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Minister Welcomes the Opening of the Chinese Market for Irish Boarfish Products

11 December 2012

IRELAND - The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD has welcomed the announcement made by the Chinese authorities via the Irish Embassy in Beijing, that commercial exports of Boarfish from Ireland may now be imported to China.

This development follows the visit last April to China of the largest ever Irish agri-food delegation to China which was led by Minister Coveney. Commenting on the announcement, Minister Coveney said, “China is a key strategic trade partner for Ireland and has a strong demand for imports of high quality seafood, given the size of its population. Ireland is well placed to be a key supplier of sea food, meats, dairy products and beverages as well as other products and services to China. I am delighted that this announcement on Boarfish imports, which was the subject of specific discussions on my mission last April, is yet another positive development from that trade mission."

Boarfish has become much more abundant off the south coast of Ireland. In recent years, the Irish fishing fleet has developed a very important fishery on this species for the production of fishmeal and fish oils and increasingly for the creation of human consumption seafood products.

A Total Allowable Catch and National Quotas were introduced at EU level for Boarfish for the first time in 2011. Ireland successfully negotiated a very significant new Irish national fish quota, equating to 2/3 of the overall EU total allowable catch (TAC). The quota for Ireland in 2012 was 56, 666 tonnes making this new fishery one of our largest commercial fisheries. To date in 2012, thirty nine large Irish trawlers have caught over 53,000 tonnes of Boarfish. The overall long term sustainability of this species is promising and a new quota for 2013 will be negotiated by Minister Coveney at the upcoming Fisheries Council.

Following Minister Coveney’s trade mission to China in April, Ireland has been pursuing a co-ordinated strategy to realise the potential offered by the new Boarfish Fishery. Trial samples of over 70 tonnes were sent to Chinese Seafood companies this year and these have lead to orders for commercial scale exports. BIM and Bord Bia have been working to create new products from this new resource and to find new human consumption markets so as to ensure that the Irish Seafood industry can get the maximum value and employment from the resource. The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority have worked closely with their Chinese counterparts AQSIQ to ensure that all the seafood safety and other trade certification requirements can be met to successfully allow commercial exports of Boarfish.

The Minister concluded, "I expect that the opening of the Chinese Market for commercial export of Boarfish products from Ireland will enable our Seafood Processors and Exporters to develop a very significant human consumption market for Irish Boarfish products in China, to the benefit of the whole seafood industry along our western and southern seaboard."

TheFishSite News Desk

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