April 24, 2019


Asia takes more of Irish seafood, now 2nd-biggest buyer



Asia is now the second-biggest export market for Irish seafood, overtaking the UK, according to a report released by the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland's Seafood Development Agency.


BIM's Business of Seafood report showed that exports of Irish seafood to Asia increased 23% to €96 million (US$108.044 million) in 2018 from €77 million in 2017, while exports to the UK fell 4% to €81 million ($91.14 million) from €85 million due to a decrease in the value of sterling.


The EU (excluding the UK) remained as the top export destination. Irish seafood shipments to the EU last year totalled €373 million ($418.29 million), down 8% from the previous year's €407 million.


Overall, exports were down 4% to €653 million while imports fell by 2% to €330 million.


Salmon was Ireland's top exported species in 2018 valued at €84 millioon ($94.2 million), followed by mackerel (€83 million or $93.08 million) and crab (€60 million or $67.28 million).


The Irish seafood sector was valued at €1.25 billion ($1.41 billion) in gross domestic product terms, an increase of 3.4% and maintaining the above-€1-billion level. It will be remembered that the value of Ireland's seafood sector breached the €1-billion mark for the first time in 2017, at €1.15 billion.


Private investment (€267 million), together with strong government support (€170 million), contributed to this growth.


"Investment is happening at every level of the sector from investment in new fishing gear, improvements to vessels to make them more sustainable, to capital investment in processing industries", BIM CEO Jim O'Toole said.


"The sector has been responding to a challenging environment. Despite the continued uncertainty brought about by Brexit, there's still an underlying confidence in the sector as evidenced by the growth of investment". -Rick Alberto