Value of Irish aquaculture increased 20% to €150 million
The industry is increasing in value by €34 million to a first point of sale value of almost €150 million.
Overall production volumes showed a strong recovery increasing by over 25 percent to 40,140 tonnes, with employment figures stabilising at 1,840.
Welcoming the positive upturn in the Aquaculture sector, BIM’s CEO, Tara McCarthy added that BIM was looking forward to working with the shellfish sector to maximise the opportunity for the industry through product differentiation, co-operation and consolidation.
Salmon farming accounts for 64 percent of total aquaculture production, valued at €95 million.
Shellfish farming is valued at €51 million with oysters accounting for €38 million of this and the mussel farming industry valued at €13 million. Shellfish farming is labour intensive and over 1,600 of total aquaculture jobs are in shellfish production.
The market for Irish oysters in Hong Kong and China was actively targeted in a collective manner by Irish producers, with the assistance of BIM, in 2015. Irish oysters have received a warm welcome, commanding a premium price in the Chinese and Hong Kong markets and are now the highest priced oysters in this region.
Oyster farming employed 775 people in 2015, providing valuable employment in coastal areas that often offer little alternatives. Over 90 percent of Irish oysters are exported, the majority going to France, however 2015 saw 10 percent of Irish oyster exports going to Hong Kong and China. ■