December 5, 2016
12 winners receive 1st Irish National Seafood Awards
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), or Irish Sea Fisheries Board, which is Ireland's seafood development agency, has announced the winners of the first-ever BIM National Seafood Awards.
Out of 38 finalists shortlisted across the areas of skills, sustainability, innovation and competitiveness, 12 winners received awards for their outstanding contributions to the fishing, fish farming, seafood processing and retail sectors at the Gala Awards ceremony held in Clayton Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin, last Nov. 17.
The ceremony was officially opened by Agriculture, Food and the Marine Minister Michael Creed.
The winners represent a wide geographical spread including three from Donegal; two each from Cork and Dublin, and one winner each from Kerry, Kilkenny, Louth, Mayo, Waterford and Wexford.
Included in the list of winners are two talented young fishmongers: Stephen Hurley from The Fish Shop, Union Hall, County Cork, and Eimantas Zvirblis from Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, County Dublin, who both won the coveted title of BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year (Independent Seafood Specialist) and (Supermarket Seafood Counter), respectively.
BIM's CEO Tara McCarthy outlined the rationale behind the awards: "The Irish seafood sector contributes €1 billion (US$1.07 billion) in GDP to our economy and employs over 11,000 people predominantly in our coastal regions. The BIM National Seafood Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate the positive contribution of this valuable indigenous industry and recognise excellence and leadership across this diverse sector. It is an exciting time to work in seafood and the high standard demonstrated by our winners and all of our finalists bodes well for the future as we collectively aim to achieve growth as set out in the Government's Food Wise 2025 plan".
The winners are as follows:
Student of the Year: Barry Shaw (Killybegs, County Donegal);
Young Fishmonger of the Year (Independent Seafood Specialist): Stephen Hurley, The Fish Shop, Glenmar Shellfish, Union Hall, West Cork;
Young Fishmonger of the Year (Supermarket Seafood Counter): Eimantas Zvirblis, Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, County Dublin
Responsible Fisherman of the Year: Jim Connolly, Supreme II, Clogherhead. County Louth;
Aquaculture Environmental & Social Responsibility Award: Blackshell Farm, Newport, County; Mayo
Green Processor of the Year: Island Seafoods Ltd, Killybegs, County Donegal
Best New Fishing Practice: Foyle Warrior Ltd, Greencastle, County Donegal
Innovation in Aquaculture: Dungarvan Shellfish Ltd, Dungarvan, County Waterford
Innovation in Seafood Processing: Oceanpath/Dunn's of Dublin (Howth, County Dublin) and Goatsbridge Trout Farm (Thomastown, County Kilkenny)
Fishing Enterprise of the Year: DC Fish Ltd (Union Hall, Cork)
Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year: Kush Seafarms Ltd, Kenmare, County Kerry
Seafood Enterprise of the Year: Sofrimar, Kilmore Quay, County Wexford
The BIM Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the family of a recognised leader in his field, the late Martin Howley. As BIM Chairman Kieran Calnan explained, "Martin exemplified everything you need to be a great leader. He led by example starting as a fisherman in Killybegs in the 1970s rising to become a pioneering mackerel skipper then a successful businessman and a great leader in the fishing industry. His passion, energy and innovative spirit were a unifying and driving force. Martin is a most worthy recipient of the BIM Lifetime Achievement Award".