Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Questions (449)

Éamon Ó Cuív


449. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to provide compensation to mussel fishermen (details supplied) who suffered a loss of stock and equipment due to storms in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20873/18]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am assuming that the Deputy is referring to rope mussel farmers in Killary Harbour.

My Department's €240 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme is the vehicle for financial supports to the seafood sector up to 2021. The Programme delivers a wide range of supports for aquaculture, fisheries and seafood processing through a suite of 17 schemes. I have made very considerable funds available to the seafood sector in 2018 through a range of EMFF schemes. In doing so, I secured a very significant commitment from the Exchequer to the EMFF Programme. However, this means that there are no other sources of funds available to me, other than the EMFF, to assist the sector with any support requirements.

The EMFF Regulation (508/2014) restricts supports to aquaculture operators to cover economic losses due to severe storms to a contribution to aquaculture stock insurance under article 57. Under this article insurance supports can be made available to aquaculture producers to safeguard their income and cover economic losses due to natural disasters and climatic events. During the course of preparation of Ireland's EMFF Programme in 2014/15, a lengthy public and stakeholder consultation process was undertaken. The stock insurance provision was not included among the priorities selected for funding under the Programme. The priorities identified and included in the programme were capital investment in aquaculture sites and innovation, research and advice to develop technology, improve disease management and enhance animal husbandry.