Displaying items by tag: Seafood
#fishing – The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, announced today the award of €2.7 million in grant-aid to 18 seafood processing companies under the 2015 Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme. Taken in conjunction with private sector investment, the total investment will be almost €9 million in 2015. The supported projects are projected to deliver 145 Jobs and €41 million in additional sales by 2017. The grants are co-funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and the European Fisheries Fund under the Seafood Development Programme.
Minister Coveney, in stressing the value of this grant-aid package to the Seafood Processing industry said, "this investment of almost €9 million in 2015 will enable our innovative seafood processers to continue their strong growth trend over recent years that will see the sector continuing to grow sales internationally and grow employment in our coastal communities. It will put the required technology, infrastructure and standards in place to allow these businesses develop added value seafood products that are in great demand on the global market."
The Minister concluded "the Irish seafood processing industry generally, in line with Government policy under the Food Harvest 2020 plan, has strong plans to significantly grow its business further in the years ahead. I believe we can look forward with confidence to seeing the seafood processing sector continuing to be an integral part of Government's policy to grow our indigenous seafood industry".
According to The Irish Times, food safety investigators in the Chinese territory were notified by Irish authorities two weeks ago that the presence of norovirus was confirmed at a raw oyster processing plant in the north-eastern county that services the crucial Asian market.
Hong Kong subsequently banned the import of raw oysters from Donegal "for the sake of prudence". More HERE.
#Shellfish - The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is holding a series of Shellfish Regional Information Meetings around the coast in April and May.
The informal events, held in association with the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), aim to provide an opportunity for all those involved in the shellfish industry to learn more about the role of the Shellfish Safety Monitoring Programme and how it assists industry to ensure that live bivalve molluscs placed on the market meet the highest standards of food safety.
This series of events will focus on microbiological classification of shellfish production areas but will also cover topics such as biotoxin and phytoplankton monitoring, phytoplankton sampling and viruses.
The first of these meetings takes place on 15 April at the SFPA office in Clonakilty, Co Cork, followed by 16 April at the Brehon Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry.
The final meeting in the series will be held on 6 May at the FSAI office on Lower Abbey Street in Dublin city centre.
Registration for the events in Donegal, Galway, Cork and Dublin is from 1pm with a light lunch served. These sessions will run from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. In Kerry, registration is from 9:30am with tea/coffee served. The sessions will run from 10am to 1pm, when a light lunch will be served.
To register for one of these free half-day events, click on the any of the links above or phone Lorna Tallon on 01 817 1398.
Kush Seafarms in Co Kerry, Irish Seaspray in Co Galway and the Irish Organic Salmon Company in Co Donegal all return after last year's exhibiting at the World Organic Trade Fair in Nuremberg.
And they were joined at the opening of their stand by Minister of State Tom Hayes, who reiterated the opportunities that exists for the organic food market at home and abroad.
“Participation in Biofach allows our organic producers and processors to showcase Irish organic produce on a worldwide stage," he said. “It also provides ample opportunities to network with purchasing decision makers, both from Europe and further afield.”
Minister Hayes also paid tribute to Bord Bia “for the professional way that they have organised the Irish food industry’s participation at this very important event.”
He concluded: “I wish all participants here today every success over the coming days and I hope that you develop the partnerships and contacts that will help your business continue to grow into the future.”
Eight innovative Irish seafood and food companies are participating at the event, which runs till Saturday 14 February.
Last year, Biofach attracted over 2,000 exhibitors and in excess of 42,000 trade visitors attended the event.
#Seafood - Lough Neagh eels may no longer be protected by Brussels regional designation rules if a proposed free trade deal with North America goes through.
As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the lough's eels are among a number of foodstuffs in Northern Ireland that come under EU Protected Geographical Indication, which means that only products produced in a particular area – like Cornish pasties or parmesan cheese – can be named and marketed as such.
But German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt has said that such protections, which are not recognised in the United States, may have to be abandoned "if we want to take advantage of the opportunities of free trade with the huge American market".
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.
#Seafood - Marine Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the outcome of yesterday’s (18 December) high-level bilateral meeting in Moscow between his department and the Russian authorities on agri-food issues, including seafood.
The meeting was held at the request of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and built on the recent meeting in Dublin between the minister and the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ireland.
“Russia is an important market for Irish agri-food products but unfortunately this trade has been restricted by issues arising from the Russian ban on EU food and drink products as well as their audit of Ireland’s exporting plants earlier this year," said Minister Coveney.
"Through the Irish Embassy in Moscow we have been actively pursuing a bilateral meeting for some time to complement the intense engagement which we have had with Russian counterparts over the last few months. I am pleased to hear that yesterday’s meeting continued the constructive dialogue between both sides and progressed a number of key issues.”
The meeting focused on the department's response to the interim report on the audit findings received from the Russian authorities earlier this year.
The comprehensive response, incorporating the corrective actions for each establishment visited, has been submitted in full and the Russian side confirmed at the meeting that the final report will issue before the end of this month.
Commenting on this, the minister said that “confirmation that the final report will arrive before the end of the month was very welcome and gives us a solid basis for resolving these issues.
"We will prioritise our response to the final report with a view to having the temporary restrictions lifted on the affected dairy, beef and seafood plants as soon as possible.”
The meeting concluded with a proposal by both sides to meet again in January.
“I am under no illusion that considerable work remains to be done if we are to regain some of the market share prior to the events of this year," added Minister Coveney. "Equally it must be remembered that some of this market restriction is common to all EU Member States and stems from political issues unrelated to the agri-food sector.
"Nonetheless I am encouraged by the positive spirit in which this bilateral discussions took place and most importantly that there is a clear roadmap for future engagement and that another meeting is confirmed for January.
"In parallel to these discussions, I will be continuing my engagement with the European Commission and my counterparts from other EU states to ensure that the right market support measures are being deployed to help producers and processors in Ireland to help overcome the effects of the Russia ban."
Ireland’s agri-food trade to Russia in 2013 was worth €235m before EU sanctions were put in place.
#MarineScience - The Marine Institute has secured €800,000 research funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to carry out three significant research projects that address the needs of the aquaculture and seafood industry in the areas of shellfish health and seafood safety.
The funding was announced yesterday (Thursday 1 December) by Marine Minister Simon Coveney as part of the FIRM (Food Institutional Research Measure) competitive research funding programme, and follows the news earlier this month that Ireland's marine researchers won €5.5 million in the latest EU Horizon 2020 funding round in the areas of 'blue growth' and sustainability.
The collaborative projects, which have a total value of €1.2 million, include research partners at NUI Galway, University College Cork and University College Dublin.
The projects will address current challenges in aquaculture and aim to further enhance the health status and food safety standards of farmed Irish shellfish; and ensure compliance with food/feedstuff standards for seaweed.
Dr Peter Heffernan, chief executive of the Marine Institute, welcomed the announcement, saying these projects "will build on the work we are doing in the areas of fish health and seafood safety, together with our research partners.
"We have a strong seafood safety regime in Ireland and these research awards will help to increase our knowledge and further enhance the quality and safety of Irish seafood products."
Dr Heffernan also acknowledged two further research award recipients in NUI Galway and Dublin City University who will focus their research on sustainable aquaculture production systems and mining marine material for novel functional ingredients.
Early in the new year the Marine Institute will seek to fill the three research posts arising from these projects.
Gerard Collier of Fisherman's Catch in Clogherhead was selected from a shortlist of five for the accolade, which recognises excellence in product knowledge, customer service and technical skill.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the winner receives a cash prize of €1,000 as well as a study trip to France, while he and his fellow finalists will get a set of professional knives and a place on BIM's retail development workshops, on top of their masterclass with from Kinsale-based chef Martin Shanahan.
"All of our finalists were exceptional throughout every stage of the competition and they should be very proud of their achievements," said Donal Buckley, BIM's business development and innovation director.
"Congratulations to our worthy winner Gerard Collier and his colleagues at Fisherman’s Catch, I hope this experience and the competition prize fund allows you to further develop what is a very successful family business."
Meanwhile, last year's winner James Kirwan of East Coast Seafood in Naas, Co Kildare, spoke of how the prize money allowed him to install a new kitchen in the shop to produce a range of fish soups, burgers and pies, while the study trip "was a real learning curve for me in terms of understanding customers' preferences."
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
#Seafood - The five finalists in the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Young Fishmonger 2015 competition had their practical skills put to the test today (12 November) ahead of the awards ceremony later this month.
BIM's Seafood Development Centre in Clonakilty, West Cork hosted the five men who made the shortlist as they were charged with filleting and preparing a range of fish and shellfish under strict time constraints.
The five finalists – Gerard Collier of Fisherman’s Catch in Clogherhead, Co Louth; Stevie Connolly of Connolly’s Fish Company in Rathmines, South Dublin; Mateusz Kowalik of Dorans on the Pier in Howth, Norh Dublin; Gary Quinn of Stephens Fish Market in Mullingar, Co Westmeath; and Neil Turner of Cavistons Food Emporium in Glasthule, South Dublin – have already been extensively judged in the competition.
This involved in-depth visits to their respective shops to assess their knowledge of seafood, their understanding of quality issues, skills, techniques and customer service.
Now in its second year, the BIM Young Fishmonger competition aims to recognise and reward young fishmongers and, in doing so, raise the bar across the sector in terms of product knowledge and skills.
"We are very proud of this initiative, it is a programme that directly recognises the high level of expertise and knowledge amongst young fishmongers around the country," said Donal Buckley, BIM’s business development and innovation director.
"It also promotes the valuable service a fishmonger provides to customers in terms of preparing and buying seafood and I hope this competition helps to encourage consumers to seek out their local fishmonger and support local business. Best of luck to all our finalists."
As part of their prize, the five finalists will receive a master class in seafood cookery from renowned TV chef and owner of Fishy Fishy restaurant in Kinsale, Martin Shanahan.
Finalists will also receive a specially designed trophy, a place on BIM’s retail development workshops, a set of professional knives and a cheque for €500. The overall winner will receive a study trip to France and a cheque for €1,000.
The winner of the Young Fishmonger 2015 competition will be announced at the Radisson St Helen’s Hotel in Stillorgan, South Dublin on 24 November.
#Seafood - Following a meeting today (5 November) with Chinese Vice Minister Niu Dun, who has responsibility for fisheries, Marine Minister Simon Coveney opened the largest ever Irish pavilion at the China Seafood & Fisheries Expo, which takes place in Qingdao this week.
Speaking at the event, Minister Coveney said: “Ireland has some of the finest seafood in the world, with a superior offering that is sustainably harvested from the pure, clean waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
"Business development and trade show events such as these are invaluable in building awareness of our high quality produce to an influential, targeted trade audience.
"China continues to be a growing market for Irish seafood and with exports increasing by over 300% since 2011 to reach €18 million in 2013. This strong trend in Irish exports to the region is continuing in 2014 with sales for the first 6 months up 56% compared to the same period last year.”
Organised by Bord Bia, Ireland’s stand will include representatives from a record 11 Irish seafood companies between today and Friday 7 November at the largest trade show in China, with more than 25,000 visitors expected from over 100 countries.
In 2013, China's seafood trade surpassed €20 billion in value, cementing its position as the world's leading seafood trading country. Growing incomes and increased urbanisation have helped fuel a massive growth in demand for imported seafood.
China currently accounts for one quarter of the world’s seafood consumption, and the United Nation’s FAO projects that China will need an extra 16 million tonnes of seafood by 2020 to meet growing demand.
Minister Coveney added: “The strong Irish representation from both the pelagic and shellfish sectors in Qingdao today demonstrates the commitment of both industry and government to deepen ties and strengthen relationships with our Chinese customers.”
Traditionally, the Chinese market has been important for the Irish seafood industry predominantly for the sale of pelagic species such as boarfish, which was launched in China this year after a successful presentation at the 2013 expo.
However, in the last three years, significant effort has been invested by Irish processors and Bord Bia to identify and develop opportunities for premium shellfish in this growing market for seafood, notably for shellfish such as live and processed brown crab, langoustines, scallops and razor fish.
Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter said: “The strong and sustained growth in exports in recent years demonstrates the continued success of Ireland’s leading shellfish processors in penetrating this valuable market. Exports of shellfish to China, for example, increased in value by over 200% between 2012 and 2013, while exports to Hong Kong increased by 117% during the same period.
"Bord Bia has ambitious plans to further grow the share of Irish seafood into China and has a number of programmes in place to assist Irish seafood processors in identifying, profiling and targeting new customers that are willing to pay a premium for quality seafood from Ireland.”
Through its trade development programme, Bord Bia says it has been very successful in encouraging high-end retail and foodservice Chinese customers to visit Ireland to meet with Irish seafood processors on a one-to-one basis.
These itineraries have been described as very effective in generating new business for the sector, providing Irish companies with an excellent opportunity to showcase their processing facilities and also allowing the customers to see first hand the world-class environment in which Irish seafood is produced. These visits can provide a guarantee to Chinese customers on traceability, sustainability and food safety, all key issues of growing concern to the Chinese consumer.
“Irish seafood has enjoyed ongoing and increasing market access to China," said Dr Susan Steel, chair of the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority. "International trade in food is based upon a reciprocated trust in food safety systems. The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, as regulator, verifies the safety and sustainability of Irish seafood and we welcome this Chinese confidence in the robustness of the assurance systems we implement."
During the last three years, Bord Bia has welcomed more than 25 Asian customers to Ireland on customised itineraries. Many of these visits have delivered new business for Irish seafood processors, and in March 2015, as part of its Marketplace International event, Bord Bia will host an additional 17 Asian customers on a visit to Ireland.
The buyers will meet with Ireland’s leading seafood processors, and Bord Bia has set a target of securing €7 million worth of new business for the seafood sector arising from this event.
In September 2013, over €4 million worth of new business was secured with a range of Asian seafood customers who travelled to Ireland to attend Bord Bia’s Global Sustainability Conference.
Going into 2015, to build on the momentum and further increase exports of premium Irish seafood to China, Bord Bia will concentrate its promotional efforts on increasing awareness of new species from Ireland such as brown crab and Irish prawns.
Targeting premium chefs, media and key opinion-formers, Bord Bia will co-ordinate a series of cookery demonstrations in Beijing and Shanghai, focusing on introducing recipes for these species that are new to the Chinese market.
The campaign will assist the Irish processing sector to sell in their ranges to distributors servicing the premium restaurants and hotels in these two key locations. In addition, Chinese consumers will be educated and informed through a comprehensive programme of in-store tastings with a number of supermarket retail chains.