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The Irish seafood sector has a low carbon footprint, which generates less than 2% of Ireland’s total carbon emissions, according to a Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) study.

The report says that total Irish fish catch and aquaculture segments represent just 1.76% of Ireland’s total carbon emissions.

The study, discussed at a seminar in Athlone this week hosted by BIM with the Marine Institute, sets out a “greenhouse gas emissions” baseline for the Irish seafood sector, incorporating the Irish fishing vessel fleet and aquaculture.

The baseline, which can be used as a benchmark to measure future emissions, collates seafood carbon data for the first time, BIM says.

It identifies areas to minimise carbon emissions associated with seafood production and finds that farmed mussels, oysters and wild-caught mackerel in particular have very low carbon emissions, BIM says.

“The report stresses the need for a detailed decarbonising plan to ensure that the seafood sector plays its part in Ireland’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050,”BIM says.

The study notes the diversity of the Irish seafood sector, and how the carbon footprint of different products “varies depending on the species and the methods used to cultivate or catch them”.

“The Irish seafood sector is undergoing a transformation in how we do things, how we fuel our fleets, how we grow our shellfish, and feed our salmon,” BIM economics and strategic services director Dominic Rihan said.

He said the industry is looking at a range of new technologies, alternative fuel sources as well as operational changes to reduce their carbon emissions.

Investment in the future for such initiatives will be provided through the European and Maritime, Aquaculture and Fisheries Fund, under which Ireland has received total funding of €258.4 million, he noted.

“There is also a lot of work done on waste and plastics reduction. All these initiatives contribute to lower greenhouse emissions from the sector,”he said.

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Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, has completed a €1.68 million investment, which will allow it to increase production of its popular trout products and improve efficiencies. The investment, which included a factory extension, upgrading and introducing new state-of-the-art production lines, and installing solar panels, was supported with grant aid of €666,540 from the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme and the Brexit Sustainable Aquaculture Growth Scheme, administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

The new investment will also protect the current 27 jobs in the business and hopefully increase the numbers employed in the next year. Goatsbridge produces smoked trout, trout pâté, fish chowder, and Ireland's only caviar made from trout roe. The investment will transform the business, which is run by Mag Kirwan and her husband Ger, allowing it to pursue its strategy to produce more high-volume, high-margin products to increase domestic and overseas sales.

The investment will also pave the way for the business to become carbon-neutral in the coming 3 to 5 years. "We want to be sustainable not just from a business point of view, but more importantly, from an environmental point of view. We want to protect what we have for generations to come," said Mag Kirwan.

The Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme and the Brexit Sustainable Aquaculture Growth Scheme will deliver up to €65 million in funding to the Irish seafood processing sector. Both schemes are funded by the European Union under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve and are recommendations of the Seafood Taskforce established by Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D.

According to Mags Kirwan, the investment will improve energy efficiency. "As well as solar panels, we have upgraded existing doors to improve temperature control in the production area, and added a blast chiller to improve the processing of products including caviar." The new solar panels will radically cut down on Goatsbridge's energy costs, reducing the impact of climate change on the business.

Ger and Mag Kirwan pictured at the new solar panels at Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. The panels which will improve energy efficiency at the farm were supported with grant aid under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve schemeGer and Mag Kirwan pictured at the new solar panels at Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. The panels which will improve energy efficiency at the farm were supported with grant aid under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve scheme

Goatsbridge products are available in Irish retail outlets and are sold in 400 Sainsbury's outlets in the UK. Recently, the company landed a deal to stock its popular products through the Ocado online food company in the UK. Goatsbridge is currently pursuing exports further afield, with negotiations underway for a possible listing in the Dubai-based Spinneys supermarket and grocery chain, which has more than 65 locations across the UAE.

BIM CEO Caroline Bocquel said, "It is great to see at first hand the positive impact of the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme on fish businesses, including Goatsbridge. Mag and Ger have been true champions in the Irish seafood industry for almost 30 years and are constantly adapting and innovating and seeking to be more efficient."

Goatsbridge Trout Farm was started by Ger Kirwan's father, Padraig, in 1961 when he created the first fish ponds on The Little Arrigle River in the heart of the Nore Valley. Ger and Mag took over the business in 2002.

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Kelly Oysters, a multi-award-winning seafood business based in Galway, is set to expand its sales of mussels for the domestic market following a recent investment.

The €172,000 investment has been supported by BIM, with €74,844 coming from the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme.

This significant investment will enable Kelly Oysters to "mussel" in on the growing seafood market and meet the increasing demand for high-quality seafood in Ireland. The expansion is expected to create new jobs and help drive growth in the local economy. The investment is a testament to the quality of Kelly Oysters' products and the company's commitment to sustainability and innovation in the seafood industry.

The scheme, which will deliver up to €45 million in funding to the Irish seafood processing sector, is funded by the European Union under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. It was recommended by the Seafood Taskforce established by Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D.

Diarmuid and Michael Kelly of Kelly's Oysters in Galway Bay. As well as supplying the Oyster Festivals, Kelly Oysters supplies oysters throughout Ireland and around the world. Last season, these much sought-after delicacies were exported to 14 different countries. Photo: Andrew DownesDiarmuid and Michael Kelly of Kelly's Oysters in Galway Bay. As well as supplying the Oyster Festivals, Kelly Oysters supplies oysters throughout Ireland and around the world. Last season, these much sought-after delicacies were exported to 14 different countries. Photo: Andrew Downes

Diarmuid Kelly, one of two brothers who runs the business, said the investment has seen the introduction of a new production system which will package small-sized bags of mussels suitable for home preparations. He sees this as opening the doors for new sales channels at home and abroad.

Kelly Oysters recently won a prestigious Euro-Toques Food Award for its outstanding Blue Rope Mussels, and for its contribution to regenerative aquaculture in Ireland. “We were so proud to win this award. It is recognition of the work we put into producing the finest shellfish possible.” said Diarmuid Kelly.

Kelly Oysters recently won a prestigious Euro-Toques Food Award for its outstanding Blue Rope MusselsKelly Oysters recently won a prestigious Euro-Toques Food Award for its outstanding Blue Rope Mussels

At present the live mussels produced by the Kelly’s are mainly packed in 10kg to 15 kg bags for the food service and wholesale market. But they are not suitable for retail sales.

Said Diarmuid Kelly: “We noticed an increase in demand from fish wholesalers for smaller sized packaging during the Covid-19 pandemic and this trend has remained. Market research is telling us that consumers are looking for produce that is semi prepared and ready to cook. Our new smaller 1kg packaging is an opportunity to drive increased sales into retail, and direct to consumer channels.”

Traditionally, handier 1kg net bags of mussels have been produced by hand, something which was very labour intensive. But thanks to the recent investment, supported by BIM, Kelly Oysters has introduced a product line that will prepare, weigh, pack and label 1kg bags of mussels that are fully traceable from farm to fork.

The live mussels produced by the Kelly’s are mainly packed in 10kg to 15 kg bags for the food service and wholesale marketThe live mussels produced by the Kelly’s are mainly packed in 10kg to 15 kg bags for the food service and wholesale market

“Our investment will add huge value to our existing produce,” said Diarmuid Kelly. “From existing inquiries, we estimate a demand of 20 tonnes of 1kg packs of mussels per annum, growing to 50 tonnes over three years. We are very excited about the new chapter and the prospect of welcoming new generations of shellfish lovers to our product.”

For more than seven decades the Kelly family has been successfully farming delicious, top quality oysters, mussels and shellfish in the crystal-clear waters of Galway Bay. Its sustainably farmed oysters grace the tables of some of the finest restaurants and hotels in Ireland and around the world.

Kelly Oysters was first set up by Diarmuid’s father, Michael, in 1952. At that stage there was only a wild stock of oysters on the west coast, and no oyster farming. “My grandfather, who was also called Michael, was an oyster dredger and he would dredge wild oysters from the bottom of the sea from a fishing boat. It was my father Michael who formally set up the business and started selling oysters to restaurants.”

Kelly Oysters is a multi-award-winning family seafood business based in GalwayKelly Oysters is a multi-award-winning family seafood business based in Galway

The passion and love for the business was passed down to sons Diarmuid and Micheal. But pivotal also to the business are their wives Mary (married to Micheal) and Theresa (married to Diarmuid) who work full time in the business. In addition, Micheals, son Michael junior, is on the staff of ten.

Said Diarmuid: “Where we are now is very much due to the hard work and dedication that our entire team put in every day. The Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme has been a huge help to us, and was the incentive for us to introduce our new product line which will help us become more efficient and to reach new customers.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit created several challenges for the business with significant disruption to sales.

“We realised to meet the economic and future needs of this family business; a new strategy was required which included adding value to existing products, and which did not rely solely on the existing wholesale foodservice market.”

Currently Kelly Oysters sell approximately 30 per cent of its product abroad, and 70 per cent to the domestic market. It exports oysters to 14 countries around the world, including Canada and Singapore.

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The Irish aquaculture sector has shown significant growth and sustained employment opportunities, according to the Annual Aquaculture Report for 2022 published by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). Despite a reduction in the number of Production Units (PUs) due to consolidation within the shellfish segments, employment increased in both the finfish and shellfish sectors. 

In 2022, the sector contributed €208 million to the economy, supporting 2,008 jobs and generating a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 1,177 across 292 PUs. The average individual salary for the year was €34,372 per worker. 

The report highlights that 44,623 tonnes of aquaculture products were sold directly at the farmgate, generating sales of €186 million, representing a 4% increase in both volume and value compared to the previous year. The production involved 554,000 culture structures, covering over 12,250 hectares of licensed ground throughout the country. 

The largest contributor to national sales value was the culture of Atlantic salmon, amounting to €104 million in 2022. This diverse segment demonstrated multiplier effects evident in turnover, employment, and gross value added. The mussel and oyster-producing segments led the sector in terms of employment, generating €76 million in 2022 and providing work for 1,693 people across 260 PUs. 

However, a survey on the sector's technical challenges highlighted the struggle of shellfish segments in sourcing or retaining suitably trained staff. To address this issue, businesses are exploring technologies that have the potential to reduce or eliminate labour-intensive tasks in production.

The full report is available at bim.ie

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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has announced a €25.6 million support package for the Irish pelagic fisheries sector.

The Pelagic Fisheries Support Scheme, funded under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund, will compensate owners of Refrigerated Sea Water (RSW) pelagic vessels and polyvalent Tier 1 and Tier 2 vessels that have suffered losses of mackerel quota over the period 2021-2023 as a result of the quota transfers to the EU under Brexit.

The support is designed to stabilise cash flow and assist vessel owners to re-structure their operations in light of the loss of earnings associated with the reduction of available quota under the TCA. The short-term aid is essential financial support to allow the 23 RSW vessels and the 27 polyvalent Tier 1 and Tier 2 vessels sufficient time to put in place longer-term restructuring measures.

Minister McConalogue said: “This €25.6 million support for the RSW pelagic fleet segment recognises the impact of quota transfers to the UK from the EU under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), and in particular that this segment of the Irish fleet has suffered the largest TCA related quota reductions for the main target species of mackerel.”

The Pelagic Fisheries Support Scheme was one of the recommendations of the Seafood Taskforce appointed by the Minister. It is restricted to eligible vessels in the RSW pelagic segment and Polyvalent Tier 1 and Tier 2 vessels fishing for mackerel in 2021 and 2022. Payments under the scheme represent the value of reduced fishing opportunities that resulted from the actual loss of mackerel quota in 2021 and 2022 arising from the quota transfer of quota to the UK. In monetary terms, the loss of mackerel per vessel over the same period, equates to the loss of one month’s fishing opportunities per year, with payment calculated on the average monthly turnover per vessel, less cost of fuel and provisions, over the period 2018-2020, compensating for one month per annum for 2021 and 2022.

The Minister concluded: “The RSW pelagic fleet segment has suffered significant quota loss of some 20,130 tonnes worth approximately €27.3 million, and this much-needed support will go some way to supporting the segment to adjust to the changed situation we find ourselves in so as to ensure a profitable and sustainable fishing fleet into the future. Now that I have secured State Aid approval from the EU Commission, I will instruct BIM to administer this scheme without delay.”

Scheme information, once launched, will be available on BIMs website at BIM - The Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund

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Award-winning Co. Louth seafood company, Morgan’s Fine Fish, has completed a €270,000 investment to make it more energy-efficient and competitive in an increasingly tough market.

The investment has been supported with funding of almost €100,000 from the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme, implemented by BIM, Ireland’s seafood development agency.

The scheme, which will deliver up to €45 million in funding to the seafood processing sector, is funded by the European Union under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. It was recommended by the Seafood Taskforce established by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie Monologue T.D.

Gillian Morgan, Sales Manager of Morgan’s Fine Fish, said the efficiencies the company has achieved with support from the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme will help it compete on a level playing field with international competition.

“We are now using premium technology to offer fresh or frozen fish products to the market. The investments we have made with the support of BIM will futureproof the company and help us remain competitive and to deliver new products.” she said,

One of the Brexit Process Capital Support Scheme grants supported Morgan’s in introducing solar panels and replacing a 20-year-old refrigeration system to make it more energy efficient.

The company also availed of funding to invest in state-of-the-art technology to maximise the use of white fish landings, and develop value-added products for the European market place.

Morgan’s was founded 163 years ago and is thought to be the oldest fish business in Ireland. It has 80 staff and is located in a scenic rural location overlooking Carlingford Lough and the Cooley mountains.

The business started with Gillian’s great-great grandfather in 1860, who operated from the local harbour with a small fishing boat. He also bought fish from other vessels. He sold his catch from a horse and cart as far away as Monaghan and Baileborough.

Gillian’s Dad, Pat, and uncle’s Arthur and Joe, are still working with Morgan’s Fine Fish today. Joe Morgan is the main fish buyer.

Gillian says developing convenient pre-packed product is the route to success. “Consumers can be a little bit intimidated by fish. What they want is high quality, ready to cook fish meals that they can put into the oven for a delicious meal. “

Recently Morgan’s Fine Fish was awarded the prestigious Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM)- sponsored Seafood Innovation Award at Irish food awards’ event, Blas na hÉireann, for its popular salmon darnes topped with garlic and herb butter and wrapped with Irish chorizo ribbon. The product is sold as part of Dunnes Stores' premium 'Simply Better' range.

The award recognises excellence in seafood innovation through the entire supply chain from product creation to the use of process technology to developing new markets.

“We were so proud to get this award,” said Gillian. “The partnership with Dunnes has been fantastic. The award was a real example of how embracing innovation and new technologies to create fantastic new products can give a competitive advantage. And it also showed the importance of partnering with a national brand like Dunnes.”

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An Irish aquatech company which has developed cutting-edge technology to provide a groundbreaking solution to measuring nitrate in water has been announced as the winner of the inaugural BIM Aquatech Business of the Year.

Aquamonitrix, based in Carlow, delivers a dataset to the water industry on nitrates and nitrites that are toxic to fish, but which were previously impossible to measure in real time.

The company was announced as the BIM Aquatech Business of the Year at a conference in Killarney titled “Aquatech – Ireland’s Global Opportunity”. The conference followed a two-week BIM Innovation Studio delivered by aquaculture accelerator Hatch Blue and supported by the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.

Eight aquatech companies took part.

Mark Bowkett, Director of Aquamonitrix which has been named BIM Aquatech Business of the YearMark Bowkett, Director of Aquamonitrix which has been named BIM Aquatech Business of the Year

Aquamonitrix is an aquatech spin-out from the oil and environmental analysis company TE Laboratories, which started in 1991 carrying out fuel analysis. The company moved into environmental analysis and then developed a solution to monitoring water quality two years ago. Since then, the Aquamonitrix analyser has been bought by fish farms around the world.

Aquamonitrix Director, Mark Bowkett, said the company is delighted to be named the first BIM Aquatech Business of the Year. “This means a lot of us, especially as we are new to the aquaculture sector. Our participation in the BIM Innovation Studio Programme was a gamechanger, and helped us to develop this opportunity. It has been a steep learning curve. But the Innovation Studio helped us to determine that we had a value proposition for the aquaculture industry.”

Today the company employs more than 50 people and has customers from as far afield as Norway, the Netherlands and Canada.

Meanwhile, the conference heard that Ireland’s growing expertise in the developing aquatech sector means it has the potential to become a global leader in the field, with Irish aquatech companies turning over €200m last year.

BIM CEO Caroline Bocquel said over €15m has been invested in aquatech businesses and more than 200 high-tech jobs created in the sector over the last six years.

"Ireland has the potential to be the “Silicon Valley” of the aquatech world"

“Ireland is at a very exciting stage when it comes to aquatech. There are currently 62 aquatech companies operating here, all using technology to enable sustainable seafood farming at a time when the sector is facing many challenges.”

She added: “Ireland has the potential to be a world leader in aquatech and BIM is driving the sector’s development. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Food Vision 2030 strategy is to “promote Ireland as a knowledge base for aquaculture technology and research and attract external investment into the sector.”

Congratulating Aquamonitrix on the award, she said the company is an example of the energy, innovation and talent that exists in the aquatech sector today.

BIM’s Development and Innovation Director Richard Donnelly said: “The scale of the opportunity is enormous. We believe that with proper supports Ireland has the potential to be the “Silicon Valley” of the aquatech world."

"We are starting to see some very significant investments and some brilliant ideas. For example, the use of AI to monitor and provide early warnings on the health of aquaculture fish stocks. The BIM Innovation Studio, now in its 6th year, has played a major role in supporting companies in developing technology and guiding them on attracting investors and commercial scalability.”

The other two Aquatech Business of the Year finalists were Aqualicence, a marine and offshore windfarm consultancy firm supporting on all aspects of licensing applications and Konree Innovation, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to outsmart infestation by sea lice, a parasite that affects salmon and other fish.

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Ireland’s potential in “aquatech” is the theme of a Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) conference in Kerry today, when one of the keynote speakers will ask why there has been no innovation in this area here in the last two decades.

As The Irish Times reports, Australian marine biologist Neil Sims recalls a conference here on “farming the deep blue” in 2004, where he says that international participants were “blown away” by the enthusiasm and innovative spirit of their Irish counterparts.

A report commissioned by BIM and the Marine Institute for that conference had made an “overwhelming” case for developing and expanding offshore aquaculture.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had estimated two decades ago that the demand for fishery products would rise to 180 million tonnes by 2030. One of the report’s key conclusions was that finfish farming must move offshore for environmental reasons, including reduced impact on wild fisheries inshore.

Richard Donnelly, Development and Innovation Director of BIMRichard Donnelly, Development and Innovation Director of BIM

“I’d like to know what happened in Ireland since then,”Sims told The Irish Times, before travelling to Ireland, where he is one of several keynote speakers at the BIM conference in Killarney today.

Sims, a specialist in applied marine research, is based in Hawaii. His company, Ocean Era, has developed what is described as the first integrated hatchery and open ocean fish farm in North America.

“In the offshore aqua-technology space, I cannot think of one single innovation that has come out of Ireland in the last 20 years,” he says.

“It strikes me as disappointing, when the world desperately needs sustainable aquaculture, and when a number of leading environmental groups which had been having pitched battles over fish farming 20 years ago in the US now recognise that blue food is required and that a global climate crisis requires a softer planetary footprint,”Sims told the newspaper.

Ireland’s growing expertise in the developing aquatech sector means it has the potential to become a global leader in the field, with Irish aquatech companies turning over €200m last year, BIM has said..

Over €15m has been invested in aquatech businesses in the last six years, and more than 200 hi-tech jobs created in the sector, it says.

Aquatech is described as any technology or innovation driving sustainable seafood farming, and it can be applied progressively to the breeding, raising, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants.

Participants at “Aquatech – Ireland’s Global Opportunity” in the Brehon Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry include the Senior Vice President of the world’s first aquatech unicorn company, E-fishery; a US sustainable seafood expert; a global off-shore aquaculture pioneer, along with a host of Irish aquatech entrepreneurs, and representatives from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

BIM chief executive Caroline Bocquel said: “We have over 60 companies working in aquatech here, and the sector is worth about €200m. Hatch Blue, who we work closely with, is a major aquatech-focused venture capital firm based in Cork, which has already made Irish-based aquaculture investments."

"We’re starting to see some very significant investments and some brilliant ideas – for example, the use of AI to monitor and provide early warnings on the health of aquaculture fish stocks,” Bocquel said.

The conference is linked to the BIM Innovation Studio, an intensive two week no-fee programme that aims to develop the technological readiness, industry fitness and commercial scalability of emerging aquatech startups.

Funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and now in its sixth year, the initiative seeks out projects in Ireland and other European countries that aim to upscale the region’s aquaculture or alt-seafood industries.

To date, the total investment attracted is close to 50 projects and companies that have completed the Innovation Studio over the past six years – including 2023 - is €15.1M, with over 200 hi-tech jobs created, BIM says.

Several companies involved in this year’s Innovation Studio attended a delegation to Southeast Asia earlier this year with Hatch to grow their network and learn more about their potential market. The delegation has secured potential business opportunities on foot of this, BIM says.

The Innovation Studio supports the ambitious goals set out in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Food Vision 2030 Strategy, namely to ‘promote Ireland as a knowledge base for aquaculture technology and research and attract external investment into the sector’, BIM says.

Read The Irish Times report here

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Three Irish aquatech companies at the forefront of sustainable seafood farming have been named as finalists for the inagurual BIM Aquatech Business of the Year award. The winning company will be announced at the “Aquatech – Ireland’s Global Opportunity” conference in Killarney, Co. Kerry, on October 19.

The event will feature some of the world’s most renowned aquaculture experts who will be speaking on the latest trends in the industry.

The three finalists are Aquamonitrix, Aqualicence, and Konree Innovation.

Aquamonitrix, located in Co. Carlow, is led by CEO Mark Bowkett and offers a groundbreaking new analyzer for measuring nitrate and nitrite in fresh, saline, and waste-water.

Aqualicence, founded by Kate Dempsey and based in Co. Wicklow, is a marine and offshore windfarm consultancy firm that provides support for all aspects of licensing applications.

Konree Innovation, based in Co. Galway, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to combat sea lice infestation, a parasite that affects salmon and other fish and impacts production.

According to Richard Donnelly, Development and Innovation Director at BIM, there are currently 62 aquatech companies operating in Ireland, all using technology to enable sustainable seafood farming at a time when the sector is facing many challenges. Between them, these companies turned over €212 million last year.

“We believe that with proper support, Ireland has the potential to be the ‘Silicon Valley’ of the aquatech world," Donnelly said. He added that the three finalists are examples of the energy, innovation, and talent in the sector in Ireland.

The BIM Aquatech Business of the Year award is part of the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Aquatech Innovation Studio Programme in Kilorglin, which is being delivered by aquaculture accelerator Hatch Blue and supported by the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund. The program, now in its fifth year, provides emerging aquatech companies with support to develop their businesses.

The conference will feature industry leaders such as Kristen Virega, SVP Global Shrimp efishery, Neil Sims, Founder and CEO of Ocean Era, and Jennifer Bushman, Sustainable Aquaculture Strategist and Communicator. BIM CEO Caroline Bocquel will also be among the key speakers.

The panel discussion will focus on what’s required for Ireland to take advantage of the global opportunity in aquaculture, and how the ecosystem can be nurtured. Panellists include:

  • Antonios Chalaris, Aqua Business Manager of Devenish Nutrition, an agri-technology company based in Belfast.
  • Róisín O Shea, a Senior Investment Manager in the Food and Agri team at Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).
  • Fearghal O Donncha, a research scientist at IBM Research Europe. Research includes high-resolution modelling of coastal systems and data-driven management of fish farms and
  • Jennifer O Brien, CEO of food tech company Sea & Believe.
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One of Ireland’s oldest seafood businesses, Morgan’s Fine Fish, has been awarded the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Seafood Innovation Award for 2023.

The Co. Louth based company scooped the prestigious award for its popular salmon darne product, topped with garlic and herb butter and wrapped with Irish chorizo ribbon, which is sold under the Dunnes Stores premium ‘Simply Better’ range.

BIM CEO, Caroline Bocquel, announced the 163-year-old company, which is based in Omeath, as the winner of the prestigious award at the Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards in Dingle, Co. Kerry.

The Award recognises excellence in seafood innovation through the entire supply chain from product creation to the use of process technology to developing new markets.

Presenting the award, Ms Bocquel said: “In what is a very competitive space it is vital that our seafood processers are encouraged to be more innovative and to incorporate new technologies which result in a seafood product that attracts new markets and increases sales.”

“Morgan’s Fine Fish is a company with a rich heritage and with knowledge and experience passed down from generation to generation. But they have also embraced innovation and new technologies to create fantastic new products which are giving them a competitive advantage.”

She added: “In winning this award Morgan's clearly demonstrated knowledge of the basic concepts of food product development, supported by a dynamic business and marketing plan. They built a strong partnership with Dunnes Stores that allowed them reach high market penetration via Dunnes ‘Simply Better’ premium food range. The company has a significant production capacity, with strong financial and sales growth.”

Sales manager of Morgan’s Fine Fish, Gillian Morgan, said the company was honoured to win the prestigious award. “Blas na hÉireann is a true showcase for all Irish food producers and a celebration of the best of Irish food. To win here is fantastic.”

Gillian, a 5th generation of Morgan’s to work in the company, also thanked Dunne's Stores for their support. Morgan's has been selling various products in Dunne's under the "Simply Better" range for almost a year.

"This award is the culmination of hard work. It is important to keep innovating in what is a very competitive space," said Gillian.

In the last year Morgan’s Fine Fish has invested in an energy improvement scheme and packaging and smoking technologies with funding support from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, which is implemented by BIM.

Morgan’s Fine Fish were presented with a cheque for €800 and they also won €4,000 worth of BIM’s Seafood Innovation Hub assistance.

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