Minister in Donegal to boost marine jobs

The Donegal News reported two weeks ago how problems and bureaucracy in the Department of Marine and Department of the Environment were hampering job creation in the marine sector.
Foreign venture capital companies and French aquaculturists are looking to invest in shellfish production around the coastline and local companies are looking to expand.
Mr Jan Feenstra of Marine Harvest recently returned from Europe’s largest fish fare where he had to ration supplies of his salmon products to anxious buyers because he cannot get the licenses to increase production.
Minister Coveney and Deputy McHugh will visit Marine Harvest at Rinmore for extensive discussions with staff about building the local industry.
On the Thursday evening in Letterkenny, Minister Coveney and Deputy McHugh will meet with food industry groups including Donegal IFA and Donegal ICSA.  On Thursday afternoon Deputy McHugh will introduce Minister Coveney to marine stakeholders at Greencastle Harbour where controversy has arisen over a proposed marina facility in the unfinished harbour.
It has been alleged that fishermen “verbally abused” three yachts which sought shelter in the harbour.
There are hopes that Minister Coveney might announce how progress can be made on the half finished breakwater at the harbour which could not be completed due to a lack of funds.
The half-finished breakwater is submerged at high tides and it is claimed it is hazardous to harbour users. There are also fears millions already spent on the sea wall could be wasted if it is washed away.
While in Greencastle talks are expected between native oyster fishermen about the problems they see with mussel seed producers in Lough Foyle. The oyster fishermen are to have a submission ready for the minister.
Minister Coveney will meet with a deputation of Arranmore Island fishermen who claim their lobster and crab fisheries were wiped out by Monday’s storm. The fishermen are seeking to have the west coast fishery box reopened to local fishermen.
While in the county the minister will chair the Donegal North-East Fine Gael Constituency AGM next Thursday night.
He also plans to meet  and hold discussion with the KFO in Killybegs during his visit.
Speaking in advance of the visit Deputy McHugh said: “Donegal’s food industry has massive potential for jobs growth and for greater production. Government must work with the industry’s various sectors to facilitate the development of this potential.
“My colleague Minister Simon Coveney has the ambition to drive the industry and he is a good listener. Next Thursday and Friday will be constructive days for Donegal’s food production sector.”


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