18th December

Budget 2015: environmental bodies 'cautiously' welcome marine measures

Cautiously welcoming the marine measures of Budget 2015 (see below), the Environmental Pillar warns that increase in the 'blue economy' must not come at the cost of small fishermen and the environment.

It claims the proposed marine tax review was an opportunity to focus tax support on smaller specialist fishing vessels that could fish sustainably and provide local employment.

Roundstone final

Rural villages such as Roundstone, Co Galway, depend largely on inshore fishing and marine tourism. Photo Gillian Mills

"By targeting tax breaks on small vessels, jobs can also be provided in high quality, high value, fish processing. Artisanal industries that add value to locally caught fish will have an added benefit by boosting Ireland's clean green image, which will also boost our tourism potential, remarked Karin Dubsky.

She added that by using the review to encourage sustainable local marine industries and services, "we can create local economic benefit that will have national impact and will actually improve our clean green image."

The Environmental Pillar hopes the plan to double the 'blue economy, will not be at a cost to the environment, or employment. Small sustainable marine industries and the marine tourism sector are major employers in the local economy it contends.

"These sectors go hand in hand as quality locally sourced fish and shellfish is what our tourists are looking for. We can dramatically increase Ireland's marine economy whilst improving our ecological protection by using a little imagination, by moving away from supporting large-scale factory fish farming and processing.

"There is more value to Ireland Inc. in a single wild salmon than in an entire cage full of battery-farmed fish," says Karin Dubsky.

Marine: €76 million

€11.5m:           seafood development programme

€11.5m:          fishery harours capital works

€6.3m:           aquaculture and fish processing investment

€47m:             marketing and development functions of BIM, Marine Institute research and                                                       regulatory and control functions of the Seafood Protection Authority.

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