Boost for Irish seafood sector –

Boost for Irish seafood sector European Fish Trader Published:  05 August, 2004

DERMOT Ahern,Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, has announced Government grants to support investment of almost €7.3 million in the seafood processing industry.

Grant aid totalling €1.7M, under the Seafood Processing Development Measure of the National Development Plan 2000-2006, will assist with development projects at 18 seafood companies nationwide.

Of the 18 companies approved for funding, four are based in Co Cork, two are located in Co Donegal, two in Co Mayo, three in Co Kerry and three in Dublin and one each in Louth, Kildare, Wexford and Galway. The approved investment will create new jobs in peripheral coastal communities as well as maintaining valuable existing employment.

The latest projects are aimed at a range of developments such as increased production, enhanced product quality, technical innovation, optimum use of raw material and improving international competitiveness.

The Minister emphasised that investment in innovative and progressive seafood processing companies is a key priority of the Governments strategy for the sector. The grant aid is targeted at companies who meet the significant challenges of both the international and domestic markets head on.

Ahern said: “The seafood sector must position itself to meet the challenges of the global market. A vibrant and sustainable seafood sector is essential for community and economic development in coastal areas. The projects approved for funding involve developing new products and adding value to existing products.These companies are making more efficient use of raw material and will thrive in this very competitive sector.”

He added: “This latest round of development projects is the third tranche of approvals under the Governments programme and total investment of over €29.3M has now been approved for the seafood processing sector under the NDP. The programme is aimed at accelerated development of seafood processing to create a competitive value added capability of scale to the highest quality and technological standards.”

The projects were assessed by The Processing Investment Projects Approvals Board (PIPAB), which includes representatives from BIM, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Enterprise Ireland, The Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly and The Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly.