One issue facing the aquaculture industry is that of public perception. Anecdotally, fish cages and mussel/algae lines have been described as “unsightly” and can affect the aesthetic beauty of an area. Complaints also include unpleasant odours and water contamination from aquaculture practices, which can have a detrimental effect on tourism and the local community. Artisanal and recreational fishermen have also registered complaints with groups like “Save Bantry Bay”, about infringement on traditional fishing grounds.
Ireland’s Competing Industries
Ireland’s coastline, which has been traditionally interpreted or perceived as a common property resource, plays host to several competing industries and sectors both commercial and recreational. Because of this, Ireland’s waterways are put under increasing pressures which has lead the European Union (EU) and its member states to move towards “ecosystem Based Fisheries Management to balance food production and security with wider ecosystem concerns” (Tidd et al., 2015, p.1). Since 2008, the EU has placed the responsibility on member states to establish a set of common principles, referred to as ‘Maritime Spatial Planning’ which operate within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, in order to (ibid.):
- manage anthropogenic activities in space and time
- preclude and minimise conflicts between competing sectors without negatively impacting the ecosystem
It is hoped that these spatial strategies will mitigate many of the issues surrounding the aquaculture industry and zonal allocations.