Public Consultation on IFIs exiting from freshwater trout production

Please Note: This consultation is now closed. Following the consultation a Joint Working Group was established to deliver a strategy in relation to IFI's fish farm production facilities - Joint Fish Farm Working Group

Inland Fisheries Ireland has a long history of providing rainbow and brown trout to support the fish stocking requirements of Ireland’s trout angling stakeholders. IFI’s main fish production unit is located at the IFI fish farm near Roscrea, with a supporting facility, which mainly supports the maintenance of broodstock, located at Cullion (Mullingar).   From a structural perspective the fish farming operation is based on physical structures and facilities designed and built in the late 1950’s, with limited programmes of modernisation implemented in the intervening period.

Having considered the points listed below the Board of IFI has decided to strategically exit from the production of rainbow and brown trout.

  • IFI fish farms have provided a significant operating loss over the past 5 years.
  • IFI has made significant efforts to reduce costs and increase efficiency in aquaculture operations but have not been able to bridge the gap between costs and revenue.
  • IFI has experienced significant cuts in budgets and human resources over the past 5 years.
  • The IFI Board has had to focus its resources on core functions across all divisional areas.
  • Environmental risks and risks in relation to bio-security on the farms.
  • The physical fish farm infrastructures are dated, inefficient and identified as in need of upgrading or replacement.
  • The current system for farm management does not provide data to support efficient production strategies.
  • Roscrea Fish Farm has an issue with the available levels of water supply as required by the current production model.   This pressure will increase over time through climate change and an increasing demand for water from other local interests.
  • The current fish farm operations are subsidised by wider IFI resources, as the price of fish for sale does not reflect the real cost of production.

IFI commissioned an expert review of it’s production capabilities, operational processes, facility design and technologies as well as operational costs in an effort to identify challenges and constraints in production processes and to propose practicable solutions to enhance productivity and performance. This review identified some major challenges for IFI including:

  • Environmental risks and risks in relation to bio-security on the farms.
  • The physical fish farm infrastructures are dated, inefficient and identified as in need of upgrading or replacement.
  • The current system for farm management does not provide data to support efficient production strategies.
  • Roscrea Fish Farm has an issue with the available levels of water supply as required by the current production model.   This pressure will increase over time through climate change and an increasing demand for water from other local interests.
  • The current fish farm operations are subsidised by wider IFI resources, as the price of fish for sale does not reflect the real cost of production.

On balance, and having given due consideration to the above, the Board of IFI has decided to exit freshwater aquaculture operations; it has instructed the executive of IFI to develop a plan to facilitate exiting of this business while making efforts to ensure continued supply of trout for stocking for anglers. All permanent IFI aquaculture staff will retain their employment within IFI and every effort will be made to ensure a smooth redeployment to other areas of the organisation.

Given the above considerations and background, IFI would like to consult with stakeholders and individuals affected by the decision to exit fresh water trout production with a particular focus on the potential impact of the decision and possible measures that could mitigate this impact.

Fish Farm report

Making a submission

The deadline for submissions was  5pm, September 19th.

Please be aware that all submissions received by IFI will be published on its website. In addition IFI is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and therefore has to consider any request made to it under that Act.

If you consider that any part of your submission would be subject to any of the statutory exclusions under that Act please so indicate in your submission, specifying under which exemption you believe the content should be excluded.

IFI will make every effort to comply fully with the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003 and the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.