Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

State faces multi-million euro mussel stocks case

Fishing boat returning with a load of mussels (Getty)
Fishing boat returning with a load of mussels (Getty)
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

The State faces potential damages running to millions of euro in a Supreme Court action being taken by Irish mussel farmers over the catastrophic depletion of their stocks.

The action, one of the first allowed to bypass the new Court of Appeal and go straight to the Supreme Court, is being taken by four Irish mussel farmers over the State allowing Northern Irish and UK operators to harvest valuable mussel seed from inshore areas. They have argued it has resulted in a massive decline in stocks.

The mussel farmers from Waterford, Wexford, Donegal and Limerick want the Supreme Court to declare the harvesting from Irish waters to be illegal.

If successful, the State could face the prospect of multi-million euro damages over the depletion of valuable stocks.

Their action followed all four being encouraged by various State agencies to invest a total of €16m in hi-tech mussel fishing vessels and equipment.

Submissions will state Irish mussel production fell from 24,485 tonnes in 2002 to just 5,527 tonnes in 2013.

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Irish Independent