BIM chief executive Jim O'Toole says the salmon industry is most effectively served by the agency identifying suitable offshore sites. Photo: BIM

Ireland offers salmon farm on a plate

Ireland’s seafood development agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), has said the scientific research and data which it compiled when identifying an organic salmon farm site will be offered to aquaculture operators to pursue an application for a licence for the site.
Author: Editors

BIM has prospected and identified a suitable salmon farm site off Inishdalla, south east of Inishturk Island, County Mayo. The scientific analysis of the site recommended a farm with an average biennial output of 4,000 tonnes which had the potential to create significant direct and indirect employment.

BIM has identified a site for a salmon farm off Inishdalla. Photo: Wikipedia

BIM is offering the expert technical data required for the licence application to interested commercial operators. This consists of an Environmental Impact Assessment including both Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement.

Supporting licence applicants

The agency’s chief executive, Jim O’Toole, said: “BIM’s role is to support the development of aquaculture in Ireland and we are focusing on attracting investment into this high growth sector. Following a review of our approach to developing the sector, we believe the industry is most effectively served by BIM deploying its technical expertise to identify suitable offshore sites and supporting aquaculture applications by commercial operators. We will take an enhanced role in supporting licence applicants to enable them to become successful.”

BIM is now developing a formal tendering process which will seek structured offers from the commercial salmon farming sector. The agency is continuing its engagement with the community on Inishturk Island to ensure that the islanders who have been supportive of the development are kept involved in the process.

Community employment

“BIM enjoys a long standing and positive relationship with the community on Inishturk and the Island’s local development committee has welcomed the development of a salmon farm. With that in mind, BIM is engaging with the local community to ensure that the criteria for the sale of the asset will include community employment and community gain proposals,” said Mr O’Toole.

“BIM sees this as a positive development for the aquaculture sector in Ireland. Providing the necessary technical data for an aquaculture licence to a commercial operator is an approach which I think will be very effective in allowing BIM to focus on what it does best supporting the industry operators to identify and develop suitable aquaculture site needed to grow the sector,” he concluded.

The expansion of salmon farming in Ireland has been held back by red tape, something the industry and the authorities are now seeking to change. No new fish farm licences were issued for a decade because of official delays, particularly over Natura sites, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas designated under the EU Habits and Birds Directives.

Published: 03/10/2017 at 9:03 am

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