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Gildernew attends all-Ireland Ministerial Council Aquaculture and Marine sector meeting

21 November, 2007


The aquaculture industry and marine tourism topped the agenda at a North-South Ministerial meeting today.

Sinn Féin Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has met with Eamon Ryan TD, Minister of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) and Junior Minister Ian Paisley Jnr. (OFMDFM) at the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), Aquaculture and Marine Sector meeting at the FCILC headquarters at Prehen.

The Ministers welcomed the opportunity to come together to discuss north-south co-operation as undertaken by the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC) in the aquaculture and marine sector.

The Council noted the progress made since the last meeting in April 2002 and welcomed the enactment of the Foyle and Carlingford Fisheries Legislation earlier this year. This legislation provides the Loughs Agency of the FCILC with powers to regulate aquaculture and wild shellfisheries in the Foyle and Carlingford Areas.

Speaking after the meeting Michelle Gildernew said:

"Today's meeting provided a good opportunity for my Executive colleague Ian Paisley Jnr. and me to hear about the progress that the Loughs Agency has made since 2002 and to discuss current issues and exciting plans for the future.

"I am pleased to see that the Loughs Agency like its predecessor, the Foyle Fisheries Commission which was established in 1952, is a good example of North/South co-operation. I commend the Loughs Agency on the work that it has carried out since its creation in 1999, work which has made a real contribution to the Foyle and Carlingford Areas.

"It is however with deep regret that the Council noted the death last week of Lord Cooke of Islandreagh. NSMC would like to convey its deepest sympathy to his family and friends. We also recorded the significant contribution made by the late Lord Cooke to the work of the FCILC during the five years when he served as Vice Chairman.

"The Council was pleased to approve the Agency's Marine Tourism Strategy 2008-13 which provide a vision for developing access infrastructure, marine tourism, recreational fisheries and providing skills training through local partnerships. When implemented this should bring significant investment and regeneration to the Foyle and Carlingford Areas.

"It also gives me pleasure to announce the investment in a monitoring vessel at an estimated cost of £75,000. This vessel is to be used by the Agency to undertake the scientific monitoring to capture the data that is required by the European Commission and is needed to aid decision-making in relation to fisheries management.

"I have also assured Minister Ryan of my continued commitment to the work of the FCILC in the sustainable development, and conservation and protection of fisheries in the Foyle and Carlingford Areas. I look forward to furthering the close working relationship that exists between NSMC, FCILC and the sponsor Departments." ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. The North South Ministerial Council Meeting (NSMC) on the aquaculture and marine sector was held at the headquarters of the Loughs Agency in Prehen.

2. The Loughs Agency was established as an Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission in 1999 as part of the Good Friday Agreement. The Agency was provided with all of the powers of its predecessor the Foyle Fisheries Commission along with additional functions in relation to marine tourism, and the regulation of aquaculture and shellfisheries. The Foyle Fisheries Commission was established in 1952.

3. The late Lord Cooke of Islandreagh served as Vice Chairman of the FCILC from 2001 until his retirement in 2006.

4. For more information visit the NSMC website http://www.northsouthministerialcouncil.org/index/sectoral-meetings.htm

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