24 January 2011
Ireland's wealth of top class seafood restaurants and retail outlets received a ringing endorsement from BIM, the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, today (Monday 24 January 2011) as the BIM Seafood Circle 2011 Award winners and coveted membership places were announced by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Mr. Seán Connick, T.D. Almost 200 Seafood Circle members for 2011 were listed in addition to Quinlan's Kerry Fish in Tralee winning the Seafood Specialist of the Year Award, Scally's SuperValu, Clonakilty winning Supermarket Seafood Counter of the Year and Fishy Fishy Café in Kinsale banking Seafood Restaurant of the Year 2011.
The Seafood Circle was developed by BIM to support and champion retail and hospitality outlets that continually offer excellent quality seafood and service to their customers. The Seafood Circle plaque is presented to members on an annual basis and BIM encourage customers to seek outlets with this badge of honour in order to be assured of the best seafood available.
Announcing the 2011 membership on behalf of BIM, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr. Seán Connick, T.D. congratulated all who had retained their membership as well as the 41 newcomers to the Seafood Circle. "The fact that the Seafood Circle is growing despite the stringent criteria that need to be met in order to gain membership is inspiring. It highlights that many seafood retailers and hospitality outlets are striving to go that extra mile to ensure customers have the best seafood experience possible and that quality and attention to detail do not need to be compromised even in these demanding economic times."
The stringent criteria that need to be met in order to gain membership extend well beyond providing the customer with excellent seafood. Outlets also have to demonstrate to independent assessors that they have superior knowledge of their product offering, have excellent customer service skills and comply with the strictest storage, handling and presentation requirements.
Due to the enormous success of the Seafood Circle since it's inception in 2001, the categories have expanded to include retail members covering Supermarket Seafood Counters and Seafood Specialists. In 2011, all of the Superquinn counters retained membership and Supervalu seafood counters nationwide are now on board. In addition the hospitality sector now boast 99 members and are independently assessed by experienced food writer, Georgina Campbell, author of Georgina Campbell's Ireland, The Guide. A key focus for the 2011 hospitality membership is whether the establishment is viewed primarily as a 'seafood destination'.