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Coveney Launches Initiative to Increase French Landings of Seafood into Ireland

French Seafood Landings Hold Major Potential for increased economic activity and jobs for Ireland

BIM estimate that for every extra vessel landing catch in Ireland for processing, 5 new jobs will be created

Key representatives from six of the most influential French fishing organisations, representing over 850 vessels are in Ireland today (Monday 4th July 2011) with a view to agreeing strategic partnerships between Irish and French seafood interests. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D. welcomed them to the BIM offices in Clonakilty, where they are to have a day of intensive meetings with eight of Ireland's top seafood processing plants and service providers from all around the Irish coast.

Currently, total fishing opportunities in the waters around Ireland are valued at €1.2 billion. The Irish fleets' share of this is 18% in volume terms, worth some €200 million. A high proportion of this fish is being caught by French vessels and Ireland could benefit greatly if French vessels landed an increased percentage of their catch in Ireland. BIM estimate that for every extra vessel landing its catch here for processing, an average of 5 new jobs will be created.  

Speaking as he welcomed the delegates from France and members of the Irish industry, Minister Coveney said "This initiative could have great potential for both Irish and French seafood businesses. It offers great opportunities for increased economic activity and job creation in coastal communities around Ireland. The Food Harvest 2020 strategy highlights that shared resources through strategic initiatives, including other member states, will be central to economic development and today's exploratory talks are a prime example of how this might work. I have asked BIM to report back to me in 3 months with a progress report on the development of these partnerships.

Increasingly high fuel prices mean it may be more profitable for some non-Irish vessels to land in Ireland than in their home countries. Coupled with well thought out strategic alliances, higher value output with reduced costs for all parties can be achieved.  

BIM's chief executive Jason Whooley commented on overall environmental trends saying, "The world is changing, there is unprecedented volatility coupled with unprecedented opportunity. In order to deal with this new reality, we need to think and act strategically; today is a good example of how that strategic thinking may be applied".

The aim of the exploratory talks is to identify opportunities for Irish and French companies to work together to improve quality, reduce costs and ensure sustained supply to an even larger customer base. With the product being landed and processed in Ireland it will reach mainland Europe more quickly and in a format demanded by the consumer and multiples alike. The increased efficiencies in this route to market will form mutual competitive advantages.

Date Released: 04 July 2011