Irish seafood (mackerel, horse-mackerel and herring) showcased over a two-day tasting promotion (March 15-17) at 100 outlets of leading Japanese retail group, Aeon.

Aimed to raise awareness about quality and sustainability of Irish seafood, Bord Bia has developed ‘point of sale’ in-store material to help Japanese consumers identify and recognise product origin.

“Ireland has a reputation as an international leader in sustainable production because responsible stewardship and environmental protection are core principles guiding the development of our wild fisheries and the quality seafood we export,” remarked Tara McCarthy, chief executive of the Irish Food Board.

Increased exports

In 2018, Irish seafood exports to Japan were worth €16m, up 60% on 2016 figures of which mackerel accounted for 50%.

“When Japanese customers source seafood from Ireland they are sourcing seafood from companies working under the Origin Green sustainability programme who are committed to reducing their environmental impact, serving their local communities more effectively and protecting the extraordinarily rich natural resources that our country enjoys,” McCarthy added.

Kenny Ward, export director of a leading Irish pelagic processor and exporter, Ward Fish, remarked that the Japanese market was renowned worldwide as being “purveyors of quality seafood. The raw material being landed in Ireland is a premium quality product, handled and produced to the highest standards.”

In 2017, Irish seafood exports to 72 countries increased by 16% in 2017 to €645m.