Building a greater appreciation for Irish seafood, our producers and educating the public on its provenance was a key objective for BIM at this year’s SeaFest event that took place at the docks in Galway on the 2nd and 3rd July. Taking place in an eye catching ‘Big Top’, BIM’s Seafood Experience attracted more than 15,000 people over the two days.
All of BIM’s exhibits were designed to capture the imagination and to celebrate our vibrant seafood industry. With interactive games allowing kids to design and project their own fish along the top of the big top to cinemas playing ‘Tails from the Deep’ with stories and insights from Irish fishermen to Professor O’Meara, an animated character who explains how our fish and shellfish are farmed around our coast, there was a lot to see and do! Sustainability was a key focus with projects such as BIM’s Fishing for Litter, a programme that encourages fishermen to collect litter while out fishing and bring it ashore for recycling to examples of new innovative fishing nets that substantially reduce the capture of juvenile fish and bycatch to BIM’s successful Lobster V-notching Scheme that has resulted in over 30,000 female lobsters returned to sea to breed in 2015. BIM even had a custom made shark on display made from various types of litter collected on a recent beach clean!
In partnership with Bord Bia, seafood cookery demonstrations from celebrity TV chefs’ Martin Shanahan and Rory O’Connell not to mention Michael O’Meara, chef and owner of Oscar’s Seafood Bistro in Galway and recent winner at the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for his cookbook ‘Sea Gastronomy’ along with BIM’s Young Fishmonger of the Year 2015 (Gerard Collier from Fisherman’s Catch, Clogherhead, Co. Louth) were extremely popular attracting big crowds for each demonstration. Visitors were shown how easy it is to prepare and cook seafood with great family recipes from the chefs and expert advice on what fish to buy and how to prepare it at home from Gerard Collier.
Visitors to the BIM Seafood Experience were also treated to an insight into how seafood products are developed and produced in BIM’s Seafood Development Centre in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. From salmon sausages to beer made from seaweed, BIM’s expert product development team were on hand to showcase the most innovative seafood products ready to hit the supermarket shelves.
The importance of wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at sea was also promoted at the Live to Tell the Tale showcase with live demonstrations in a custom made water tank of the new compact PFD with an integrated Personal Locator Beacon available to fishermen once they have completed Basic Safety training. BIM would like to sincerely thank the Galway sub aqua team for volunteering to test the PFD’s in the tank throughout the weekend.
The BIM Seafood Experience was part-funded by the Exchequer and European Union through Ireland’s EMFF Operational Programme 2014-2020. For more information on SeaFest 2016 and BIM, please visit www.seafest.ie and www.bim.ie
Photo – L to R: Michael O’Meara, Oscar’s Seafood Bistro, Galway; Gerard Collier, Fishmonger, Fishermen’s Catch, Clogherhead, Co Louth and Donal Maguire, Aquaculture Development Director, BIM