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New report outlines Ireland's sustainable aquaculture potential

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Staff writer ▼ | June 20, 2016
There is great potential for Ireland to develop its aquaculture in the coming decade, with a rich and varied marine landscape, and a long coastline.
Ireland aquaculture
Aquaculture   Irish sustainable aquaculture sector is small
However, the sector is small in scale, relative to Scotland or Norway, and has been in decline somewhat over the last decade, as it has been across Europe.

The report from the National Economic and Social Council, Sustainable Development in Irish Aquaculture, argues that future Irish aquaculture development can be achieved that balances economic, environmental and social goals.

There is potential for aquaculture to provide safe, nutritious food and other materials, to sustain livelihoods in coastal areas, and to ensure and even enhance the quality of the marine environment.

Opportunities for the future can be grasped in relation to the quality of Ireland’s marine environment, both in terms of its protection and preservation, but also as a unique selling point for the industry.

The business of aquaculture depends in a fundamental way on an ability to manage environmental risks. In aquaculture these can have a particularly detrimental impact on production and the viability of a business.

Local actors can play a critical role in identifying and avoiding risk through early identification. For these producers, sustainable livelihoods, quality of life and environmental integrity are inseparable.

Aquaculture is a highly contested sector and conflicts have arisen over its development and the way decisions are made about the allocation and use of the foreshore.

There is a need for a focused approach to finding, testing and adapting suitable forms of public participation for natural resources management. Different, often competing, perspectives and values need to be articulated and negotiated.

There is still a gap in our understanding of the kind of structures, processes and agencies that can best progress constructive engagement, and this is evident across many different areas of policy.

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