Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (712)

Pádraig MacLochlainn


712. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress his Department has made since he became Minister towards the establishment of a producer organisation for smaller Irish fishing vessels in the inshore fleet, given that it is a commitment in the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2825/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Programme for Government – Our Shared Future, commits to supporting the inshore fishing fleet in generating greater marketing and promotional capacity, by facilitating the establishment of a Producer Organisation for these smaller fishing vessels, thereby providing additional opportunity for the island and coastal communities involved in the inshore sector. My Department, as Competent Authority in Ireland for recognition of EU Producer Organisations in the seafood sector, facilitates the establishment of Producer Organisations, but it is a matter for individual groups of producers in the fisheries or aquaculture sectors to organise and apply for that recognition.

In April 2020, I published revised Irish Recognition Criteria under the EU CMO Regulation to be satisfied by any Irish group of producers seeking recognition as a seafood Producer Organisation. One of the main drivers for this revision was to better facilitate groups of inshore fishers and groups of aquaculture enterprises in achieving recognition as a Producer Organisation.

Producer Organisation status has many advantages, including better negotiating strength in the market for producers, financial supports under my Department’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme and certain protections under EU competition law.

In 2020, my Department received two applications from groups of inshore fishers seeking recognition as Producer Organisations. My Department is awaiting further information from the applicants to allow me to make a final determination on the applications within the three month time period specified in the CMO Regulation.

To further assist groups of producers in attaining Producer Organisation status, in 2020, I introduced new financial supports under my Department’s EMFF Programme, making available to groups of producers seeking recognition grants for IT equipment, office furniture, legal, accountancy and other relevant professional advice, website development costs and costs of room hire etc.