RAINBOW TROUT FARMS.
The scheme for promoting small scale fish farming provided for the setting up of demonstration units, the construction costs of each unit (less a grant of 25% or £80 whichever was the less) and operational expenses for the first year to be borne in the first instance by the Department and repaid by the operator over a period of twenty years with interest at the appropriate Exchequer lending rate.
Five demonstration units were set up, but because of altered circumstances which adversely affected the economics of isolated small scale fish farms, the Department of Finance sanctioned the writing off of the entire balances due in respect of these units on condition that where possible, the operators repaid one-fourth of the amount outstanding.
The operator of one unit, which had ceased production prior to Department of Finance sanction has repaid the full amount due. Two operators repaid one-fourth of the amount outstanding and legal proceedings are being instituted against the operators of the fourth unit. In the case of the fifth unit, the Chief State Solicitor advised that legal proceedings would be unlikely to succeed and when the moveable equipment (valued at approximately £110) had been recovered from the farm, Department of Finance sanctioned the writing off of the remaining balance.
Grants of 25% of the construction costs, subject to a maximum of £80, were made available to developers of fish farming units other than demonstration ones and three private small scale fish farms were set up with the aid of these grants. One of these units has been extended and one has ceased production, due to the absence of the proprietor abroad.
There are two large scale commercial units in operation at Avoca, Co. Wicklow and Dingle, Co. Kerry. A third large scale commercial unit, Rainbow Ltd., Waterville, Co. Kerry encountered certain difficulties some years ago and has now ceased operating. These commercial units did not receive grants from Fisheries Vote.
A medium scale unit at Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow, commenced operations recently without grant assistance.
M. J. BARRY
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
22 Feabhra, 1973.