The Task Force was chaired by Aidan Cotter, assisted by a steering group of Margaret Daly and Mícheal Ó Cinnéide, and comprised of ten representatives of the fishing sector, representatives of the aquaculture and seafood processing sectors, coastal communities, coastal local authorities and various State enterprise development agencies.
The Taskforce examined the impacts on the fishing sector and coastal communities of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This final report follows an interim report submitted by the Task Force in June 2021.
Salmon is the dominant aquaculture species produced in Ireland, with 13,400 tonnes worth €127 million produced in 2020.
Irish rock oysters are the next most valuable species produced with 9,000 tonnes and sales of €37 million in 2020.
Mussel production in 2020 equated to 10,300 tonnes of rope grown and 4,400 tonnes of seabed cultured mussels worth €6 million and €7 million respectively.
Other finfish, 600 tonnes valued at €2 million, and other shellfish, 300 tonnes valued at €1 million, make up the remainder of Irish aquaculture production (BIM, 2021).
Seaweed production, a small sector which had been restricted to under 50 tonnes annually, has the potential to grow significantly, over the next number of years as a number of new businesses move into full production.
Due to Brexit, the Irish salmon farming sector has primarily been impacted from a raw material access (feed, juveniles, equipment) and from a logistics perspective.
Due to size of the Irish industry, there are no companies that produce feed in Ireland, so all feed must be imported, primarily from the United Kingdom where it is produced.
Due to the new health certificate requirements, ordering feed and having it delivered, a task which normally took a week from order to delivery in Ireland, now takes around a month.
In addition to this delay in the time taken to get feed, there are extra logistical cost as feed has to be handled through a customs port, Dublin, so companies can no longer import feed directly, which again increases the time and cost of feed deliveries.
Similar issues arise with importing equipment. The cost of equipment from UK based suppliers has increased, both in terms of the cost of the equipment and on the logistical cost of getting it too Ireland. In addition, to this delivery times
have significantly increased.
Juvenile and eggs supply, both to and from Ireland has also been negatively affected.
On the former, Ireland is not 100% self-sufficient in the production of eggs so is reliant on taking in eggs from third countries, primarily Scotland, Norway and Iceland.
At present, getting eggs from these three countries has not proven to be too challenging, relying on non-EU suppliers comes at a risk should there be any disease or regulatory issues which would result in farms not having enough stock to put to sea on a given year.
Another facet to juvenile supply is some Irish producers sell surplus stock to Scotland. Because of Brexit, this has become much more complex and costly, which has reduced the competitiveness of selling surplus juveniles
As the Irish salmon farming sector is reliant on the export market for its product, logistics to those market has been significantly impacted by Brexit.
The biggest challenge has been the increase in cost and time in reaching European markets, whether that has been via the UK land bridge or utilising the direct ferry routes from Ireland to the continent.
Every Irish salmon producer has reported a significant cost increase in using either option, time delays related to additional paperwork requirements, acquiring space on direct ferries, the additional sailing time with the direct route, and/or weather related postponing direct ferry sailings.
Combined, these have resulted in Irish salmon being less competitive in the markets they supply.
IFA SWOT Analysis (Salmon Farming)