A New Dawn for the Irish Seafood Sector Published: 29 January, 2007
IRISH Taoiseach Bertie Ahern along with Minister Noel Dempsey and Minister of State John Browne this morning launched Ireland’s new National Seafood Strategy at a press conference in Government Buildings.
The Strategy, entitled “Steering a New Course, Strategy for a Restructured, Sustainable and Profitable Irish Seafood Industry 2007-2013”, sets out a “visionary” road map towards achieving an Irish seafood sector that is sustainable, profitable, and most of all, truly competitive and market-focused.
A total 334 million of public funds will be made available to match private sector funding of 263 million to create a total investment package of 597 million for the seafood sector.
The strategy is based on a comprehensive report carried out by a review group made up of three eminent experts – Dr. Noel Caw ley, Mr Ruan O’Bric and Mr. Joey Murrin, appointed in June 2006. Their report was independently drawn up in consultation with all the key interests and stakeholders in the sector.
Speaking at the launch of the strategy An Taoiseach acknowledged the importance of the seafood sector: “The seafood industry is one which I am familiar with from my travels over the years to the coastal communities right around the country. I know how vital it is to the areas where it provides a critical source of year round employment at sea and on shore. It is a sector where the industry and the Government both recognised that a new development strategy was needed.”
“There is great demand in the marketplace for seafood products and we need to be positioned at the premium end of that market to get the maximum value back to the fishermen and coastal communities, who are harvesting and processing the resource. This strategy drawn up for Government will put the industry on course to a new and profitable future,” he continued.
The report, which took on board the views of individual fishermen, fish farmers, processors, marketers and other stakeholders, focuses on ten core themes and outlines specific actions to be taken in order to achieve a sustainable seafood industry.
“The plan we are launching today has the potential to revolutionise the seafood industry in Ireland within six years. We can ensure that the industry generates over 1 billion for the economy and remains a majo r source of jobs, particularly in coastal communities. We are rapidly approaching a tipping point where fish stocks are dwindling to dangerously low levels. All must be committed to building a sustainable industry into the future” said Minister Dempsey.
“I believe that by 2013 we can have a seafood industry that is sustainable, more profitable, and most of all, truly competitive and market-focused.” he added.
Minister Browne echoed these sentiments, stating: “There is no doubt in my mind that with growing consumer demand for seafood products there continues to be a strong economic opportunity for Ireland’s seafood producers. This report provides a scheme whereby we can collectively seize that opportunity. I would call on the representative organisation for the fish farmers, the catching sector and the seafood processors to continue their close and fruitful relationship with us in making this strategy for a restructured, sustainable and profitable Irish seafood industry a reality by 2013.”
An Implementation Group chaired by Dr Noel Cawley and made up of representatives from each of the catching, aquaculture and processing/marketing sectors, as well as the Department’s Seafood Policy Divisions and relevant State Ag encies will be confirmed shortly to oversee the implementation of this report.
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