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Ministers launch All-Ireland Mussel Report

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan TD and Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development along with Minister of State for Fisheries, John Browne TD, have launched the report of the Bottom Grown Mussel Sector.

Speaking at the Ministerial launch of the Report Minister Coughlan said: "Both governments are determined to see the full potential of our unique seed mussel environment realised in a sustainable way that will bring the maximum benefit to the island of Ireland and we are pleased to see that priority has been placed at the very centre of this review. The time has come for the bottom grown mussel sector to come together in a structured way that will leverage the most value, not only for those directly engaged in the business, but also for the wider community from this shared natural resource."

Minister Gildernew added: "I recognise the current value of the Irish mussel industry and also the potential this sector has to provide further wealth creation and employment to our coastal communities. This is a truly indigenous sector based on natural resources, producing a healthy food that is in great demand and providing a sustainable livelihood to people with a range of traditional skills in fishing, farming and seafood processing.

"This is a great example of effective all-island co-operation in action and I look forward to working closely with my southern colleagues in the future on issues such as this, which benefit all the people of the island."

Also commenting on the report Minister Browne TD said: "We feel that the Review Group has done a thorough job, both in teasing out the critical issues that surround the sector and in ensuring that the views of the mussel fishermen and farmers themselves were heard and reflected in the recommendations. It was most impressive to see the degree of consultation and it was also heartening to see industry participating, sharing their knowledge and expertise in the process. In particular I wish to highlight the contributions made by the Loughs Agency and Board lascaigh Mhara (BIM) and to thank the Cross Border Aquaculture Initiative (CBAIT) for its role in facilitation and for providing the secretariat to the process.

"The preparation of the review was a truly co-operative effort on the part of both administrations and we look forward to recommendations of the review being implemented with the same high degree of professionalism and co-ordination."

The all-island review of the bottom grown mussel sector was commissioned in 2007 by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the north along with the Loughs Agency.

Notes

The review was undertaken by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) with the Cross Border Aquaculture Initiative (CBAIT) providing the secretariat function.

Date Released: 01 May 2008