James Kirwan, East Coast Seafood, Naas, Co Kildare has scooped the top prize in the BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year awards, selected from a shortlist of five finalists.

‘Each finalist exhibited a dynamic and innovative approach to seafood retailing, coupled with an outstanding knowledge of seafood,’ according to the seafood development agency.

James Kirwan, Senator Fergal Quinn and Jason Whooley, BIM chief executive

James Kirwan, Senator Fergal Quinn and Jason Whooley, BIM chief executive

“This initiative is part of BIM’s ongoing commitment to attracting and supporting young people in the seafood sector,” said Jason Whooley, BIM chief executive. 

He added that throughout all stages of the competition, the judges noted how impressed they were at the overall knowledge, skills and commitment demonstrated by all the finalists.

Guest speaker at the awards ceremony, Senator Fergal Quinn, congratulated the finalists for their “passion for the business’.

As overall winner, James will be offered a study trip to France, placement in a top seafood restaurant kitchen and free attendance at BIM’s retail development workshops, along with a specially designed trophy and a business package to assist with developing his outlet.

The judges focused on technical skills, product knowledge, business planning and overall customer service. Applicants underwent three stages of scoring, including two unannounced shop visits to assess technical and customer skills.

Each finalist has to perform a range of technical skills within 30 minutes and were required to discuss their plans, opportunities and challenges for their business and outline how they would use the business development package.

The other finalists were:

  • John Feeney, Galway Bay Seafoods Galway
  • Graham Rogerson, George’s Fish Shop, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin
  • George Stephens Jnr, Stephens Fish Market, Mullingar, Co Westmeath
  • Arnaud Lepricey, Wrights of Howth, Dublin 13