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Coughlan welcomes the establishment of the new Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

- "integrating responsibility for seafood with the rest of the food industry creates new opportunities to drive forward the development of the sea fisheries and aquaculture industries through the injection of fresh thinking from other sectors of the food industry and through new product and market development" -

Minister Mary Coughlan T.D., today welcomed the Government Decision to establish the new Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF). As part of that decision, the Government decided on the range of sea fisheries, aquaculture and marine functions which would transfer to the new Department.

"I see great potential for the further development of our sea fisheries and aquaculture industries, based on the sustainable development strategy set out by the Cawley Group late last year. The Government has committed to the implementation of that strategy in the NDP and in the Programme for Government and I will make it a personal priority to drive on the implementation of that strategy for the benefit of the seafood sector" the Minister said.

The new Department retains all of the former functions of the Department of Agriculture and Food and, in addition, gets responsibility for sea fisheries, aquaculture, marine research, marine engineering and pier and harbour development for all piers and harbours other than those commercial harbours which are under the responsibility of the Department of Transport or the island harbours under the responsibility of Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

In addition, DAFF will be responsible for all aquaculture licensing. DAFF is also responsible for all foreshore licensing, other than foreshore licenses in Department of Transport commercial harbours and foreshore licences in respect of all energy and aggregate and mineral extraction projects on the foreshore. Those responsibilities will transfer to the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Minister Coughlan welcomed the Government agreement to establish an inter-departmental group, at a senior level, on which her Department will be represented which will review the structures in place in the inland fisheries sector and monitor and report on the operation of the Salmon Hardship Scheme.

As a consequence of the new responsibilities moving to DAFF, it will also take responsibility for Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Marine Institute and the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency.

Minister Coughlan added "I have grown up and live in a coastal county and understand the importance of the sea fishing and aquaculture industries to our coastal communities. I believe that myself and Minister John Browne , who also hails from a coastal county and has great experience in this area, will be a strong team committed to giving the industry a new impetus for sustainable development, based on quality and added value".

14 September, 2007

Date Released: 14 September 2007