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IFA Welcomes Covid-19 Support

IFA Aquaculture Chairman, Michael Mulloy, has welcomed the announcement made to the IFA Aquaculture AGM onThursday by Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue that there is to be a Covid-19 financial support scheme for rope mussel and oyster farmers.

"The impact of the Covid-19 crisis has been significant on the Irish Aquaculture sector. Shellfish have been particularly affected due to market uncertainty. IFA Aquaculture lobbied at EU level for amendments to rules for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), introduced in April 2020. We welcome the announcement from Minister McConalogue of a Covid-19 Aquaculture Support Scheme for the Irish shellfish producer".

Announcing the new support scheme, Minister McConalogue said, “Rope mussel and oyster farmers were significantly impacted in the first half of 2020 by the market access and price difficulties caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic. While these issues eased as the first wave of the Pandemic passed, the impacts of lost sales and production left a lasting financial burden on these aquaculture enterprises. Rope mussel farmers suffered a 34% fall in sales between February and June, while oyster farmers suffered a sales drop of 59%. The continued viability of these SME enterprises is jeopardised by these unprecedented shocks to their businesses, with many struggling to cover their fixed costs and to fund the cost of purchasing seed to grow their next crops.”

Minister McConalogue added, “I am announcing today a special support scheme for these oyster and rope mussel producers that will provide a fixed, one-off payment of between €6,800 and €16,300 to each eligible oyster farming business and between €1,300 and €9,000 for rope mussel producers. The payments will vary according to three size classes based on records of previous production levels held by BIM. I anticipate that BIM will be inviting applications in early November with a view to paying successful applicants in 2020”.

The IFA has told its members to ensure to make applications on time.

• More details about the scheme are given by Teresa Morrissey, IFA Aquaculture Executive in this week’s WEEKENDER PODCAST