Sales of Irish seafood last year surpassed the €1 billion mark for the first time ever in what is being described as “an exceptional year for Ireland’s marine economy”.
Seafood exports grew by 10% to €666 million, the domestic market increased by 4% to €429 million.
As a result of the performance, the seafood industry is on target to achieve the goals set out in the Government’s Food Wise 2025 strategy, and Ireland is well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by global seafood trends.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara
This is according to the 2017 Annual Report from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency.
Chief executive of BIM, Jim O’Toole, highlighted that the €240 million allocated under the Seafood Development Programme – co-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, was “Fundamental to the success of the seafood industry”.
“This funding facilitates the industry’s efforts to compete in the fast-paced global marketplace. In addition, €30 million of ongoing EU support from the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development of Aquaculture has enabled BIM to implement a range of schemes to support the aquaculture sector,” O’Toole said.
According to the chairman of BIM, Kieran Calnan, the seafood sector is fast becoming one of the major contributors to Ireland’s international reputation.
With all of Ireland’s natural advantages, Calnan revealed that the sector contributed a sizeable €1.15 billion to the nation’s economy in 2017, a significant increase of 6.4% on the previous year.
The chairman also added that over 14,000 people are directly and indirectly employed by the sector, most of which come from remote coastal communities where alternative options are limited. The success of the Irish seafood industry is vital to the economies of these regions, where it provides employment on fishing vessels, fish farms, in processing operations and in the distribution of seafood.
The Board of BIM was established under the Sea Fisheries Act 1952. The functions of the Board are set out in section 15 of this Act. The Board is accountable to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Board is responsible for ensuring good governance and performs this task by setting strategic objectives and targets and taking strategic decisions on all key business issues.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.