Aquaculture Licence Applications Data

Ceisteanna (534)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

534. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an environmental impact assessment has been conducted for a shellfish aquaculture licence here in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; if so, the relevant licences; if an appropriate assessment was or was not required in respect of those licences; the non-shellfish aquaculture licence applications since 1 January 2015 for which an environmental impact statement was required to be submitted and for which an environmental impact assessment was conducted; the number of aquaculture licence applications received; the number of licences and renewals granted respectively since 1 January 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9315/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

It is assumed the Deputy is referring to Lough Swilly. In relation to shellfish cultivation, all relevant licence applications in the Lough underwent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening. Ministerial Determinations concerning this matter are available on my Department’s website at the following link:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/seafood/aquacultureforeshoremanagement/aquaculturelicensing/ministerialconsiderationofrequirementforanenvironmentalimpactstatement/donegal/

In the case of marine finfish cultivation, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is mandatory in all cases. During the period referred to by the Deputy my Department received one new licence application for the cultivation of finfish and one application for the renewal and review of an existing licence. The matter of an Appropriate Assessment does not arise as these applications are not situated in the Lough Swilly Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protection Area (SPA).

An Appropriate Assessment Report was completed in 2013 in respect of existing and proposed shellfish activities.

My Department has received two new licence applications for the cultivation of shellfish during the period in question. Applications in relation to twelve shellfish sites have been determined for Lough Swilly during the period referred to, of which two were refusals.

Aquaculture Licence Applications Data

Ceisteanna (535)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

535. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of aquaculture installations operating in Lough Foyle; the number of these that are licensed by the State or by authorities in Northern Ireland respectively; the aquaculture installations in Lough Foyle for which an appropriate assessment has been undertaken by authorities here; the actions being taken to deal with unlicensed operations; the State's position regarding the tabling of the sensitive issue of Lough Foyle in the context of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9316/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Applications for Aquaculture licences are considered by my Department under the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act, and applicable EU Legislation.

In the case of Lough Foyle, Section 2 of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act disapplies the Act to the Moville Area, as it is defined in the Foyle Fisheries Act, 1952.

The Good Friday Agreement provided for the establishment of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC). This body is one of the six North South Implementation Bodies created under the Agreement. The Loughs Agency, as part of the FCILC, has been given responsibility for fisheries related matters in respect of both Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough and the legislation envisages that the Agency will enter into a management agreement with the relevant authorities in both jurisdictions with a view to assuming responsibility for aquaculture licensing within the loughs. Discussions in respect of the management agreement are ongoing.

The management of aquaculture and associated foreshore licensing functions in Lough Foyle gives rise to legal and jurisdictional complexities. Negotiations regarding the jurisdiction of the Lough Foyle area are, in the first instance, a matter for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

My Department organises and participates in an inter-departmental working group which is pursuing a way forward in terms of the future management of aquaculture and associated foreshore activities on Lough Foyle, in parallel with a workable resolution of the complex jurisdictional issues involved.

Aquaculture Licence Data

Ceisteanna (536)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

536. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of aquaculture installations operating in Lough Swilly; the number of these which are licensed here; the aquaculture installations in Lough Swilly for which an appropriate assessment has been undertaken by the authorities; the actions being taken to deal with unlicensed operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9317/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department’s records indicate that nine aquaculture sites are licensed to operate in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act. An Appropriate Assessment Report addressing the potential ecological impacts of aquaculture activities and fishing in and adjacent to the Lough Swilly Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA) was completed in 2013.

In addition, Screening Matrices were carried out for aquaculture activities located in the northern portion of the Lough which were outside the SAC/SPA and the qualifying features of same. These Reports are available on the Department’s website at the following link:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/seafood/aquacultureforeshoremanagement/aquaculturelicensing/appropriateassessmentsscreeningcarriedout/

It is unlawful to engage in aquaculture activity on State foreshore except in accordance with the provisions of the applicable national and EU legislation. My Department, in conjunction with its technical, scientific and legal advisers, investigates instances of unauthorised aquaculture activity in accordance with the applicable legislation as a matter of standard procedure.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (537)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

537. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 125 of 24 January 2018, the status of a GLAS payment for a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay; the solution that is being implemented by his department; when the payment will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9319/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016 and has received the 85% advance payment in respect of the 2016 scheme year.

There is an issue with this case due to the overdeclaration by the applicant of the LIPP action that resulted in the 2016 balancing payment and the 2017 advance payment being held. The case will be processed shortly. The 2016 balance payment will issue initially to be followed by the 2017 advance payment. GLAS payments continue to issue on a weekly basis.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (538)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

538. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the average time for the payment of BVD compensation to persons when all conditions regarding animal disposal are met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9327/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The closing date for receipt of applications in respect of support towards the early disposal of  PI calves born in 2017 was 6 February 2018. Work has already commenced to ensure payments are made to farmers as soon as possible.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (539)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

539. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) will receive a GLAS payment for 2017; the reason for the delay in issuing same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9330/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015 and has received full payments in respect of the 2015 and 2016 scheme years.

The 2017 advance payment has cleared validations in recent days and is expected to issue in the coming week.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (540)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

540. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 126 of 24 January 2018, the status of a GLAS payment for a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay in issuing same; the solution being implemented by his department; when the payment will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9331/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015 and has received full payments in respect of the 2015 and 2016 scheme years.

The Department is aware of an issue with this case that resulted in the 2017 advance payment being delayed. Once all validations are cleared the payment will issue. GLAS 2017 advance payments continue to issue on a weekly basis.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (541)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

541. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a GLAS payment for a person (details supplied); the reason the payment has not issued to date; when payment will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9336/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 3 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2017.

Validation checks must be passed on all actions on GLAS claims before payment can issue. An issue arose with this case during the validation process which has now been resolved. Payment is expected to issue in this case shortly. GLAS payments are continuing to issue on a weekly basis.

Fishing Industry

Ceisteanna (542, 551)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

542. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether fishermen benefit via financial incentives in partaking in schemes (details supplied); if not, the reason therefore; the persons who benefit; the way in which their participation contributes to their individual certification under the Bord Iascaigh Mhara responsibly sourced standard and Bord Bia’s origin green; and the way in which it benefits their fishing operations. [9388/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

551. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether the fishing for litter and net recycling initiatives benefit fishermen via financial incentives in partaking in schemes (details supplied); if not, the reason therefore; the persons that benefit; the way in which their participation contributes to their individual certification under the Bord Iascaigh Mhara responsibly sourced standard and Bord Bia’s origin green; and the way in which this benefits their fishing operations. [9550/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 542 and 551 together.

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 15 schemes, including the Sustainable Fisheries Scheme.

Funding of €250,000 has been provided to Bord Iascaigh Mhara in 2016 and 2017 under the EMFF Sustainable Fisheries Scheme for the Fishing for Litter project.  This is jointly funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.  This project is designed to recover marine litter and reduce the amount of waste fishing gear going to landfill. It is also intended to raise awareness in the fishing industry of the negative impact such waste can have on the marine environment.

Through the Fishing for Litter project, fishing ports and fishermen have been actively recovering marine litter as well as better managing waste, both on board and ashore. This is done on a voluntary basis and while fishermen are not paid directly for their participation, they are supplied with large hardwearing bags in which they can collect marine litter that accumulates in their fishing gear as part of their normal fishing operations, as well as their own waste that they generate during fishing trips. Filled bags are returned to the quayside in participating ports and moved to secure containers ready for safe and responsible disposal. Specific waste facilities are provided at the participating fishing ports into which fishermen can deposit their waste free of charge. In 2017, around 50 trawlers in 9 ports - Clogherhead, Castletownbere, Ross A Mhil, Killybegs, Greencastle, Kinsale, Dunmore East and Dingle and Union Hall - participated in the project. As part of this project novel waste management technologies are being tested on board vessels.

In addition, since 2005, BIM has been working with industry on the recycling of old fishing gear.  A total of 400 tonnes of nylon netting has been successfully recycled. During 2016 and 2017, BIM assisted by my Department, Donegal County Council, Wexford County Council, Clogherhead Development Group and several other private companies, cleared the stockpiles of old fishing gear that had built up over the years in various ports and prepared this for recycling. A total of 187 tonnes of bulk material was removed from the ports in counties Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Louth, of which 100 tonnes consisted of valuable polyethylene netting that has been readied for recycling.

BIM’s Responsibly Sourced Seafood (RSS) standard compliments Origin Green. In developing Origin Green plans, seafood companies set targets around their raw material sourcing and reduction of their environmental impacts, including waste management. As part of each plan, companies are asked to source from suppliers with recognised certifications such as the Responsibly Sourced Seafood Fishing Vessel Standard or broader sustainability measures. The RSS system provides an accredited, independently certified raw material supply source as part of these plans.  Individual certification to the RSS requires applicants to demonstrate compliance, awareness and understanding of the waste management procedures in their harbour centre or port. This benefits their fishing operations by assuring that fishermen are fishing responsibly and are committed to reducing their impacts on the marine environment.

Fishing Industry Data

Ceisteanna (543)

James Browne

Ceist:

543. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of seed mussels Northern Ireland and UK registered boats fished in the Irish Sea in territorial waters in each of the years 2003 to 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9416/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) is statutorily responsible for the collation of data on catch and landing records for sea-fisheries including the mussel seed fishery. The SFPA is independent in the performance of its functions.

I will forward the Deputy’s question to the SFPA for attention as appropriate.

Suckler Cow Quota

Ceisteanna (544)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

544. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of suckler farmers in south-west areas of County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9449/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Deputy should note that there are various definitions available of a ‘suckler cow’. Data from the AIM system below is based on the definition of a beef cow which has calved at least once in its lifetime. Furthermore, many farmers with suckler cows have another main enterprise on their farms, and so would not be defined as predominantly ‘suckler farmers’.

Bearing in mind those caveats, my Department’s Animal Identification System (AIM) records all births, movements and disposals in accordance with EU requirements. The AIM system reports data on the bovine herds on a county basis. According to the AIM system as of the 31st of December 2017 there were 5,372 herds in County Cork as a whole that had at least one beef cow in their herd, which had calved at least once in its lifetime. Note that these figures may be revised when the Department publishes the AIM annual Bovine Statistics Report in March.  

I am keenly aware of the importance of the suckler sector to Ireland's rural economy and the wider agri-food industry. The sector is an integral component to the overall vitality and continued strength of beef farming in rural Ireland. My Department currently provides a range of income and investment supports to suckler farmers, including direct payments and grant schemes such as BPS, ANC, GLAS and TAMS, as well as the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).

TAMS Payments

Ceisteanna (545)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

545. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the low emission slurry spreading scheme grant is open to farm contractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9455/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

TAMS payments are provided for under Article 17 (2) of EU Reg 1305/2013 which specifies that "support shall be granted to farmers or groups of farmers". This precludes payments to contractors as they are classified as non-farmers.

The  LESS Scheme is open to farmers who:

1. hold a Department identified

2. have a minimum of 5 hectares which have been declared under the Basic Payment Scheme, Single Farm Payment Scheme in the year of application or preceding year, or

3. are engaged in the breeding, rearing or fattening of pigs and have a minimum of 60 production units at the time of application

The Scheme has proved very successful to date with over 930 approvals issued to farmers.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (546)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

546. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payments will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9464/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 3 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2017.

Validation checks must be passed on all actions on GLAS claims and all cases must clear these checks before payment can be made. An issue arose during the processing of this case which has now been resolved.  The 2017 advance will be paid shortly.  GLAS payments are continuing to issue on a weekly basis.