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News Roundup for the Week

AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT IN SEVEN COUNTIES

Fifteen aquaculture companies in seven counties – Galway, Donegal, Slio, Kerry, Waterford, Mayo and Cork are undertaking expansion with a total investment of over €3m., with the Department of Marine through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme providing grants of €1.2m.

The new Marine Minister Barry Cowen said the investments are aimed at “boosting production at oyster, mussel and salmon sites around our coast. It is heartening to see this continuing confidence in the future by these ambitious aquaculture enterprises. While recent months were challenging for many aquaculture businesses, the overall trend has been one of growing world demand for our seafood products.”

As SMEs, most of the aquaculture businesses received grants of 40% towards the cost of their investments, with one non-SME receiving 30%, a new entrant to the sector receiving 50% and one investment in organic certification also receiving 50%. The grants are co-funded by the Government and the European Union.

MARINE INSTITUTE DETECTS INCREASED TOXINS

Routine shellfish monitoring by the Marine Institute along South West and West coasts has detected increased levels of naturally occurring toxins compounds in recent weeks. Such levels are common at this time of the year and are due to microscopic phytoplankton species blooming in coastal waters during the warmer and longer days of summer, the institute says.

Commercial shellfish businesses in affected areas have been closed temporary in the interest of public safety — though safe alternatives are available from other parts of the country through approved suppliers. The public has been warned against recreational gathering of shellfish such as mussels, clams, cockles or oysters over increased levels of illness-causing toxins

Toxins can accumulate in filter feeding shellfish and can make people ill, even if the shellfish is cooked, the Institute says. The Manager of the Marine Institute’s shellfish safety programme, Dave Clarke, said: “e operate a world class-shellfish safety programme to ensure food safety prior to harvesting. This sophisticated monitoring programme is designed to protect the consumer and ensure the highest quality of Irish shellfish on international and home markets. This summer, so far, has seen high levels of toxic phytoplankton and toxins in shellfish requiring temporary closures until the problem abates. It is stressed, however, that these only affect shellfish. Swimming and other coastal recreations are not affected

WIND FARM CONSULTATION EXTENDED

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Public is to be merged with Transport under Minister Eamon Ryan. It has been announced that the public consultation it has organised on developing a network of offshore wind farms to meet Ireland’s climate targets has been extended by three weeks. Complaints had been made that the time allowed for response to the Department’s proposals had been too short.

MARINE INSTITUTE CHAIRMAN ELECTED CHAIR OF RNLI IRELAND

Galwayman John Killeen has been Chairman of Irish Lifeboats. He is also a member of the main board of the the RNLI. He is also Chairman of the Marine Institute, based in Galway, being appointed for a second five-year term last year.

ROSSLARE EUROPORT €30m.TRANSFORMATION

Rosslare Europort is to undergo a major transformation. Iarnród Éireann, the Port Authority, is to apply next week for planning approval for a €30m. “strategic investment” to be carried out over the next five years.

“It will ensure that Rosslare will be equipped with the capacity, facilities and technology to facilitate major growth for the benefit of the region and the wider national economy,” says Iarnród Éireann, noting that “Rosslare Europort is the closest port to the UK and mainland Europe and offers numerous daily/weekly direct Services to the UK, France and Spain.”

Major changes in the port will be:
• New configuration of the port aligned to maximise future growth and support regional and national development
• Significant new facilities and infrastructure to develop Rosslare Europort to its full potential as Irelands gateway port to the UK and Europe
• Design and develop a sustainable, seamless and ‘Smart Port’ that will be best in class internationally
• The development will be completed over a number of phases over a five-year timeframe to enable the port continue to operate all services and activity during construction.