PODCAST: BIM CEO AND MINISTER FOR THE MARINE SAY THE SEAFOOD SECTOR IS VITAL TO IRELANDíS ECONOMY
The Chief Executive of Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Minister for the Marine have both stressed the value of the seafood sector to Ireland’s economy.
It should not be underestimated, according to BIM CEO Jim O’Toole.
Marine Minister Michael Creed said that the importance of the seafood sector to the Irish economy was clearly demonstrated because it employs 14,000 people directly and indirectly.
According to both, the country’s seafood industry is thriving.
That was their opinion as they released BIM’s report – ‘The Business of Seafood 2017’ – which shows that the seafood sector had its third year of growth, its value has increased 6.4 per cent since 2016 and it now contributes €1.15 billion to Ireland’s GDP. Exports were up 12 per cent, there was a 4 per cent increase in domestic consumption and €386m. has been invested in the seafood industry by the State and private interests.
The BIM report shows that 78 per cent of non-Irish landings of fish were valued at €118 million, comprised of monkfish, megrim and hake, with 45 per cent of those landings made by the French fleet.
Fish and shellfish landings in the main ports by Irish and non-Irish vessels rose 7 per cent to €401 million.
Killybegs had the highest landings value, up 24 per cent to €125 million, largely attributed to a 13 per cent increase in mackerel worth €83 million.
There are no figures for what is regularly complained about by Irish fishermen – the landings by non/Irish vessels that go unchecked, directly into lorries for transport abroad without value to Ireland. That remains a contentious issue.More fish is being eaten in Ireland. There was a 4 per cent increase last year, to a value of €429 million. Salmon, cod and prawns are the most favoured, but hake and Pollack are becoming increasingly popular, according to BIM.