculture licence here in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; if so, the relevant licences; if an appropriate assessment was or was not required in respect of those licences; the non-shellfish aquaculture licence applications since 1 January 2015 for which an environmental impact statement was required to be submitted and for which an environmental impact assessment was conducted; the number of aquaculture licence applications received; the number of licences and renewals granted respectively since 1 January 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9315/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

It is assumed the Deputy is referring to Lough Swilly. In relation to shellfish cultivation, all relevant licence applications in the Lough underwent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening. Ministerial Determinations concerning this matter are available on my Department’s website at the following link:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/seafood/aquacultureforeshoremanagement/aquaculturelicensing/ministerialconsiderationofrequirementforanenvironmentalimpactstatement/donegal/

In the case of marine finfish cultivation, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is mandatory in all cases. During the period referred to by the Deputy my Department received one new licence application for the cultivation of finfish and one application for the renewal and review of an existing licence. The matter of an Appropriate Assessment does not arise as these applications are not situated in the Lough Swilly Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protection Area (SPA).

An Appropriate Assessment Report was completed in 2013 in respect of existing and proposed shellfish activities.

My Department has received two new licence applications for the cultivation of shellfish during the period in question. Applications in relation to twelve shellfish sites have been determined for Lough Swilly during the period referred to, of which two were refusals.