Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, is delighted to announce the winners of the first ever BIM National Seafood Awards this evening (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:
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- 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’.