October 29, 2009

Ireland opens seafood development centre

The first dedicated innovation facility for the Irish seafood sector, Bord Iascaigh Mhara's (BIM's) Seafood Development Centre, opened on Wednesday (Oct 29) in Clonakilty, Co Cork.


With a floor space of 768 square metres and facilities including wet fish processing areas, business incubation units, a graduate laboratory, product development kitchen, and an innovation and product concept room, BIM's Seafood Development Centre (SDC) will provide the fishing industry with a commercially focused innovation and new product development capability.


The Irish seafood sector is largely commodity driven with 85 percent of total produce sold as commodities. While this fits with the market demand for some species, it does not deliver for other species as these can be dependent on fluctuating global markets, which leaves them open to predatory pricing by larger international trade players.


BIM said that by focusing on delivering value-added seafood relevant to end consumer needs, the seafood sector can develop more stable markets and greater profitability. For every 10 percent conversion from commodity to value-added seafood, it is estimated that an additional EUR37 million per annum in sales could be generated.


Over a five-year period, this strategy aims to achieve EUR100 million in additional value-added seafood sales.


The SDC forms part of that strategy as it offers the facility to research, develop and pilot new offerings before companies commit to full commercialisation and capital investment costs.


Irish seafood currently generates annual revenues in excess of EUR715 million of which EUR334 million represents valuable export sales to international markets including France, UK, Spain and Germany.


US$ = EUR0.679 (Oct 29)

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