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New Seafood Strategy to Deliver €1 Billion Seafood Sales

19 July 2013

IRELAND - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) is set to deliver 1,200 jobs and €1 billion seafood sales by building scale and enhancing competitiveness in the Irish seafood sector, industry representatives were told by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, when he launched the agency’s 2013-2017 strategy.

Titled “Capturing Ireland’s Share of The Global Seafood Opportunity”, BIM’s new strategy highlights opportunities for unprecedented sectoral growth that are largely dependent on Ireland’s ability to produce and supply fish and related products to an increasing world population and an attendant growing demand for seafood which will see the global requirement for fish grow by an additional 42 million tonnes per annum by 2030.

The Irish industry will gain maximum advantage from this prospective growth in demand by expanding output from Ireland’s current raw material particularly from the development and expansion of the aquaculture sector which has been highlighted by BIM as a key growth area in its five-year plan.

Commenting as he unveiled BIM’s new corporate plan, Chairman Kieran Calnan, said: “In our new strategy, BIM aquaculture proposals are grounded in Ireland’s ideal position to take advantage of a major opportunity presented by the massive projected growth in global fish consumption. With quotas and natural constraints limiting the amount of wild fish catches available to meet this need, the majority of the additional supply will have to come from sustainable fish farming. Informed market analysts predict a 50 per cent increase by 2020 in the two million tonnes of farmed salmon which are currently produced annually. Sustainable fish farming, when regulated and managed correctly, provides valuable employment, investment and revenue amounting to a 78 per cent increase in volume of production by 2020, a figure which BIM is well placed to help Irish industry deliver on through its new strategy.”

BIM is targeting the production of over 45,000 tonnes of additional raw material during 2013-2017 which should result in the agency assisting industry reach its projected Irish seafood exports figure of a massive €650 million. In this regard, Mr Calnan went on to describe Irish farmed salmon as “a key target growth area for industry”.

In addition to expanding Ireland’s existing fish supply, the strategy places a strong focus on maximising additional value from the enhanced raw material base. While accepting that Ireland is a small player in the context of world seafood, BIM CEO Jason Whooley stated that "we should not and will not trade as a low-cost player if we can maximise the return from our seafood resource by differentiating Irish seafood products from those of lower cost producers. In this regard, BIM’s Seafood Development Centre will play a critical role in focussing on maximising additional value which will ensure that the industry will be able to keep abreast of emerging consumer trends and ultimately protect market share and ensure long-term financial sustainability.”

The strategy targets the sector’s capacity to become a more heavy-weight education provider and career option for Ireland’s younger generation. As a result, BIM will enter into a series of partnerships with third-level education institutions, the training component of which alone will see the agency deliver 8,000 training places by 2017.

A very ambitious expansion of BIM’s successful Route to Market Programme, begun in 2012, will drive BIM’s critical implementation of scale creation. The next five years will see BIM lead the sector in its efforts to build scale and to create the necessary level of competitiveness to perform in the long-term and to realise the sector’s capacity to grow revenue and generate jobs.

On the vital issue of creating scale, Mr Whooley added: “Under our new strategy, BIM is fully committed to continuing to work with industry to create scale within industry structures. We currently have 180 registered Irish seafood companies with processing facilities in Ireland. A large number of these companies are small-scale, often family-run firms with a turnover ranging from €3 million to €10 million. While these family-run businesses must remain an essential component of the Irish seafood landscape, we should also give consideration to the fact that when we contrast a traditional Irish company with one of its typical European competitors then they would have turnover in the order of €50 million. By 2017, if not before, BIM will have helped four Irish companies generate a turnover of over €50 million. We will do so by establishing Ireland’s first Seafood Investment Fund which will be critical to helping BIM attract private sector interests to increase the capital available for the Irish seafood industry.”

“The industry will also benefit from a series of international strategic partnerships BIM is confident it can help deliver with and to the sector. In this regard, we only have to look to the success that a number of Irish seafood companies have secured through the type of new joint venture partnerships now very much central to BIM’s strategic thinking. Such joint ventures were significant contributors to the increase in Irish seafood exports to China which increased last year alone by a staggering 80 per cent.”

In conclusion, Mr Whooley said: “BIM looks forward to delivering on its new strategy which has been designed to underpin the targets and objectives set out in The Food Harvest 2020 national food production plan. This strategy brings together a combination of micro and macro thinking that will allow the industry to capitalise fully on the undoubted market opportunities that are being offered by very encouraging global trends that are set to continue well beyond the life of this strategy document. We firmly believe that our new strategy and its outlined actions will serve to lead the Irish seafood sector to new levels of output, employment and prosperity."

Download the publication BIM Strategy 2013-2017 (pdf 1,482Kb)

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