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To: Irish Government

No Mass Harvesting of Seaweed on Coastline from Mayo to Clare

Minister English clarifies the legal position around seaweed harvesting and applications received under the Foreshore Act
Published on Friday, 29 Jun 2018

Mr Damien English T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Development today announced the results of his Department’s ongoing assessment in relation to the legal interaction between applications to his Department for licences to harvest wild seaweed and existing seaweed harvesting rights.

The Minister, in the course of a wide ranging address on marine issues at the Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Galway commented that “I have taken the necessary time to carefully consider all aspects of this issue and have met with a variety of interests across this sector. The position is that my Department cannot licence seaweed harvesting in an area where there is an existing right to harvest seaweed. I have also clarified that existing seaweed rights holders can continue to exercise their right to harvest seaweed and do not require consent under the Foreshore Act although they must respect relevant national and European environmental legislation.”

The Minister informed that he has written to all of the existing applicants setting out the position and would work with them to consider how it would impact on their applications.

The Minister also commented that “In the course of the consideration of these issues, I have had the welcome opportunity to meet many people in this sector and listen to their views. One of the things I took from these interactions is the great potential to develop the wild seaweed sector if we take the right decisions to realise it. I will be working with my colleagues to identify the most suitable body to develop and implement a strategy to underpin the development of this sector which will need to include a robust and transparent licencing system.”

The Minister also updated the summit on the considerable progress being made on Marine Spatial Planning and he also informed that work was advancing on legislation to prohibit the sale or manufacture of products containing plastic microbeads. This is one of a range of marine litter and marine environmental measures being pursued by his Department at this time to maintain the good environmental status of our seas.

Don't issue a private Canadian company the license to mechanically harvest seaweed on 20% of the Irish Coastline from Clare to Mayo.

Why is this important?

The government is supposed to reach a decision in April 2018 on whether or not to grant a license for the right to mechanically harvest seaweed to a private Canadian company. The sale was complicated by a legality. The ownership of the right to harvest seaweed is currently under question. Traditionally local people, owned the rights to harvest seaweed and harvested it in a sustainable way. Mechanically harvesting seaweed is not environmentally sustainable and will have a serious impact on the ecology of the sea. Harvesting rights to seaweed belong to the people and should not be allowed to be sold off by the State for private profit. Seaweed is now a highly lucrative resource which should be harvested in a sustainable way for the benefit of the people of Ireland living now and for future generations.
Co. Clare, Co Galway, Co Mayo

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2018-07-23 09:39:23 +0100

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2018-03-01 11:54:20 +0000

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