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Montevideo, June 21st 2024 - 11:37 UTC

 

 

Falklands: Consultation work to be undertaken on salmon farming

Wednesday, May 29th 2024 - 10:50 UTC
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In neighboring Chile large scale commercial aquiculture is a booming industry In neighboring Chile large scale commercial aquiculture is a booming industry

The Falkland Islands Government has agreed to dispose of the claim brought by Unity Marine Limited by mutual consent, and on 27 May 2024, the Chief Justice issued the Order as agreed by the parties. The claim sought to challenge the decision made in March 2022 that arrangements should be put in place to prevent large-scale salmon-farming from proceeding in the Falkland Islands. Amongst other things, the Government had previously given an expectation that there would be a full public consultation on the issue prior to a decision being made. The Government accept that a full public consultation should be held, before a further decision is made on the issue.

In light of the provisions of the existing Fish Farming Ordinance 2006, Executive Council decided that the “interim” policy decisions made in March 2022 should be repeated. This means that until the consultation is held and a final decision made, no applications under the 2006 Ordinance will be accepted that propose the introduction of new species, such as Atlantic Salmon, to the Falkland Islands, and any licences granted under the Ordinance will be limited to a production cap of 50 tonnes.

Government officers had previously obtained a report from MacAlister Elliott and Partners (MEP), and will be reviewing that work, as well as all other relevant material in order to pull together a consultation in due course. The consultation will be based on the options identified by MEP, ranging from “no salmon farming in the Falkland Islands” to “commercial salmon farming takes place and is limited only by the carrying capacity of the environment”.

The Government will work with Unity Marine Limited in finalizing the consultation information and process. Following the consultation, a report will be taken to Executive Council for a further decision to be made and it is intended that the paper will be made public. A timeline of work will be developed with Government Officers, acknowledging the importance of this work alongside other identified Government priority work.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation and further decision, it is inevitable that amendments will then need to be made to the Fish Farming Ordinance 2006 to implement the decision.

Chair of Legislative Assembly, MLA Peter Biggs said: “We recognize that there are strong views in the community on both sides of this issue, and any decision could have significant implications in the long-term for the Falkland Islands. We are naturally disappointed to be where we are, but we most want a decision to be made which is secure from future challenge and we believe that a full public consultation will help that to take shape.”

Unity Marine welcomes FIG's decision

Unity Marine welcome the decision by FIG to engage in a full public consultation on large-scale aquaculture. Our position has always been that the industry offers a potentially significant opportunity for the Falkland Islands, and that it should be properly and thoroughly understood before making an informed decision. We look forward to engaging with FIG and the community throughout this process.

James Wallace, Director of Unity Marine said: “We recognize that this subject raises strong feelings in some parts of the community and hope that people see this decision in the right light. This is not tacit approval for large scale aquaculture; it is an opportunity to calmly explore a potential new industry and understand the opportunities and risks that it may present before making any decisions. If at the end of this process the community’s concerns cannot be sufficiently addressed, I have no doubt that the Government’s final decision will reflect that accordingly.”

 

 

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