Ireland extends shellfish waters protection

Government bows to EU legal pressure for action programmes in all designated areas

All designated Irish shellfish waters will now have to have action programmes aimed at monitoring and preventing pollution, the environment ministry has announced. The move follows a threat of legal action from the European Commission, which in August alleged that Ireland was in breach of the EU's 1979 shellfish waters directive (EED 02/08/01).

Designed to safeguard human health, the shellfish waters directive requires EU governments to designate all shellfish waters, ensure they comply with specified quality criteria through monitoring, and "establish programmes in order to reduce pollution and to ensure that designated waters conform".

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