Against a background of challenging global and domestic market conditions, in the last three years Ireland’s seafood sector achieved 38% growth in exports and is now attracting increased investor interest, the Irish Sea Fisheries chief told delegates attending the Global Cork Economic Forum today (Thursday 17 October 2013, City Hall, Cork).
Speaking at the Forum, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Chief Executive, Jason Whooley said:
“The reality is that the Irish seafood industry can and will continue to perform. In 2010/11 Irish seafood exports grew by 13%, by 2011/12 that figure grew to 20% and 2013 is set to deliver a further increase to an industry which last year alone generated seafood sales in excess of €845 million. These figures show an industry well on track to hit its 2013-2017 objectives of creating 1,200 jobs and generating seafood sales of over €1 billion. But the reality also highlights that these targets are now dependent on the need for BIM and the industry to accelerate increased investment in the sector”.
BIM, in partnership with industry, has been advocating strategic partnerships which the Agency is confident it can deliver through its new corporate strategy “Capturing Ireland’s Share of the Global Seafood Opportunity”.
Mr Whooley added:
“We only have to look to the success that a number of Irish seafood companies have secured through the type of new joint venture partnerships now very much central to BIM’s strategic thinking. Such joint ventures were significant contributors to the increase in Irish seafood exports to China which increased in 2012 alone by a staggering 80%.”
While the roll-out of these strategic investor partnerships is still in its early stages, Forum delegates heard how initial investor soundings were decidedly encouraging for the industry. Serious investment opportunities are arising as a result of the opportunities being presented by the deep-sea organic salmon farm proposed for Galway Bay for which BIM has applied to become a licensed developer. With the potential to create upwards of 500 jobs and inject €14.5 million into the local economy, the proposed farm is attracting major attention from potential investors with up to 21 financiers, spanning three continents, having already confirmed their interest in the €60 million investment.
“The need and opportunity for investment in the Irish seafood industry is clear. Galway is only one case in point, we are also examining a similar site off the Mayo coast. BIM and the industry are seeking investors with whom they can work to grow a thriving seafood industry. Our message to investors is clear – we are ready and open for business. We are a high potential, high return business. Let’s capitalise on the undoubted market opportunities together as we maximise Ireland’s ability to perform as a major global seafood player”.
Read BIM’s new corporate strategy Capturing Ireland’s Share of the Global Seafood Opportunity