BIM will be applying for an Aquaculture Foreshore licence by the end of January 2012 with the intention of developing a deep sea fish farming production area in the lee of Inis Oirr. The deep sea licence application, if successful, will allow for 15,000 tonnes of organic grade farmed salmon to be produced per annum. This will double the current production of Irish farmed salmon and meet the urgent demand for this premium product.
We are currently turning customers away because Ireland does not produce enough to meet the demand for this product. If the licence application is successful and production goes ahead the farm will generate over €100 million in sales and create up to 350 direct jobs, with a further 150 jobs indirectly.
In a new departure BIM will apply for the licence and if granted we will then hold the license in trust for the State and will enter into a legal ‘franchise’ style agreement with the operator of the farm. BIM believes this is an opportunity to build safeguards into the commercial agreement that will surpass the demands of the licence itself. For example, we hope to include clauses in the commercial agreement with the operator obliging them to support local community development and other initiatives. BIM have also committed to working with the local communities to ensure the resident workforce has the necessary qualifications to be able to work on the farm.
A further primary agreement of the franchise will be that the salmon must be farmed to stringent organic standards. This will ensure that the strictest environmental and husbandry standards will apply to all farming on the site. It also makes excellent business sense, as the organic food sector continues to grow rapidly. BIM and Bord Bia estimate that the current underlying demand for organic grade farmed salmon per annum in Europe is somewhere in the region of 40,000 - 50,000 tonnes of organic grade farmed salmon per annum.
BIM have made a huge effort to meet and brief as many of the local development committees and other interested parties in the locality. The aim is to ensure that people understand what the project is about, the reasons why BIM are sure of its commercial success and the safeguards that BIM will oversee to ensure all environmental and other local concerns are addressed on an ongoing basis.
Currently well over 700 scoping letters have been sent to a wide variety of stakeholders including local businesses, tourism interests, fishermen, fish processors and all households on the three Aran Islands. All feedback received on foot of the letters will be incorporated into the Environmental Impact Assessment that BIM will submit to the Department with the licence application. BIM hope to have the application completed by the end of January. The usual public consultation process will begin at this point.
Further information on the project can be found on the BIM website, www.bim.ie or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org