Mowi may halt Ir­ish in­vest­ment over li­cence ‘has­sle’

Fish Farmer - - News -

MOWI has warned it may move € 22 mil­lion in­vest­ment planned for Ire­land to other coun­tries be­cause of de­lays in the Ir­ish li­cens­ing sys­tem.

Mowi Ire­land boss Jan Feen­stra has called on the Ir­ish govern­ment to speed up re­forms to the ‘out­dated’ li­cens­ing regime, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in Ire­land’s Sun­day In­de­pen­dent news­pa­per.

The world’s largest salmon farmer, which had a global turnover of al­most 3.8 bil­lion and em­ployed 14,500 peo­ple in 2018, has 13 op­er­a­tions across five coun­ties in Ire­land. It em­ploys nearly 300 peo­ple in the coun­try, record­ing an­nual sales of € 66.1 mil­lion.

Feen­stra, who met Ire­land’s agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Michael Creed re­cently, said the de­part­ment had pub­lished an in­de­pen­dent re­view of the li­cens­ing regime in 2017 but had failed to im­ple­ment the pro­posed changes to the sys­tem in­cluded within it, re­sult­ing in harm to the sec­tor.

It can take up to eight years to get a new li­cence in Ire­land, which pro­duces only or­ganic salmon, and no new per­mits have been is­sued for 11 years.

‘There is no cer­tainty; there is no way of plan­ning your busi­ness be­cause you don’t know how long it is go­ing to take or whether you’ll get an­other li­cence,’ said Feen­stra.

‘We are look­ing for a level play­ing field with the other salmon pro­duc­ing na­tions of the world.

‘In Scot­land, we just built a € 120 mil­lion feed plant. There was a feed plant in West­port, but that closed down be­cause the in­dus­try isn’t go­ing any­where.

‘If this doesn’t im­prove in a few years’ time, I don’t think the in­dus­try will sur­vive here.

‘Some 10,000 tonnes will prob­a­bly be pro­duced in Ire­land this year; our largest site in Nor­way is 15,000 tonnes.

‘Why is there so much has­sle over so lit­tle fish? The view abroad is, why is it so com­pli­cated in Ire­land?’

Ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per re­port, Ber­gen based Mowi’s for­mer CEO, Alf-Helge Aarskog, in­vited Creed to visit Nor­way to ob­serve ‘a mod­ern li­cens­ing regime’.

Above: Jan Feen­stra, Michael Creed

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