Ireland launches new seafood strategy, targets increased competitiveness
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood agency, has unveiled its new corporate strategy, “Enabling Sustainable Growth,” for the 2018-2020 period, which is intended to deliver on the development objectives of the country’s Food Wise 2025 plan and the sustainability objectives of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
The strategy is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the Irish seafood sector to capitalize on the growing demand for seafood both domestically and internationally. BIM said the approach reflected the challenge of growing market uncertainty and places greater emphasis on product differentiation, value creation, and profitability.
“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 [to] benefit from services in key strategic areas that will drive future growth,” said Jim O’Toole, CEO of BIM.
“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,” he said.
The strategy identifies five strategic priorities that will underpin the delivery of BIM services: sustainability, skills, innovation, competitiveness, and leadership.
In addition to enhancing the attractiveness and viability of careers in the sector by helping to establish fully accredited pathways for lifelong learning and career progression, the strategy also highlights the benefit of moving Irish seafood further up the value chain with a greater emphasis on innovation.
Launching the strategy, Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D. said that he welcomed the document and its focus on delivering growth in Ireland’s seafood sector, which contributes EUR 1.15 billion (USD 1.4 billion) to Ireland’s GDP and also 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 program of EUR 240 million (USD 287.6 million) from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
“Food Wise 2025, the government’s 10-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 CFP provide the framework within which our seafood industry can look forward to a more prosperous and stable future,” Creed said.