Visitors to Ireland’s largest garden festival will learn more about how Irish seafood is being sustainably produced to help protect fish stocks, protect the marine environment and sustain and develop fisheries dependent coastal communities throughout Ireland. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency, has sponsored this year’s first ever marine themed garden at Bloom, The Sustainable Seafood Garden.
The garden has been designed by Clogherhead native Andrew Christopher Dunne, who took inspiration from his experience of growing up in the local fishing village in Co. Louth. The marine garden includes plants and trees found along Ireland’s coastal areas, including wild flowers, ferns and grasses. The centrepiece of the garden includes a large water feature with shimmering fish sculptures and an ‘upcycled’ fishing boat where some of Ireland’s leading fishmongers and chefs will be showcasing sustainably sourced seafood throughout the five day event. The garden also includes furniture and features made from recycled materials.
Speaking at Bloom, Jim O’Toole, BIM CEO explained, “The BIM Sustainable Seafood Garden aims to increase understanding among visitors to this year’s Bloom of the different ways in which Irish seafood is being sustainably produced within Ireland’s €1.15 billion seafood sector. Ireland is an island nation and we would like more people to be aware of what happens in our waters and of how Irish seafood is sustainably produced. BIM’s garden will give visitors a sense of the great efforts men and women working in the sector are taking to protect our marine environment. For example, Irish fishermen have voluntarily collected 60 tonnes of marine litter under BIM’s Fishing for Litter programme; 95% of Irish salmon and over 60% of Irish rope mussels are organic; 600 tonnes of fishing nets have been recycled and over 50 seafood companies and producers are members of Origin Green.”
Former winners of the BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year Award, George and Anne Stephens and Scott Smullen from Dunnes Stores in Cornelscourt, Dublin are among the fishmongers who will be demonstrating ways in which to prepare sustainably sourced Irish seafood on board the boat in the garden.TV chef and author, Fiona Uyema will also be featuring Japanese themed Irish seafood dishes.
The garden’s designer Andrew Christopher Dunne spoke of his inspiration for the garden, “When I was commissioned by Bord Iascaigh Mhara to design this marine themed garden, I visited my local pier in Clogherhead. I was struck by how fortunate I am to live on an island that’s surrounded by clean, pure waters and of the long tradition of fishing in Ireland. This garden tells the story of Irish seafood from tide to table and the people and industries that support it.”
In addition to the garden, BIM will also have fun activities for children in its exhibition area, that will include a life-size shark that has been made entirely from plastics collected from local shores and a short film presented by an animated character called Professor O’Meara who explains how fish and shellfish are farmed around our coast.
Bloom opens its gates on Thursday 31st May at 9am and runs until the 4th of June.
Jim O’Toole CEO, BIM, pictured at BIM’s Sustainable Seafood Garden debut