The industry contributes about €700 million annually to national income and employs 11,000 people, mainly in coastal counties from Donegal to Louth.
The four main activities in the Irish seafood industry are covered by:
- Fishing – The top fishing ports in Ireland are Killybegs, Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay, but fishing vessels also land into numerous small ports around the coast.
- Fish farming - Aquaculture activity includes growing finfish, such as salmon and trout and shellfish farming, including the cultivation of mussels, oysters and scallops.
- Processing - Seafood companies produce high value products from salmon, whitefish, shellfish and pelagic fish species (eg herring, mackerel and horse mackerel) all of which generate substantial export earnings to the sector.
- Marketing - Irish seafood is sold at home (€340 million) and in international markets (Europe, Africa and the Far East) where exports are valued at €375 million.
Plans for the industry
Watch this video to find out more about how important the Irish Seafood Sector is to the Irish economy, the potential that exists particularly in emerging markets like China, the increasing global demand for healthy premium seafood and the ambitious targets to be achieved by the sector by 2020.
To find out more about our current corporate strategy for the Irish seafood industry and reports on the sector, see:
- BIM Strategy 2013-2017 (pdf 1,482Kb)
- Aquaculture Survey 2012 (pdf 3,064Kb)
- Status of Irish Aquaculture (pdf 6,769Kb)
To find out more about development plans for the seafood industry, see:
- Food Harvest 2020 (pdf 1,159Kb)
- The Irish Seafood National Programme 2007-2013 (pdf 940Kb) : details measures supported by Exchequer funding
- The Seafood Development Operational Programme 2007-2013 (pdf 3,434Kb) : details measures that are co-funded by the European Union through the European Fisheries Fund
- Seafood Development Operational Programme 2007-2013 modified for 2013 (pdf 1,761Kb) : details measures that are co-funded by the European Union through the European Fisheries Fund as amended in 2013
- Read about how BIM is working to to facilitate the development of a deep sea organic salmon farm in outer Galway Bay
The fishing industry is governed by the rules and regulations of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). A new CFP will be introduced in 2012. For more information, see:
- Irelands CFP green paper response (pdf 1,305Kb)
Facts & Figures
Get the top line figures on the Irish Seafood Industry in our Seafood Industry Fact Sheet 2015 (pdf 549Kb)
11,000 persons employed in the Irish Seafood industry, of which:
- Fishermen 4,984
- Fish Farmers 1,716
- Processing 2,860
- Ancillary 1,140
Market Value 2014
- Home Market: €330m
- Exports: €520m
Key Export Markets 2014
|France||30,112 tonnes||€117 million|
|Great Britain||31,911 tonnes||€65 million|
|Spain||13,059 tonnes||€57 million|
|Germany||6,958 tonnes||€19 million|
|Italy||3,160 tonnes||€26 million|
|Nigeria||56,377 tonnes||€53 million|
|China (incl Hong Kong)||11,219 tonnes||€25 million|
|Russia||10,797 tonnes||€19 million|
Top Product Categories 2014
- Freshwater Fish €60 million
- Pelagic €219 million
- Whitefish €50 million
- Shellfish €172 million
- Fish Meal and Oil €20 million