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Ministerial Decision - Section 68 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997

FISHERIES (AMENDMENT) ACT 1997: NOTICE OF MINISTERIAL DECISION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 68(1) OF THE ACT, IN RESPECT OF AN AQUACULTURE LICENCE FOR THE CULTIVATION OF ATLANTIC SALMON SMOLTS AT A SITE AT PROCKLISS, FALCARRAGH, COUNTY DONEGAL, T12/93/3 HELD BY COMHLUCHT IASCAIREACHTA FANAD TEORANTA T/A MARINE HARVEST IRELAND, KINDRUM, LETTERKENNY, COUNTY DONEGAL

Following an examination by his Department, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has determined that a breach of a licence condition (condition 11) of the above licence has occurred.

Condition 11 of the licence states “The annual production of salmon smolts shall not exceed 2.5 million smolts”.

The Minister has also determined that the licence in question should not be revoked, having regard to the very serious commercial consequences for the Company and in order to provide a proportionate response from the Department.

The Minister proposes to make an amendment to the licence in order to address this issue and the Department will communicate with the Company in this regard.

Ministerial Decision - Section 68 and Section 19(A)4 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 (as amended)

FISHERIES (AMENDMENT) ACT 1997 (AS AMENDED): NOTICE OF MINISTERIAL DECISION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 68(1) AND SECTION 19(A)4 OF THE ACT, IN RESPECT OF ENTITLEMENT TO CONTINUE AQUACULTURE OPERATIONS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 19(A)4 OF THE ACT FOR THE CULTURE OF SALMON AND RAINBOW TROUT IN CAGES AT A SITE EAST OF INISHFARNARD, COULAGH BAY, CO CORK, T5/233 HELD BY SILVER KING SEAFOODS LIMITED, A WHOLLY OWNED COMPANY OF COMHLUCHT IASCAIREACHTA FANAD TEORANTA (T/A MARINE HARVEST IRELAND), FANAD FISHERIES, KINDRUM, FANAD, LETTERKENNY, CO DONEGAL

Following an examination by his Department of possible overstocking, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has determined that a provable breach of a licence condition (condition 2(d)) did not occur.

Condition 2(d) of the licence states the stock of fish in the cages shall not exceed such quantity as may be specified by the Minister from time to time, the number of smolts to be stocked at the site should not in any event exceed 400,000. Licensed stocking densities are not to be exceeded and will be subject to inspection at any time by the Department of the Marine;”

The Minister has concluded that a provable breach of the licence condition did not occur, in circumstances where evidential issues may arise as to what technically constitutes a smolt. The Minister wishes to seek to avoid a similar situation occurring in the future and therefore wishes to endeavour to have the licence amended.

Ministerial Decision - Section 68 and Section 19(A)4 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 (as amended)

FISHERIES (AMENDMENT) ACT 1997 (AS AMENDED): NOTICE OF MINISTERIAL DECISION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 68(1) AND SECTION 19(A)4 OF THE ACT, IN RESPECT OF ENTITLEMENT TO CONTINUE AQUACULTURE OPERATIONS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 19(A)4 OF THE ACT FOR THE CULTURE OF SALMON IN CAGES AT A SITE EAST OF DEENISH ISLAND, BALLINSKELLIGS BAY, CO KERRY, T06/202 HELD BY SILVER KING SEAFOODS LIMITED, A WHOLLY OWNED COMPANY OF COMHLUCHT IASCAIREACHTA FANAD TEORANTA (MOWI IRELAND), FANAD FISHERIES, KINDRUM, FANAD, LETTERKENNY, CO DONEGAL

Following an examination by his Department of possible overharvesting, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has determined that:

  1. A breach of a licence condition 2(e) has occurred. Condition 2(e) of the licence states:

“the Licensee shall not harvest more than 500 tonnes (dead weight) of salmon in any one calendar year

  1. The statutory entitlement of Silver King Seafoods Ltd. (a wholly owned Company of Comhlucht Iascaireachta Fanad Teoranta (MOWI Ireland)) to continue aquaculture operations under the provisions of Section 19(A)4 of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act is discontinued for the following reason:

Breach of condition 2(e) of the applicable aquaculture licence.

The Minister’s consideration of the case included the following:

1. The licence conditions in question are clearly stated in the licence. The relevant condition is condition 2(e) which states:


“the Licensee shall not harvest more than 500 tonnes (dead weight) of salmon in any one calendar year”


It is noted that the Dead Weight Harvest for 2016 was 1,108,907.36kg (1,108.91 tonnes). This harvest figure is 121.78% in excess of what is permitted under licence condition 2(e).


2. The extent of the breach by the Company of condition 2(e) is significant. The breach of the licence condition (121.78% excess of authorised limit) is of such a scale that the decision to treat as discontinued the entitlement of the Company to continue aquaculture operations under the provisions of Section 19(A)4 of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act is warranted and proportionate.


3. The breach of the licence condition took place in circumstances where the Company was fully aware of the limits set by the specific condition of the licence governing harvest tonnage.


4. Breaching licence conditions serves to undermine public confidence in the regulatory system and therefore enforcement by the Department of licence conditions is in the public interest. The reasons for this include the following:

  • An increase of 121% in the stock harvested from the site must increase the effluent discharge from the site.
  • Enforcement of the licence conditions by the Department serves, inter alia, to uphold the integrity of the State’s regulatory regime in respect of food production from the marine environment.
  • The Company is aware of the terms and conditions of the licence it holds and must conduct its affairs in accordance with the law.