About the Seafood Industry

Learn about the Seafood Industry in Ireland

  • Ireland’s natural resource based seafood industry provides an important source of economic activity in our remote coastal regions. It provides jobs on fishing vessels, on fish farms, in processing operations, in distribution and marketing seafood at home and to export markets and in a large number of smaller ancillary companies that provide services to the mainstream industry operators.

Industry Overview

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:

To find out more about development plans for the seafood industry, see:

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:

Facts & Figures

Get the top line figures on the Irish Seafood Industry in the 2013 Industry Fact Sheet (pdf 1,727Kb) 

Employment 2013

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 2013

  • Home Market: €326m
  • Exports: €489m

Key Export Markets 2013

  Volume € Million
France 26,142 tonnes €111 million
Great Britain 33,613 tonnes €69 million
Spain 12,209 tonnes €51 million
Germany 8,368 tonnes €21 million
Italy 3,285 tonnes €23 million
Nigeria 51,943 tonnes €40 million

Top Product Categories 2012

  • Freshwater Fish €51 million
  • Pelagic €183 million
  • Whitefish €52 million
  • Shellfish €172 million
  • Fish Meal and Oil €31 million

Seafood Categories

Learn about the main commercial seafood categories by visiting our dedicates sites for pelagic, Dublin Bay Prawn and brown crab

Species Directory

View illustrations of the main fish species, as well as scientific and commercial information on the species.

Find a Processor

Find a producer map

Use our industry directory to find Irish seafood processors.