BIM Highlight Potential of Irish Seafood Sector at National Seafood Conference in Association with Seafest 2016, Galway

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) were delighted to be part of the annual maritime ‘SeaFest 2016’ event in Galway from the 30th June until the 3rd July.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) were delighted to be part of the annual maritime ‘SeaFest 2016’ event in Galway from the 30th June until the 3rd July. During the four day maritime festival, BIM successfully highlighted the importance of our seafood sector that contributes €1 billion in GDP to our economy, employs over 11,000 people directly and indirectly in our coastal communities and represents 70% of our overall Blue Economy valued at €1.4 billion.

Highlighting the business potential of seafood, BIM organised a high level National Seafood Conference ‘Global Insights, Irish Opportunity in the Radisson Hotel on the 30th June that attracted more than 300 delegates from fishing, processing and retail sectors. The overall tone for the event was one of greater inclusiveness and a collective determination to realise the full potential of Irish seafood. BIM ‘s CEO Tara McCarthy outlined the agency’s role in this change over the next five years; ‘Our priority is to provide industry with the supports to succeed not just in the short-term but to upskill and assist our seafood  producers to lay the foundation for future growth through a focused strategy on Skills, Sustainability, Innovation and Competitiveness. This is an exciting time to work in seafood. This was clear to see from the strong leadership and calibre of discussions at our conference from fishermen to seafood processors to retailers’

The implications of the UK referendum was one of the topics discussed at the conference in addition to structured breakout discussions on discards, careers at sea, maximising value and sustainability. International and Irish leaders in Agri-Business including thought leader Mary Shelman, Aidan O’Driscoll, Secretary General, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Malcolm Beveridge, Head of Aquaculture, FAO Rome, Ali Sheridan, Origin Green, Bord Bia and Jean Jacques Vandenheede, AC Nielsen Europe delivered valuable insights to industry with Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Michael Creed, T.D. closing the conference on a positive note detailing the significant investment of €241 million available to the seafood sector under the European Maritime Monetary Fund (EMFF) which will double development funding to the industry until the scheme ends in 2021.

Tara McCarthy, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) CEO; Ali Sheridan, Origin Green; Bord Bia, Malcolm Beveridge, Head of Aquaculture, FAO Rome; Jean Jacques VandenHeede, AC Nielsen Europe; Aidan O¿Driscoll, Secretary General, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Kieran Calnan, BIM Chairman; Mary Shelman, Agri-Business Thought Leader and Olivia O¿Leary, Conference moderator and broadcaster

The positivity continued with the Marine Industry Awards that evening. The awards are designed to recognise excellence throughout the diverse maritime sector from shipping to marine research to seafood and marine tourism. BIM was delighted to award the ‘Seafood Sustainability Award’ to Marine Harvest Ireland. As the only producer of organic salmon in the Marine Harvest Group, the company works to provide sustainable seafood of assured high quality and is a verified member of the Bord Bia Origin Green sustainability development programme.

The ‘Seafood Business Innovation Award’ sponsored by BIM was presented to Green Isle for their Donegal Catch Creations range. Donegal Catch “Creations” range is produced on an Ilapak Smart Flow wrapper. Countless hours and development took place between the team in Green Isle Seafood, Gurteen and Green Isle’s packaging suppliers Alert Packaging in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Richard McSweeney, Green Isle explains the process;

We wanted to develop a film that could be used both in the microwave and the oven whilst retaining the delicacy and flavour of the fish. With the help of Alert packaging, we engineered a dual oven-able product able to withstand temperatures of more than 250°C. We also wanted to give a sense of atmosphere and brand quality so we developed a printed pack highlighting the cooking instructions for ease of convenience for the consumer. Using this innovative packaging, the consumer can easily cook a beautiful piece of natural fish in the microwave in just 3 minutes at 800W or in the oven in 20 minutes at 200°C’

BIM was also very proud to receive the ‘Excellence in Marine Safety Award’ for the ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ national advertising and PR campaign launched in January this year. With 53 fishermen losing their lives at sea in the last ten years, the campaign was borne out of listening to many families who had endured the harrowing ordeal of losing a family member at sea. BIM is extremely grateful to those individuals who relayed their tragic experiences particularly David Massey and Gerard Copeland who bravely fronted the campaign. Featuring billboard, newspaper and radio ads in addition to an extensive PR campaign, BIM’s Live to Tell the Tale campaign resonated strongly with fishermen and their families. Almost 8 in 10 fishermen recalled our advertising campaign. Radio was spontaneously recalled by 44% of our target (compared to a norm of 17% for a utility provider promoting a safety message in this medium). Recall rose to 71% when the radio ad was played. 93% of fishermen thought our radio ad has a very strong or compelling message. “Always wear a PFD” was the clear message received by 77% followed by 21% for whom it was about “PFDs offering the best chance of survival”. There has been a 23.5% increase in the number of fishermen who enrolled for BIM’s Enhanced Safety Training in late January/February 2016 versus the same period in 2015.