Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (555)

Clare Daly

Question:

555. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the density of fish per cage necessary to qualify for organic status; and the evidence provided that this is complied with by salmon farmers before organic status is granted. [26678/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 lays down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control. The density of fish per cage to qualify for organic status is stipulated in Annex XIIIa of the above regulation and can be found in the attachment provided.

When applying for the award of Organic status and before an organic licence is granted to an Organic Salmon Farmer, a report form must be completed which requires the applicant to record the stocking density per cage. As part of the certification process an inspection is carried out by the Organic Control Body to verify the stocking density per cage which appears on the application. The fish are placed in separate cages based on their age. The stocking density is verified by using the age of the fish and the anticipated weight rate gain and the size of the cage to work out the stocking density. If the inspector is satisfied that the Organic farming practices meet the organic regulatory requirements, a recommendation is made to grant a licence to the operator concerned.

The granting of the licence must be approved by the Certificate Panel in the Organic Control Body. If the inspector has any concerns following the inspection or if any paperwork was not supplied to the Control Body then the licence will not be granted until the Certificate Panel is satisfied. As part of the application process the applicant must provide the planned stocking density for the following year.

An annual inspection is subsequently carried out by the Organic Control Body concerned. Detailed records must be maintained by the applicant which include the details of inputs/output and mortality rate. These records are examined and verified as part of the annual inspection process to ensure that all regulatory requirements including stocking density are adhered to.

Annex XIIIa