Irish seafood breaks billion euro barrier


SALES of Irish seafood – both farmed and caught – broke through the billion euro barrier for the first time last year, with more than half that figure sold as exports.
The annual report from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) said that seafood exports grew by 10 per cent to €666 million, and the domestic market increased by four per cent to €429 million.
BIM has described 2017 as an exceptional year for Ireland’s marine economy. Chief executive Jim O’Toole said that an earlier €240 million allocated under the Seafood Development Programme had played a major role.
‘This funding facilitates the industry’s efforts to compete in the fast paced global market place,’ he said.
‘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.’
He also told the Irish Independent that the country was well placed to take advantage of global seafood trends.
BIM chairman of Kieran Calnan said 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 €1.15 billion to the national economy in 2017, an increase of 6.4 per cent on the previous year.
The chairman also added that more than 14,000 people are directly or indirectly employed by the sector, most of whom 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,’ he said.
Picture: BIM chief executive Jim O\’Toole


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