A MAJOR NEW seafood ingredient plant in County Donegal has been hailed as a ‘game-changer’ by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney.
The new plant will be constructed in the Donegal town at a cost of €35 million and promises some 70 jobs when it opens in 2016, with 50 more during construction.
The plant is set to become fully operational by the start of 2017.
Speaking at the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) conference in Dublin today, the Minister said that Ireland had managed to secure 70 per cent of the EU-wide quota for the boarfish, which will be the main feed stock for the plant.
I am delighted that the new food ingredients project will maximise the value of a significant part of this fishery and centre the associated economic activity and jobs in the heartland of Ireland’s fishing community.
Fisheries sector should be ambitious despite hurdles
Separately, BIM projected that the Irish seafood sector would be worth €1 billion in sales annually by 2017, a jump from its current level of €810 million. The increase in sales would support 1,200 new jobs, the fishing lobby said.
Speaking at the event, Goodbody Ireland director Joe Gill said that the Irish seafood sector is facing the same challenges the dairy industry did 30 years ago.
“The Irish seafood sector resembles the dairy industry in 1984 due to quota restricion, a fragmented processing infrastructure, a limited international footprint and zero presence on the stockmarket.”
He said that, like the dairy sector, the seafood industry could evolve and grow through consolidation. He said it was not unreasonable to set a target of three stockmarket floatations in the next ten years.
Exporters were urged to target Asian markets, where consumption of Irish shellfish in particular has increased by 34 per cent in recent years.