Environmental Management Systems
The Environmental Code of Practice for Aquaculture Companies and Traders (ECOPACT), initially developed by BIM, became an all-island initiative when launched by DARD in NI in 2004, with the Initiative assigned the role of implementation in Northern Ireland and the border counties. ECOPACT is designed to ensure the widespread introduction of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) throughout the aquaculture industry which in
turn promotes responsible and sustainable development of fish and shellfish farming.
ECOPACT is the precursor to the Irish Quality Eco-Standards which are awarded to growers and processors who adhere to stringent environmental management practices in all aspects of their business and meet a number of externally audited key criteria. The standard guarantees that products have been produced with due care for the environment, above and beyond all existing requirements. The Aquaculture Initiative provide assistance and advice to those wishing to enter these schemes within the remit area. To date eco standards have been developed for Irish Quality Eco-Salmon and Irish Quality Eco-Mussels, with the Irish Quality Eco-Trout scheme currently undergoing trials on a farm in Northern Ireland.
Water Framework Directive
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the most significant piece of European water legislation for over twenty years. It will update most of the existing water legislation including that relating to abstraction and discharge control, shellfish waters and the requirements for protected aquatic habitats and species. The WFD will have a huge impact on both the type and location of aquaculture operations in the future.
The objective of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is to establish sustainable levels of economic and social activity in our coastal areas while protecting the coastal environment. ICZM seeks to reconcile the different policies that have an effect on the coast and resolve the competition for space and resources that exist in the coastal zone. In Northern Ireland the Department of the Environment launched an ICZM Strategy in 2006. It is important that the aquaculture sector through the CLAMS process is represented in the implementation of this strategy going forward.