Bord Iascaigh Mhara to maximise the value of Ireland's €1 Billion seafood industry

30 June 2016

Ireland’s Seafood Sector contributes over €1 billion in GDP to our economy and employs over 11,000 people, directly and indirectly, primarily in our peripheral coastal communities according to a new statistical report entitled the ‘Business of Seafood – a snapshot of Ireland’s Seafood Sector’ launched by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency at their National Seafood Conference ‘Global Insights, Irish Opportunity’ in the Radisson Hotel, Galway today.

Detailing the macro and micro value of seafood including the value of fish landings to our key ports, aquaculture production (fish and shellfish farming), seafood processing and retail trends; the report demonstrates how reliant our coastal communities are on seafood for revenue and employment. It also highlights the potential for added value and growth as BIM’s Chief Executive Tara McCarthy explains;

Seafood is on trend globally. Although Ireland is a small player on the international stage, our industry vision for Ireland is to be the International leader in high value differentiated seafood products that satisfy growing domestic and international demand for nutritious, safe, responsibly and sustainably produced food. When you consider that fish landings and seafood farming contribute nearly €500 million alone before any value is added through processing and innovation, we have an exciting opportunity for considerable growth. We need to move away from focusing on the negative to rewarding, recognising and celebrating an industry that is the lifeblood of our coastal communities representing 70% of our overall Blue Economy valued at €1.4 billion’

Key performance figures from the ‘Business of Seafood’ report include:

  • €344 million worth of fish are landed into our fishing ports
  • €148 million worth of fish and shellfish are farmed around our coast
  • 8,858 people are directly employed in the Irish Seafood Sector (this rises to 11,000 to include indirect jobs)
  • Irish Seafood Exports are up 7% to €564 million
  • Irish Seafood domestic consumption is up 6% to €350 million
  • EU €388 million
  • Nigeria and North Africa: €98 million
  • Asia: €47 million
  • Our most valuable species in volume is Atlantic mackerel at 88,709 tonnes worth €49 million
  • Our most valuable species by value are Dublin Bay prawns at 8,282 tonnes worth €49 million

Speaking about today’s BIM National Seafood Conference, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Michael Creed, T.D. said; ‘today's conference is all about exploring new opportunities and the seafood sector in Ireland is one of the areas which has the greatest potential for export oriented, high value added expansion. As Marine Minister, I am determined to encourage the ongoing sustainable development of this vital sector of our food industry’

Over 300 delegates from fishing, processing, retail and aquaculture sectors will hear valuable insights from high profile International and Irish leaders from the Agri-Business sector including Aidan O’Driscoll, Secretary General, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mary Shelman, former Director of Harvard’s Agri-Business programme, Malcolm Beveridge, Head of Aquaculture, FAO Rome, Jean Jacques VandeHeede, AC Nielsen Europe and Ali Sheridan, Origin Green, Bord Bia. 

The afternoon session will include structured breakout discussions that will facilitate dialogue on transforming knowledge into action and finding workable solutions to today’s pressing challenges. The discussions will focus on the four key priorities for the industry: Sustainability, Competitiveness, Innovation and Skills with topics that appeal to all sectors of the industry from ‘Fishing profitably with zero discards’, ‘Repositioning your company and products to maximise value’, ‘Demonstrate sustainability or be locked-out’ and ‘Working in seafood - a career for life’

Working with BIM to develop a new vision for Irish Seafood, Mary Shelman has met with over 30 stakeholders in the industry and her insights and extensive expertise in agri-food will assist BIM to shape a new vision for the Irish Seafood sector; ‘Irish Seafood is an excellent product but its true value is not appreciated. I see BIM as the catalyst of change with a greater focus on transforming the agenda from short-term to long term thinking, production driven to market driven and from scale to value creation. Ireland is too small to compete on scale, we need to box clever and this includes working together effectively to increase individual profitability and market share’

BIM’s National Seafood Conference is being held in association with SeaFest, an annual maritime festival that includes Our Ocean Wealth business conference (Friday 1st July, NUI Galway) and a family festival to include the BIM Seafood Experience on the 2nd and 3rd July at the docks in Galway. For more information, please visit www.seafest.ie