March 27, 2013


Ireland's seafood industry may see sales of US$1.284 billion by 2020



Ireland's seafood industry may reach sales of US$1.284 billion by 2020, a development which could create 3,000 new jobs.


"The ambition is that by 2020, Ireland will have become a global player in the seafood industry following expansion into new markets and engagement in a range of new value-added activities," said the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney. "The Irish seafood sector employs approximately 11,000 people and is showing phenomenal growth on the export market with sales up 18% in 2012, compared to 2011."


Although there is declining demand and prices in traditional markets such as western European nations due to the economic downturn, things are looking up in emerging markets such as China. Further, the ongoing growth in global population is expected to result in demand for an additional 42 million tonnes of seafood by 2030.


Food futurist Christophe Pelletier argued that even a very small share of the Chinese market would bring in business.


"If every Chinese person was to eat 100 grams of Irish seafood just once a year, that would equal 150,000 tonnes a year", he noted. "And in the coming years, seafood consumption per capita yearly in China is expected to rise from 26 kilogrammes today to 36 kilogrammes in 2020. Just a 1% share of that market would be greater than 500,000 tonnes a year."


However, he warned that firms should simultaneously stick with their existing markets.


BIM also believes that more significant collaboration within the sector and the establishment of appropriate joint venture operations and partnerships will greatly boost the achievement of this goal. BIM's Collective Route to Market Scheme, launched in January, is meant to promote such collaboration by offering seafood companies grant-aid assistance and expert advice to work collectively on reducing duplication costs and increase profitability and competitiveness on export markets.


The scheme will yield US$513,805 in funding for the industry and it is anticipated that between four and six Seafood Collectives will apply for financial and business development support under it.

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