Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (755)

Catherine Martin

Question:

755. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to concerns that seaweed harvesting rights may be granted to international undertakings potentially threatening the livelihood of indigenous companies; the measures he is putting in place to protect the long term health of seaweed stocks, the potential for local employment and the sustainability of the marine environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10066/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Under the Foreshore Act 1933, I have responsibility for regulating the harvesting of wild seaweed. I have no statutory role in the promotion or development of the seaweed industry.

A number of applications to harvest wild seaweed along the west coast are on hand in my Department. During the course of assessing these applications, it became clear that certain rights to harvest seaweed exist. My Department is in the process of ascertaining, with the assistance of the Attorney General, the legal interface and relationship between these traditional harvesting rights and the current applications.

These applications, most of which are by companies, are effectively on hold until such time as my Department is in a position to bring clarity to the regulatory regime applying to the harvesting of wild seaweed. At that point the applications on hand will come before me for determination. Work on this complex legal issue is continuing and I hope to have made substantial progress on the matter in the second quarter of this year.