3 December 2012
Twenty-one financiers, spanning three continents have now registered firm interest in the €60 million investment for the proposed deep sea organic salmon farm in Galway Bay. Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Irish seafood development agency, has applied for a licence for the development, which could create 500 jobs in the local area and generate a wage flow of €14.5 million per annum. The licence application is to farm up to 15,000 tonnes of organic salmon, a product for which Ireland is world-renowned and currently unable to satisfy demand.
Speaking about the proposed development, Jason Whooley, BIM’s CEO highlighted the impressive market growth figures for farmed salmon around the globe: ‘In a time of world recession, there are few products that can boast the market growth that farmed salmon is experiencing. The figures have shown a steady upward curve since 1997 and according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, this growth curve is likely to stay as world population increases. The latest figures (2011) show that the market growth for farmed salmon in the EU grew by 120,000 tonnes, an increase of 15%, the US market grew by 62,000 tonnes and the Russian market alone demanded an additional 36,000 tonnes of farmed salmon. I can’t think of any other food product showing such consumer demand in these difficult economic times. This is a really exciting opportunity for Ireland, who already holds the position as ‘world leader’ in organic farmed salmon.’
‘Investors from around the world are enquiring as to how soon we can progress this project. On the other side, we are receiving calls on a regular basis from people seeking employment on the proposed farm, many of them emigrants wanting to return home. This is an invaluable opportunity to create much needed jobs and wealth around our coast.’
The intention is to undergo a public tender process for the operation of the farm, leaving the licence itself in the hands of the State, ensuring it remains a valuable State-asset. The experience which can be drawn from the private sector allied to BIM’s expertise in the sector gives rise to confidence that the Galway Bay project has the potential to be one of the most exciting developments in the sector for many years.
Based on existing job creation in the salmon farming industry and specifically modelling from job creation in Ireland, the proposed development, when running at full capacity (most likely by year four) will create 350 jobs directly, rearing the juvenile fish, working on the farm at sea and the packing and processing of the salmon as they come ashore and are transported to market. A further 150 jobs would be created indirectly in the service sector – including the supply of fish feed, netting, transportation and a range of other services to the proposed unit.