My Department is obliged in its role as competent authority under EU Regulation 1379/2013 on the Common Organisation of the Market in Fishery and Aquaculture products (CMO) to ensure that an application for recognition as a fisheries or aquaculture Producer Organisation complies with the requirements of Article 14 of the CMO Regulation.
One of those requirements set out in paragraph 1(b) of article 14 requires that an applicant must be "sufficiently economically active in the territory of the Member State concerned or a part thereof, in particular as regards the number of members or the volume of marketable production". This requirement is expressed in broad terms in the Regulation and so requires definition or elaboration by each Member State, in accordance with its national policies or local circumstances, via national recognition criteria. Each Member State has adopted such national recognition criteria for this purpose.
Ireland has previously adopted national recognition criteria for the purpose of implementing a similar requirement of the previous CMO Regulation. Those national recognition criteria were not rescinded or replaced by any new criteria since Regulation 1379/2013 came into force, and so, they remain the adopted criteria in Ireland.
The organisation in question submitted an application for recognition as a Fishery Producer Organisation earlier this year. Following an evaluation of the information provided by the organisation to support the application, my Department declined recognition as the application did not show that the organisation meets the above mentioned mandatory criteria.
My Department is presently preparing proposals for a possible revision of the mandatory criteria for recognition and I hope to publish these for public consultation shortly. However, for now, any application for recognition must be decided on the basis of the national recognition criteria currently in place.
It is open to the organisation to submit a new application when it is satisfied that it meets current recognition criteria or any future recognition criteria that may be introduced following the process outlined above.