Young Fishmonger 2015 Annouced by Seafood Development Agency, BIM


young-fishmonger-2015Encouraging Future for the Industy as Loose Fish Sales Increase by 7.9% to a Value of  €41 Million.

L to R: Donal Buckley, Business Development & Innovation Director, BIM; Gerard Collier, Fisherman’s Catch, Clogherhead winner of the Young Fishmonger of the Year Competition 2015 and Martin Shanahan, Fishy Fishy Restaurant, Kinsale and TV broadcaster

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency today (Monday, 24th November 2014) announced Gerard Collier of Fisherman’s Catch, Clogherhead, Co. Louth as the overall winner of the BIM Young Fishmonger 2015 competition at an awards event in the Radisson St. Helen’s Hotel, Stillorgan, Co. Dublin.

Gerard was selected as winner from a shortlist of five finalists, all of whom demonstrated to the judges,an exceptional high standard in technical expertise, product knowledge and customer service. Martin Shanahan, owner of Fishy Fishy Café & Restaurant, author and TV broadcaster was guest speaker at today’s event, where he congratulated the finalists and commended their passion for the seafood business.

This is the second year of the BIM Young Fishmonger Awards, developed by BIM to recognise and reward young fishmongers with a view to encouraging new entrants into the business and to ultimately raise the bar across the sector. Speaking at the awards ceremony today, Donal Buckley, BIM’s Business Development & Innovation Director said; ‘Our role, as the Seafood Development Agency, is to develop the retail trade in terms of seafood presentation, training and food safety management. We see this initiative as an exciting component of this strategy. The sector is benefiting from an increase in sales in the last year with loose fish now accounting for 33.3% of total fresh fish sales. This is extremely positive for the 500 fishmonger businesses and supermarket seafood counters around Ireland and we look forward to working closely with the industry to assist them to take full advantage of this demand. All of our finalists were exceptional throughout every stage of the competition and they should be very proud of their achievements. Congratulations to our worthy winner Gerard Collier and his colleagues at Fisherman’s Catch, I hope this experience and the competition prize fund allows you to further develop what is a very successful family business’

As overall winner of the competition, Gerard will be offered a study trip to France, a cheque for €1,000 and along with the other finalists he will benefit from a free placement on BIM’s retail development workshops, a set of professional knives and a specially designed trophy. As part of their prize, all of the finalists have already enjoyed an inspiring masterclass in seafood cookery with Martin Shanahan.

The competition judges put the finalists through their paces with three different stages of scoring, including two unannounced visits to their shops to assess product knowledge and customer service and a practical test where they were asked to fillet and prepare a range of fish and shellfish for customer use under time constraints.Finalists were also required to discuss their plans, opportunities and challenges for their business. Throughout all the stages, the judges were very impressed with the knowledge, skills and commitment demonstrated by all the finalists.

BIM’s Young Fishmonger 2014 winner, James Kirwan of East Coast Seafood, Naas, Co. Kildare explained how the accolade has helped his business; ‘Winning the BIM Young Fishmonger competition really helped me develop my business in terms of new innovative product ranges. The prize fund from the competition allowed me to install a new kitchen production unit in the shop and as a result we are producing an extensive range of value added products in-store including Mediterraneanfish soup, salmon burgers, smoked mackerel pate, fish pies and fish cakes as well as crusts, sauces and toppings. The study trip to France was a real learning curve for me in terms of understanding customers’ preferences. I would like to congratulate Gerard and all the finalists on their achievements and wish them a very busy lead up to the Christmas season’

The awards are timely given the encouraging performance of the seafood market in the last 12 months and in particular fresh fish sales. According to BIM commissioned research by Kantar World Panel, fresh fish sales are valued at €122 million and have increased by 1.4% year on year. Fresh fish accounts for 63.7% of total fish sales which are valued at €192 million. Of these fresh fish sales, fish purchased from a fish counter is valued at €41 million and sales have increased by 7.9% year on year, accounting for 33.3% of total fresh fish sales. This is largely due to customers purchasing fish more frequently and paying higher prices.

In terms of the most popular fish species; salmon, cod and prawns are well established on the Irish market and are retaining their place as the top three species followed by mackerel. However, hake has grown in popularity with sales have increased year on year from a low base and it is now the 5th most purchased fish species.

The other finalists in BIM’s Young Fishmonger 2015 competition are:

Follow BIM’s social media pages for regular updates and to support and hear more about the winner and the finalists.