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Trade in fish from the EU to Britain will be subject to a range of tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

But there will be zero tariffs for goods traded from the Republic to Northern Ireland under the temporary measures announced by the UK government this morning (Wednesday 13 March).

It follows the Commons defeat of Theresa May’s latest tabling of her Withdrawal Agreement deal, with MPs set to vote tonight on whether to rule out the no-deal Brexit option.

It is now proposed that should Britain leave the EU without a deal, no new customs checks or controls would be introduced on the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

However, tariffs would still apply on goods moving from the EU into the rest of Britain via Northern Ireland.

The new regime zero-rates tariffs across many imports into Britain after a no-deal Brexit. But agri-food products are among the listed exceptions, with a range of rates applying.

Fish and seafood will be subject to a range of import tariffs from 7.5% for frozen monkfish meat (excluding fillets) to 24% for prepared or preserved tuna (excluding bluefin).

A rate of 12% will apply to frozen crustaceans, while frozen fish will be hit with 8% charges, with fillets levied an extra percent.

The Irish Farmers’ Association has already branded the proposals as disastrous for Ireland’s agricultural industry, singling out beef as one of is “most exposed sectors”, as RTÉ News reports.

Published in Fishing

Later this week Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will lead Irish participation in Qingdao, China at the Seafood Expo, one of the largest seafood fairs in the world.

Irish seafood exports to China have grown rapidly to over €28 million last year, and there is potential for further growth. Up to 12 Irish seafood companies will be represented on the Origin Green Ireland stand.

This trade visit follows technical meetings to discuss meat market access held by DAFM officials in Beijing on Friday, and the Trade Mission to Indonesia and Malaysia led by Marine Minister Michael Creed, who also addressed the Our Ocean Conference in Bali last Monday.

“Market development, including understanding, accessing and growing new markets, is a key theme of our shared Food Wise 2025 strategy, and an important response to the challenges posed by Brexit,” Minster Doyle said.

Earlier in the week the minister will attend the CIIE (Chinese Import and Export Expo) in Shanghai. This Chinese government-led expo, to be opened by President Xi Jinping, is intended to serve as a showcase for China’s commitment to international trade.

The Irish delegation will be led by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and will feature a significant presence from Bord Bia and a total of 11 Irish meat and dairy companies.

Published in Fishing

#Seafood - Marine Minister Michael Creed has announced more than €1.5 million in grants to 20 seafood enterprises in 10 different counties around Ireland.

The grant awards — under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme for the seafood sector ad totalling €1,532,230 — will support total investment of €4,018,852 in the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors.

These grants are co-funded by Government of Ireland and the European Union and subject to terms and conditions.

“It is very encouraging to see a continued increase in investment in aquaculture and these investments will positively contribute to our sustainable growth targets for the sector,” Minister Creed said on launching the latest grants. “ It is also reassuring to see our fisheries cooperatives continuing to invest to position themselves to handle unwanted catches under the new CFP discards ban.

“Investing in our seafood sector increases jobs in rural and coastal communities – a priority for this Government. Furthermore the development of the innovation and value added capacity of the sector is key to mitigating the potential impacts of Brexit.”

The news comes just days after Minister Creed announced €1.5 million in funding for more than 100 coastal-based projects under the EMFF, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Fishing

#Seafood - Marine Minister Michael Creed has called for European Maritime & Fisheries Funding (EMFF) for small to medium enterprises in aquaculture and seafood processing to be continued post-2020.

Addressing the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers meeting in Luxembourg yesterday (Monday 18 June), the minister said: “Ireland expects to fully spend its 2014-2020 allocation and we foresee increasing investment opportunities and demands for the 2021-2027 period.

“I would like to highlight one particular area of initial concern that we have identified, namely the apparent proposal to restrict EMFF aid for capital investment in aquaculture and seafood processing to financial instruments only. Currently such a restriction applies to large scale operators only.

“The majority of our operators are small or medium enterprises. Depriving them of grant aid would have a very negative impact on our policy objectives to grow scale and add value in our processing and aquaculture sectors.

Minister Creed added: “While we are in favour of continued and increased use of financial instruments, we must continue to have recourse to grant aid where these are most appropriate.”

Published in Fishing

A garden that tells the story of how Irish seafood is being sustainably produced to help protect fish stocks, protect the marine environment and develop and sustain fisheries-dependent coastal communities in Ireland has been announced as the overall winner of Bloom 2018.

The Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Sustainable Seafood Garden was designed by contemporary garden designer Andrew Christopher Dunne, who drew inspiration from his home village of Clogherhead, Co Louth.

The decision was made following a two-day judging process with an independent panel of expert judges. The award was announced as Bord Bia opened its gates in Dublin's Phoenix Park this morning (Thursday 31 May).

BIM chief executive Jim O’Toole said: “All of us in BIM are thrilled that the Sustainable Seafood Garden has received this award today. This is BIM’s first time at Bloom and I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the creation of the garden.

“In particular, I want to applaud the dedication and vision of our garden designer, Andrew Christopher Dunne. From the outset, Andrew understood our aim to celebrate Ireland’s seafood sector in its entirety. He has impressed everyone with his incredible attention to detail to ensure that every plant, tree and feature within the garden is linked to our message of sustainability.”

The impressive marine garden set amongst two piers – old and new – representing the traditional and modern fishing industry includes plants and trees found along Ireland’s coastal areas, including wild flowers, ferns and grasses.

The centrepiece of the garden includes a large water feature with shimmering fish sculptures and an ‘upcycled’ fishing boat where some of Ireland’s leading fishmongers and chefs will be showcasing sustainably sourced seafood throughout the five-day event. The garden also includes furniture and features made from recycled materials.

“This has been a labour of love for me,” said garden designer Dunne. “I’m so proud to get this recognition for the garden. The theme has particular resonance for me as I’ve lived all of my life in a fishing village in Co Louth and I have a keen understanding of the importance of our seafood industry.”

Bloom 2018 officially opens today and runs until Monday 4 June.

Published in Fishing

#Seafood - Marine Minister Michael Creed has announced the award of a further €1,324,040 in grants to 19 seafood enterprises in nine different counties under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme for the seafood sector.

The grant awards will support total investment of €3.5 million in 2017. The grants are co-funded by the Exchequer and EU and subject to terms and conditions.

Minister Creed said: “In March, I announced EMFF grant awards of €1.8 million to seafood enterprises. I am delighted to now announce a further €1.3 million in EMFF grant awards to 19 seafood enterprises.

“It is especially welcome to see that aquaculture enterprises are dominating this round of grant awards. Grants of almost €1 million are being offered to 10 aquaculture enterprises. Nine of these will further develop our oyster production, while the other concerns mussels.

Taken together with the earlier awards in March, this means grant offers of nearly €2 million have already been made this year to 18 aquaculture enterprises and are supporting €5 million in aquaculture capital investments.

The minister added that the EMFF Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme “remains opens for applications and I am optimistic that we will see yet more aquaculture projects coming forward as the year progresses.

“The Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme supports capital investments in licensed aquaculture sites to grow our production and mitigate environmental impact. Our National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Aquaculture Development is aiming to sustainably grow our production by 45,000 tonnes and these 2017 projects are welcome contributions towards that target.”

Grant approvals - Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme

Beneficiary

County

Total Investment

Grant Approved

Sofi Shellfish Ltd

Mayo

€68,815

€27,526*

Caragh Clams Ltd

Kerry

€27,354

€10,941

Donegal Oysters Ltd

Donegal

€610,880

€244,352

Donegal Ocean Deep Oysters Ltd

Donegal

€809,553

€323,821

Iasc Sliogagh Dún Garbhain Teoranta

Waterford

€342,176

€186,870

Racoo Shellfish

Donegal

€119,700

€47,880

Coney Island Shellfish Ltd

Sligo

€93,300

€37,320

Turkhead Enterprises Ltd

Cork

€51,317

€20,527

Eoin Carter

Sligo

€84,052

€42,026

Ostre’an Teoranta

Donegal

€62,837

€25,135*

TOTAL

 

€2,269,984

€966,398

*         Subject to confirmation of SME status 

Grant approvals - Seafood Processing Capital Investment Scheme

Beneficiary

County

Total Investment

Grant Approved

Good Fish Processing Ltd

Cork

€505,000

€113,250

Keohane Seafoods Ltd

Cork

€211,948

€57,819

Carr & Sons Seafood Ltd

Mayo

€235,076

€64,446*

TOTAL

 

€952,024

€235,515

*         Subject to confirmation of SME status

Grant approvals - Seafood Scaling & New Market Development Scheme

Beneficiary

County

Total Investment

Grant Approved

Jade Ireland Seafood Ltd

Dublin, Donegal, Cork

€120,000

€60,000

TOTAL

 

€120,000

€60,000

Grant approvals - Seafood Innovation & Business Planning Scheme

Beneficiary

County

Total Investment

Grant Approved

Ocean Run Ltd

Cork

€6,650

€3,325

Biomarine Ingredients Ireland Ltd

Donegal

€40,000

€20,000

Shellfish De La Mer Ltd

Cork

€39,604

€19,802

Rene Cusack Ltd

Limerick

€10,000

€5,000

Goatsbridge Fish Processors Ltd

Kilkenny

€28,000

€14,000

TOTAL

 

€124,254

€62,127

Published in Fishing

#SeafoodExports - Food and Marine Minister Michael Creed and his Chinese counterpart have agreed an export certificate which will permit the resumption of live crab exports to the critically important Chinese market.

The Irish seafood sector has been extremely anxious to resolve a number of certification issues which have hampered the trade, and exports are expected to resume in the very near future, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

The agreement was one of a number of issues settled between Minister Creed and Zhi Shuping, China’s minister with responsibility for the Chinese Quarantine and Inspection Service, during their meeting in Dublin this week at which they signed a landmark protocol for seafood, beef and thoroughbred horse exports.

The meeting on Tuesday (18 April) was the second formal bilateral meeting of the two ministers and comes after Minister Creed’s discussions with Minister Zhi in Beijing last September.

Commenting on the meeting, Minister Creed said: “China is now such an important partner for Ireland on agri-food issues and is our third largest trading partner in this sector,” said Minister Creed on the meeting, adding that the protocol signing “marks the culmination of intensive political, technical and diplomatic engagement with the Chinese authorities.

“I look forward to moving forward with the next steps as quickly as possible”

Irish agri-food exports to China have increased from some €240 million in 2012 to €780 million in 2016, a three-fold increase. This makes China the third largest market for Ireland’s agri-food sector in value terms after the UK and US for last year.

Published in Fishing

#Brexit - Marine Minister Michael Creed yesterday (Wednesday 1 February) hosted a sectoral dialogue focused on the seafood sector and the potential impacts it could face from Brexit.

Opening the dialogue, Minister Creed highlighted the importance of ensuring that the Irish seafood sector is protected during Brexit negotiations.

“The key challenge for this Government,” he said, “will be to ensure that fisheries concerns and those of the wider seafood sector are high on the EU agenda and that our sector is not separated from the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship.”

Minister Creed went on to say that for the Irish seafood sector, Brexit “poses a very particular set of serious threats over and above the trade implications common to most sectors.

“That is not to underplay the importance of a good trade outcome for the seafood sector but rather to emphasise the reality that this sector faces challenges that are unique.”

The minister explained that those threats were potential loss of access to fishing grounds in the UK zone and possible attempts by the UK to increase its current quota share at the expense of Ireland and others.

He added that “any changes to existing rights for the Irish and EU catching sector must be resisted strenuously.”

Speaking following the event, which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel at Dublin Airport, Minister Creed commended the high turnout from the Irish seafood sector.

“Today’s turnout and active engagement by stakeholders from across the sector demonstrates the desire of all to pull together in the effort to protect Irish interests as we enter Brexit negotiations.

“I want to thank all concerned for their very positive contribution to what was a very engaging afternoon, and to assure them once again that their concerns and ideas will be taken on board.”

The sectoral dialogue saw a number of presentations by key sector stakeholders, followed by detailed discussions covering access rights, management of shared stocks, trade and aquaculture issues.

“Today was another important step in the ongoing journey we have all been engaged in since the June referendum in the UK. namely understanding and preparing for all of the possible implications arising from Brexit,” said Minister Creed.

“We still don’t know what exactly the UK will seek but the deeper our understanding of the issues, the better prepared we all will be for the challenges ahead.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, concern is spreading across Ireland’s fishing industry over the impact of Brexit on Irish fishing grounds and international seafood markets.

Published in Fishing

#Seafood - A Howth-based seafood company is hoping to broaden Irish people’s taste for fish beyond the usual salmon, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Winners of the recent BIM National Seafood Award for Innovation in Seafood Processing, Oceanpath teamed up with Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny seven years ago, seeing opportunity in an underdeveloped market for Irish trout.

The key, according to Oceanpath’s commercial director Ken Ecock, was to come up with a product that adhered to the same qualities that people expect from their salmon fillets: reasonably priced, easy to cook, and free of bones.

Supermarket promotions to demonstrate the taste, as well as quick and easy recipes and products such as smoked trout and even pate, have also helped the Irish public gradually come round to a homegrown fish that’s usually imported from elsewhere in Europe to our fish counters.

And as salmon prices rise over high demand and supply challenges, the trout option is growing ever more attractive for the Irish fish supper.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, announced the winners of the first ever BIM National Seafood Awards held on Thursday 17th November 2016 at a Gala Awards event in the Clayton Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin.

Out of 38 finalists shortlisted across the areas of Skills, Sustainability, Innovation and Competitiveness, twelve winners received awards for their outstanding contributions to the fishing, fish farming, seafood processing and retail sectors at a ceremony officially opened by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Michael Creed, T.D.

BIM’s CEO Tara McCarthy outlined the rationale behind the awards; ‘The Irish Seafood Sector contributes €1 billion in GDP to our economy and employs over 11,000 people predominantly in our coastal regions. The BIM National Seafood Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate the positive contribution of this valuable indigenous industry and recognize excellence and leadership across this diverse sector. It is an exciting time to work in seafood and the high standard demonstrated by our winners and all of our finalists bodes well for the future as we collectively aim to achieve growth as set out in the Government’s Food Wise 2025 plan’

The winners represent a wide geographical spread including three from Donegal; two each are from Cork and Dublin while Kerry, Kilkenny, Louth, Mayo, Waterford and Wexford each had one winner on the night.

Included in the list of winners are two talented young fishmongers; Stephen Hurley from The Fish Shop, Union Hall, Co. Cork and Eimantas Zvirblis from Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, Co. Dublin who have won the coveted title of BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year (Independent Seafood Specialist) and (Supermarket Seafood Counter).

The full list of winners from the first ever BIM National Seafood Awards are:

Category: Skills
· Student of the Year: Barry Shaw (Killybegs, Co. Donegal)

· Young Fishmonger of the Year (Independent Seafood Specialist): Stephen Hurley, The Fish Shop, Glenmar Shellfish, Union Hall, West Cork

· Young Fishmonger of the Year (Supermarket Seafood Counter): Eimantas Zvirblis, Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, Co. Dublin

Category: Sustainability
· Responsible Fisherman of the Year: Jim Connolly, Supreme II, Clogherhead. Co. Louth

· Aquaculture Environmental & Social Responsibility Award: Blackshell Farm, Newport, Co. Mayo

· Green Processor of the Year: Island Seafoods Ltd, Killybegs, Co. Donegal

Category: Innovation
· Best New Fishing Practice: Foyle Warrior Ltd, Greencastle, Co. Donegal

· Innovation in Aquaculture: Dungarvan Shellfish Ltd, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford

· Innovation in Seafood Processing: Oceanpath/Dunn’s of Dublin (Howth, Co. Dublin) & Goatsbridge Trout Farm (Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny)

Category: Competitiveness:
· Fishing Enterprise of the Year: DC Fish Ltd (Union Hall, Cork)

· Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year: Kush Seafarms Ltd, Kenmare, Co. Kerry

· Seafood Enterprise of the Year: Sofrimar, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford

Establishing leaders in the sector is a key priority for BIM and the final award of the evening, the BIM Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to the family of a true leader in his field, the late Mr. Martin Howley, as BIM Chairman Kieran Calnan explains; ‘Martin exemplified everything you need to be a great leader. He led by example starting as a fisherman in Killybegs in the 1970’s rising to become a pioneering mackerel Skipper then a successful businessman and a great leader in the fishing industry. His passion, energy and innovative spirit were a unifying and driving force. Martin is a most worthy recipient of the BIM Lifetime Achievement Award’

BIM also introduced an exciting new brand identity to Industry at the event. Grounded in BIM’s plans to enable progress in the seafood sector under its four key priorities – Skills, Sustainability, Innovation and Competitiveness, this fresh and vibrant new look for one of Ireland’s longest established state agencies, is consistent with its vision for ‘Ireland to become the International leader in high value differentiated seafood products that satisfy growing domestic and international demand for nutritious, safe and responsibly and sustainably produced food’.

Details on BIM National Seafood Award 2016 winners:

SKILLS
Student of the Year - Barry Shaw, Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Barry Shaw is from Corkermore, Killybegs, Co. Donegal. He has completed his ‘Class 3 Certificate in Competency in Engineering’ at the National Fisheries College, Greencastle and is now serving his sea time on board a fishing vessel. Prior to the course Barry was serving his apprenticeship as a refrigeration engineer. He was always interested in fishing vessels so decided to further his career and knowledge of engines by doing the course at Greencastle. He loves doing his sea time on board the vessel “Ocean Fresh” and is just back from a trip off the coast of Africa. He said the travelling is fascinating as he is seeing parts of the world he has never seen before.

BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year:
a. Independent Seafood Specialist - Stephen Hurley

Stephen has worked at Glenmar Shellfish/The Fish Shop in Union Hall, Co. Cork for the past 10 years and lives overlooking Union Hall pier in West Cork. Stephen’s interest in the sea began as a young boy and, as a teenager, he became a crew man on a shrimp boat hauling shrimp pots every morning with his neighbour. Stephen prides himself on stocking locally caught fish and shellfish in store. On any given day he has upwards of 25 different species of fish and shellfish. He is in a unique position as he is on first name terms with the skippers and crews and can tell a customer exactly where their fish was caught and by who. www.glenmarshellfish.com/

b. Supermarket Seafood Specialist - Eimantas Zvirblis

Eimantas Zvirblis works in Donnybrook Fair’s flagship store in Malahide which opened last Christmas. His passion in life is fish and realised he had a skill in this area when working for the Dublin Smoked Fish company in 2010. He also previously worked in Nicky’s Plaice in Howth, where he developed his customer service skills.
Donnybrook Fair has a large range of seafood on its counter including whole fish, fillets, shellfish, smoked fish, marinade fish, and ready-to-cook fish. Eimanatas particularly enjoys sharing fish recipes with his customers. He believes in his product and eats fish seven days a week. ‘Many of my colleagues in Donnybrook Fair are now eating more fish and many customers are telling me that they are eating more fish too. I believe that spreading this passion is a very important part of being a fishmonger’, Eimantas says. www.donnybrookfair.ie/Malahide

SUSTAINABILITY
Responsible Fisherman of the Year - Jim Connolly, Supreme II
Jim Connolly owns and skippers the “MFV Supreme II” which is based at Clogherhead, Co. Louth. He is a board member of Clogherhead Fishermans Co-Op and has been pro-active in undertaking a number of sustainability initiatives to deliver on targets for the Bord Bia Origin Green programme. The “MFV Supreme II” was one of the first vessels to sign up for BIM’s Fishing for Litter trial and Jim participated in a radio documentary, “Fishing for Litter”. He also participates in BIM’s net recycling programme and works closely with Clogherhead Development Group on recycling.
“MFV Supreme II” has its crew welfare as a priority. Jim is committed to the safety and comfort of his crew and the crew s of his fellow vessels in the Clogherhead fleet. He has been instrumental in putting a Co-Op fork lift in other ports where the Co-Op fleet works to assist crews with heavy lifting tasks. He is monitoring the vessel’s fuel efficiency. Jim also organised and designed stretching posts in the hall on the pier to ensure the gear is “weighted” for fuel efficiency – this also reduces the need for excessive use of fork lifts.

Aquaculture, Environmental and Social Responsibility Award - Blackshell Farm
Blackshell Farm is based in Westport, Co. Mayo and has been producing certified organic rope-grown mussels since 1983. They run a marine cargo service servicing the west coast of Ireland and also produce knitted mussel cotton. Blackshell uses only biodegradable and reusable materials to grow their mussels. Director Michael Mulloy is the current Chair of the Irish Shellfish Association, is a director of Clew Bay Oyster Co-Op (since 1988) and is a member of the Clew Bay CLAMS (Co-ordinated Local Aquaculture Management Scheme) group. He also has been a member of a national committee established by BIM to create a mussel quality scheme. Blackshell is certified by Organic Trust Ltd as an organic mussel grower, conforms rigidly to national sampling and monitoring programmes operated by the Marine Institute and the SFPA. They also participated in the ECOpact initiative run by BIM. Blackshell commissioned and expanded a knitting plant in Westport for biodegradable mussel stocking. They continually seek to achieve maximum return from the mussel biomass on their growing sites by ensuring they have optimum density of mussels on the rope. Blackshell monitor fuel usage closely and calculated that only 1 litre of fuel is required to produce 95kg of market size mussels. All product is delivered by sea to the onshore processing plant, eliminating the need for heavy goods vehicle movements on narrow local roads. www.blackshell.ie

Green Processor of the Year - Island Seafoods Ltd
Island Seafoods is a family-owned and run business based just outside Killybegs, Co. Donegal. A verified member of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme, their fish are fully traceable from “net to fork” and are caught in the North East Atlantic. Island Seafoods was the first company in Ireland to be RSS (Responsibly Sourced Standard) certified by BIM. Managing Director, Mick O’Donnell has been responsible for and integral in driving the green initiative within Island Seafoods. The company has a “squeaky clean carbon footprint” they say as they have their own Hydro-electric plant which saves over 350 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. They are also moving into wind energy.
Their state-of-the-art waste water treatment plant was commissioned in 1996 and is now seen as the standard for the industry. They also treat wastewater for other businesses in the area. In recent years, they have focused on improving efficiencies within the plant and their Green Team meet regularly to progress this. Energy is managed as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Island Seafoods is certified organic by Bio Suisse and Naturland. www.islandseafoodsltd.ie

INNOVATION
Innovation in Aquaculture – Dungarvan Shellfish Ltd
Dungarvan Shellfish is owned by the Harty Family in Dungarvan. an oyster farm producing up to 500 tonnes of Gigas oysters each year. The company buys 20 million oyster seed per year which is usually purchased from hatcheries in France at 6mm. This seed however was suffering a high level of mortality (up to 50%) and it was difficult to get it at the right size and time needed.

To overcome these problems Dungarvan Shellfish set up their own nursery. They started importing seed at 1.5mm instead of 6mm and growing it up to 8mm within only six weeks. After two years of using this new method mortality rates are down 15% and the shape of the oyster has improved.
The cost of buying smaller seed is considerably cheaper. The nursery system that Dungarvan Shellfish has installed is very economical to run and profits have increased considerably. The company plans to make the nursery self-sufficient in seed input and to be in a position to supply other producers with excess seed stock. www.hartyoysters.com

Best New Fishing Practice Award - Foyle Warrior Ltd
Foyle Warrior, based in Greencastle, Co. Donegal, has introduced new mesh netting on its vessel the Foyle Fisher, in a mixed demersal fishery in the Celtic Sea. The introduction of the new T90 mesh has resulted in major reductions in catches of undersize whiting therefore complying with new regulations. Traditionally the Foyle Fisher was using 80mm diamond mesh netting when targeting whiting. The new T90 comprises diamond mesh rotated 90 degrees which results in increased mesh openings in the cod-end. This has reduced catches of below market size by 60%. The quality of the catch is also greatly improved and the crew has to spend less time picking and sorting the catch.
Less time spent handling the catch means more time fishing and greater profitability. Substantial improvements in fish quality also add value to the catch.

Foyle Warrior say the cost of introducing T90 was low and can therefore be adopted by the industry. The company is constantly looking for new ways to catch the right sort of fish and improve the quality of the catch.

Innovation in Seafood Processing: Oceanpath Dunn’s of Dublin and Goatsbridge Trout
The innovation was a coming together of Oceanpath Dunn’s of Dublin a seafood processor, with Goatsbridge Trout, a trout farmer, to develop the market for Irish Trout in Ireland. Both companies saw an opportunity to develop sales for trout in a seafood market that was dominated by salmon.

The initial innovation was developing a fixed weight boneless trout fillet for sale on fish counters. Following on from this both companies realised there was an opportunity to develop ready to eat trout products. The first product developed was a cold smoked trout which is now available in all major retailers and is generating retail sales of approximately €400k per annum.

Following on from the success of this product a bbq trout and smoked trout pate were launched. The trout pate has been a fantastic success adding €100k worth of retail sales. Goatsbridge is now a well known brand in seafood and has grown sales of Irish trout significantly. The products have also won Great Taste Awards and Blas na hEireann awards. www.oceanpath.ie

COMPETITIVENESS
Seafood Enterprise/Entrepreneur of the Year -Lorcan Barden & Leslie Bates, Sofrimar Ltd
Lorcan Barden and fellow director, Leslie Bates acquired Sofrimar in 2,000 via a management buyout. Both directors are very strongly committed to ongoing education, upskilling and training for themselves and their staff. Sofrimar invests heavily in the best available technology for the seafood sector and this, combined with a strong focus on staff development, new product development, market expansion and operational excellence has seen a strong growth in turnover, profitability and employment for the company.

A member of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme, Sofrimar’s commitment to sustainability was recognised earlier this year when it won the “Green Seafood Business Award”. Sofrimar supports co-opetition and worked in partnership with other seafood companies to access international markets including China (where they opened an office in Shanghai), Hong Kong, Taiwan, Spain and Portugal. Sofrimar employs 134 people and has increased both turnover and employee numbers threefold since 2009. www.sofrimar.ie

Fishing Enterprise of the Year - DC Fish Ltd
DC Fish is owned and managed by the Deasy family who operate a successful seafood business model that offers a ‘frozen at sea’ product range to domestic retail and export driven wholesale seafood business. The company employs nine staff and has an annual turnover of over €1.8 million.
A significant but focused investment in facilities by DC Fish in recent years enabled under-utilised whitefish product to be frozen at sea and supplied to a developing and growing domestic market. In addition, frozen prawn products were tailored to the domestic retail and food service market. The company was one of the early adopters of the ‘frozen at sea’ method and have proven that there is significant scope to improve the profitability in both the catching and processing sectors via this process.

DC Fish has formed a partnership with a local businessman and opened a fish retail premises in nearby Rosscarbery – Fish Seafood Deli. The business employs 11 full-time staff and 10 part-time staff and has gone from being a retail operation to selling fresh directly to hotels and restaurants and from two mobile units. The company has also developed a range of seafood products which they launched into 20 Super Valu stores in recent months. www.dcfish.net

Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year Award - Kush Seafarms Ltd
Kush Seafarms was established in June 1987 and is a family-run business based in Kenmare, Co. Kerry. It is Ireland's first organise rope mussels producer and specialises in the export of shellfish globally with particular emphasis on Europe.
The lack of a functioning licensing system and dependence on the commodity outlets for its products meant that Kush struggled to find growth in the sector. In 2009 they devised a new strategy based on innovation, value-added and partnerships. In June of the same year, Kush was the first Irish company to secure organic certification. They then, uniquely for the sector, approached the rope mussel processing sector vis-à-vis outsourcing. In 2010, working with Carr Shellfish Ireland, they launched an organic vacuum pack mussel at Biofach (the world’s leading trade fair for organic food). Contracts with companies in Switzerland and France followed and they are currently working on the US market. Kush decided there was potential in the premium rope mussel IQF meat product and agreed an outsourcing arrangement in Holland in 2011. Despite the growth, employment figures have remained stable thanks to increased mechanisation and the company is profitable.
www.kush.ie
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – MARTIN HOWLEY
Martin Howley was born in Castleconnor on the Mayo/Sligo border in 1952. At 17, his school had a visit from BIM as part of a promotional campaign to recruit young men to the fishing industry. Martin immediately set off for Killybegs to begin his career. In the course of his apprenticeship Martin fished on several boats and in 1980 he joined Skipper John Bach as Mate on the MFV Western Viking, Killybegs Fishing Enterprise’s first RSW vessel. In 1981 Martin graduated to Skipper when the company purchased the MFV Jasper Sea and so began the phenomenally successful partnership of these two vessels and their skippers. In recent years Martin was joint owner of MFV Atlantic Challenge along with other vessels.
Martin was a board member of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation since it was founded in 1979 and became a well-known figure in Brussels where he fought unswervingly for all Irish fishermen. His final project as KFO member was his involvement in the setting up the Bio-Marine Ingredients Ireland plant in Killybegs. This work is ongoing and is a perfect example of the broad vision of a man who could see the benefits of combining the health supplement industry with a fisheries product

Published in Fishing
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