Bold Vision For Irish Seafood Sector Set Out At Bord Iascaigh Mhara Conference

(Wednesday, 13th May 2015) Ireland’s seafood industry has the potential to reach €2 billion in total seafood sales by 2025by increasing scale, innovation andthe recruitment of new talent according to Eddie Power, CEO, Green Isle Foods as he addressed seafood leaders and investors at a BIM organised ‘Leadership and Scale’conference in Killashee House Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare today.

13 May 2015

  • Food Industry Leader Calls on Irish Seafood Companies to Adapt and Develop to Achieve €2 billion seafood sales by 2025
  • BIM to Deliver €1 billion investment package to Drive Seafood Innovation
  • Irish Seafood Sales to Asia up 24% and expected to grow a further 30% this year

(Wednesday, 13th May 2015) Ireland’s seafood industry has the potential to reach €2 billion in total seafood sales by 2025by increasing scale, innovation andthe recruitment of new talent according to Eddie Power, CEO, Green Isle Foods as he addressed seafood leaders and investors at a BIM organised ‘Leadership and Scale’conference in Killashee House Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare today.

Eddie Power, CEO, Green Isle Foods set out a bold vision for the sector proposing to achieve €2 billion in total sector revenue by 2025 through the development of major seafood companies in Ireland, underpinned by a Strategic Irish Invest Fund; ‘From a personal perspective, the Irish seafood industry is not taking advantage of the current opportunity for expansion. With a fragmented industry made up of mostly small companies, we are not at the races in comparison to other food sectors. Now is the time for seafood leadership and I envisage two options that will develop the sector substantially by 2015; greater consolidation via Voluntary Sectoral Clusters or Sectoral Champions enabled by the relevant state agencies to expand and develop our export business’

Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Tom Hayes,T.D. emphasised the potential for the Irish seafood industry in the years ahead; ‘The Seafood Industry is facing an exciting future with significant growth potential as global demand for healthy proteins increase particularly in Asia, where Irish Seafood has achieved a phenomenal 24% lift in sales. To assist industry to take advantage of this opportunity for growth, we have made €41.3 million available to the Irish Seafood Processing sector. The measures include; capital grants for increased output and added value; business planning and management skills; up-scaling of businesses to promote efficiencies; innovation and adding value and seafood marketing’

Encouraged by a motivational breakfast briefing from Kilkenny hurling Manager Brian Cody and expertly chaired by well-known economist David McWilliams; delegates also gained insights and learnings on family succession and producer-led cooperatives from leaders from the food and fisheries sectors including Vincent Carton, CEO, Manor Farm Poultry and Stephen Cameron, Scottish Shellfish.

Mr Carton discussed family succession, a topic that is of particular relevance to the Irish processing sector with the majority of businesses operating as family run enterprises; ‘Our family business is 2015 celebrates its 240 year anniversary. Succession through eight generations was haphazard and unplanned and the company, family and individual family members paid for that lack of preparation. Through learnings from other Irish family businesses succession for the ninth generation has been thought through and is actively managed. In a family business, business comes first before family. The family set values and purpose for the business and then choose and support the nominated leader to carry on the passion’

Attracting the right skillsets and talent to the sector is paramount to the future of the industry and in addition to a range of supports in innovation and business development, BIM has prioritised these areas under its corporate strategy ‘Capturing Ireland’s Share of the Global Seafood Opportunity’ as Donal Buckley, BIM’s Business Development & Innovation Director explains; ‘As Irish seafood sales reach €520 million and global demand for quality seafood is expected to reach 32 million tonnes by 2030, we need to build scale and resources to meet this demand. Currently we are only processing 20% of the available catch on our doorstep. We have the capacity to attract a greater volume of international landings into Ireland and in tandem we need to add value by developing innovative technology and marketing skills. BIM has a €1 million investment package in place this year to assist industry in this regard including 50% grant aid investment to support new product development and 40% investment per collective for common joint ventures and market development. Our Graduate Mentoring programme is delivering real results with a number of talented young professionals receiving placements in our seafood companies here today. We are confident this renewed focus on innovation and talent can build scale resulting in increased sales and employment for what is a vibrant and resourceful industry’