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Minister Connick opens Fish Ireland 2010 in Killybegs

Sean Connick TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today opened Fish Ireland 2010, Ireland's premier trade exhibition for the Irish Fishing Industry. Minister Connick also took the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Killybegs Fisherman's Organisation and the Donegal fish processing companies to continue the ongoing dialogue on issues facing the fishing sector.

The Minister welcomed the invitation to open the exhibition and noted the appropriateness of holding such an event in Killybegs, one of the most modern fishing ports in the EU. On the exhibition which was organised by the Marine Times the Minister said "Events like this allow fishermen and their suppliers discuss the ever changing needs of the industry and prepare for future requirements". He went on to say that further measures for sustainable fishing practices on the horizon required that "a more flexible approach will have to be adopted, not only by the fishermen but also by the suppliers of the fishing industry".

In his address Minister Connick touched on a number of topics including the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, however, his central message revolved around innovation, differentiation of product and maximising returns. He complimented the fishermen and processors in Killybegs for being "To the forefront in innovation, diversification and forward thinking, playing a large part in driving the further development of pelagic markets, particularly in Russia, and the move towards more processing of Blue Whiting for human consumption".

He also referred to the foresight of the KFO in funding research into the sustainability of a new boar fish fishery saying "This is an exciting departure and one which shows how serious we in Ireland are about conducting our business in a proper and prudent manner mindful of the finite nature of the resource we harvest". The Minister emphasised the integral part the seafood industry will have to play in Ireland's economic recovery, saying "We have a high quality raw material on our doorstep, we have a flexible and innovative industry and the demand for our product remains strong. What we must do is continue to innovate, differentiate Irish seafood and maximise our returns by increasing value added".

He went on to encourage processors to avail of the services BIM's Seafood Development Centre. Saying "This world class facility can only benefit companies who want to be progressive and grow their markets. It is already assisting 60 Irish seafood companies to differentiate and further refine their products since its launch in October last year and is well on its way to delivering its ambitious target of €100 million in additional value added sales over the next five years".

Photo PR 110/10 D31 6891 - 25.06.2010

Photo PR 110/10 D31 6900 - 25.06.2010

Date Released: 25 June 2010