New strategy for Ireland’s €1.15 billion seafood sector aims to boost competitiveness amidst market uncertainties

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), today unveiled its new Statement of Strategy Enabling Sustainable Growth for the 2018-2020 period.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the agency responsible for leading the development of the Irish seafood sector, today unveiled its new Statement of Strategy Enabling Sustainable Growth (pdf 1,810Kb)  for the 2018-2020 period, which is intended to deliver on the development objectives of Food Wise 2025 and the sustainability objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The new strategy is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the Irish seafood sector to capitalise on the growing demand for seafood both domestically and internationally. BIM’s approach reflects the challenge of growing market uncertainty and places greater emphasis on product differentiation, value creation and profitability.  

Launching the strategy, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. said; “I welcome the publication of this strategy document and its focus on delivering growth in Ireland’s seafood sector which currently contributes €1.15 billion to Ireland’s GDP and supports more than 14,000 jobs mainly across Ireland’s coastal communities. I am pleased to say the seafood sector is strongly supported by my Department and the European Union with a funding programme of €240 million from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Food Wise 2025, the Government’s ten-year strategy for the Irish food sector outlines ambitious growth targets for Irish seafood. The Food Wise development strategy and the sustainability initiatives embedded in the reformed Common Fisheries Policy provide the framework within which our seafood industry can look forward to a more prosperous and stable future.  BIM has been well resourced to assist the implementation of the new Common Fisheries Policy and to achieve the objectives of Food Wise for the seafood industry.  I am confident BIM’s new strategy contains the right actions to deliver on this important agenda.”

Outlining the focus of the strategy BIM’s CEO, Jim O’Toole said; “It is both an exciting and uncertain time for the Irish seafood industry. As the sector continues to face significant challenges, BIM’s strategy is designed to focus on enabling Ireland’s Seafood Industry benefit from services in key strategic areas that will drive future growth. The strategy will ensure Ireland’s diverse sector is best placed to take advantage of the domestic and export growth potential by creating value across the supply chain, from catch to consumer. In BIM, we have a dedicated workforce with a high level of technical expertise that will work closely with this valuable industry to implement and achieve our strategic objectives by 2020.”  

BIM’s new strategy identifies five key strategic priorities that will underpin the delivery of BIM services, they comprise; Sustainability, Skills, Innovation, Competitiveness and Leadership which will all operate within the framework objective of the Common Fisheries Policy and Food Wise 2025.

Sustainability is a key driver of all business and the Irish seafood sector adheres to the highest standards of responsible and sustainable sourcing creating opportunities to differentiate Ireland’s offering especially in more sophisticated and higher value markets. Providing Ireland’s catching, farming and processing sectors with internationally recognised standards which embrace the country’s successful Origin Green initiative will benefit the performance of Irish seafood.

The strategy aims to enhance the attractiveness and viability of careers in the sector by helping to establish fully accredited pathways for lifelong learning and career progression, featuring portable modular qualifications and recognition of prior learning. This will enhance the attractiveness of careers in the seafood sector developing the talent pool and allowing the sector to better compete.

The strategy also highlights the benefit of moving Irish seafood further up the value chain with a greater emphasis on innovation. BIM is supporting the industry to develop smarter ways of doing business.

The seafood sector has unique attributes and requires specialist guidance and support. BIM is expanding its existing core technical and analytical research capabilities to deliver relevant, insight-driven support services to drive the competitiveness of the sector.

BIM Chairman, Kieran Calnan said; “With seafood trade reaching €1 billion for the first time; the potential of Ireland’s seafood sector is beginning to be realised. I am confident that the actions outlined in our new strategy will help BIM to work effectively with Government to achieve the ambitions set out for seafood in Food Wise 2025 and with the seafood industry to drive growth for our fishermen, seafood producers and processors around the coast.”


Pictured are BIM Chairman, Kieran Calnan, Michael Creed,T.D, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and BIM CEO, Jim O’Toole