By Jason Holland, SeafoodSource contributing editor reporting from London
Published on 25 June, 2013
A few months ago, the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, An Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), announced there would be a radical overhaul of the country’s seafood industry aimed at helping it become more competitive in terms of exports, particularly in new markets.
The strategy dovetails with the Irish government’s Food Harvest 2020 program, which stresses that it’s within the reach of Ireland’s seafood industry to generate sales of EUR 1 billion (USD 1.3 billion) by 2020 — up from its current level of EUR 822 million (USD 1.1 billion) — and in doing so create 3,000 new jobs.
While there is considerable optimism about the opportunities overseas and Asia is earmarked as a lucrative export target, BIM believes there’s also plenty of scope to grow the home market, which comprises 4.7 million people and 1.47 million households.
“The EUR 1 billion sales target includes growth in the domestic market. Currently, Irish exports are around the EUR 500 million (USD 651.5 million) mark and we get sales of EUR 320 million (USD 417 million) in the domestic market,” said BIM’s CEO Jason Whooley.