Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (557)

Clare Daly

Question:

557. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if, in view of the complaints in Scotland that the Government there has been too close to the salmon industry, he will cease perceived conflicts of interest in his Department by which responsibility for the development of the industry and its regulation reside with the marine division. [26680/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Department has five distinct Marine Divisions. These are - the Sea Fisheries Administration Division, the Sea Fisheries Policy & Management Division, the Marine Programmes Division, the Marine Engineering Division and the Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division. The marine related policy functions which fall under the aegis of this Department are managed in accordance with relevant applicable legislation and are located within a number of separate Divisions (as specified above) within the Department.

The Marine Agencies Governance Unit, located within the Sea Fisheries Policy & Management Division of my Department, is responsible for corporate governance oversight of the following marine agencies - Marine Institute (MI), Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the independent Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board (ALAB). The oversight role of the Department in this respect is to ensure that each of the marine agencies is and remains compliant with the revised code of practice for the Governance of state bodies (2016).

Aquaculture policy is within the remit of the Marine Programmes Division, a separate Division to the Division that is responsible for corporate governance. Aquaculture licence applications are considered by the Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division of the Department in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable EU legislation. The legislation provides for a period of statutory and general public consultation in respect of every application. Decisions on applications are made following the fullest consideration of all environmental, technical, legislative and public interest aspects of each application.

In addition, it is open to any member of the public to appeal the Minister’s decision to the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB), an independent authority for the determination of appeals against decisions of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine on aquaculture licence applications. A person aggrieved by a decision of the Minister on an aquaculture licence application, or by the revocation or amendment of an aquaculture licence, may make an appeal within one month of publication (in the case of a decision) or notification (in the case of revocation/amendment). The secretariat of the board is located in Kilminchy Court Dublin Road Portlaoise Co. Laois. Email: info@alab.ie

The regulation of aquaculture is managed by my Department in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable EU legislation.

As referred to above, my Department operates five distinct Marine Divisions dealing with the various marine policy functions assigned to it and I am satisfied that the issue of any conflict of interest does not arise.