October 30, 2017


Ireland launches new R&D fund to support seafood firms' innovation



Ireland has launched a new R&D fund to support Irish companies' innovation in the seafood sector and help grow the €850-million (US$987.28-million) industry in line with government targets.


The launch took place at the West European Fish Technologists Association's 47th annual conference in the Aviva stadium in Dublin earlier this month.


The four-day international conference and networking event brought together over 143 experts representing 50 of the top-performing Irish and international seafood research-and-development institutes to discuss and gain valuable insights into new innovative technologies to add further value to seafood businesses.


The Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland's Seafood Development Agency, is providing an initial 100% grant aid fund of €400,000 ($464,515) in 2017 toward research and development to support innovation and the development of new technologies that would benefit the seafood sector.


With sales valued at €939million ($1.09 billion) and representing 5% of total food and beverage exports, Ireland's seafood sector has been earmarked by government as a key area for growth and investment.

The agri-food sector, with seafood as a key sub-sector, has the potential to grow exports to €19 billion ($22.065 billion) per annum by 2025, an 85% increase from the current three-year average.


Food Wise 2025


"The government's 10-year vision for the agri-food industry set out in Food Wise 2025 has not only identified the wealth of opportunities for seafood producers but also the role increased research, development and innovation can play in harnessing the export growth potential in this sector. By bringing value added products to the consumer, we could grow the seafood sector and larger agri-food sector by 85%", said BIM CEO Jim O'Toole.


"Through the launch of the new research and development scheme for seafood producers and our facilitation of access to research and development insights for seafood companies, BIM is addressing the gap between translating research into commercial products", he added.


During the fund launch, Agriculture, Food and the Marine Minister Michael Creed said, "The hosting of such a significant international event (international conference) further strengthens Ireland's position as a global seafood leader. Bord Iascaigh Mhara has demonstrated how the objectives of the government's Food Wise 2025 strategy can be met through collaboration with technical leaders in this space from countries such as Norway and Iceland.


Creed expressed the hope that companies would take advantage of the grant aid for R&D to continue producing products that would put Ireland on the map as an important seafood producer in the global supply chain.


"This fund will continue to support the seafood sector into 2018 and beyond and will be crucial to helping the industry realise its potential", he stressed.-Rick Alberto

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