Thirty-eight finalists shortlisted across Skills, Sustainability, Innovation and Competitiveness categories were recognised at the inaugural BIM National Seafood Awards in Dublin (17/11).
Twelve winners received awards for their ‘outstanding contributions to the fishing, fish farming, seafood processing and retail sectors’ at the ceremony officially opened by Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Establishing leaders in the sector is a key priority for the seafood development agency, recognised by the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to the family of the late Martin Howley.
“Martin exemplified everything you need to be a great leader. He led by example, starting as a fisherman in Killybegs in the 1970s, rising to become a pioneering mackerel skipper then a successful businessman and a great leader in the fishing industry. His passion, energy and innovative spirit were a unifying and driving force,” remarked BIM chairman, Kieran Calnan.
BIM’s chief executive, Tara McCarthy, said the rationale behind the awards was to celebrate the positive contribution that the seafood industry makes to the Irish economy, worth €1bn in gross domestic product and employing over 11,000 people, predominantly in coastal regions.
“The awards provide us with the opportunity to recognise excellence and leadership across this diverse sector. It is an exciting time to work in seafood, and the high standard demonstrated by our winners and all of our finalists, bodes well for the future as we collectively aim to achieve growth as set out in the Government’s Food Wise 2025 plan.”
The winners come from nine counties: Donegal; Cork; Dublin; Kerry; Kilkenny; Louth; Mayo; Waterford and Wexford: two young fishmongers – Stephen Hurley, The Fish Shop, Union Hall, Co Cork and Eimantas Zvirblis, Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, Co. Dublin – won the title of BIM Young Fishmonger of the Year (Independent Seafood Specialist) and (Supermarket Seafood Counter) respectively.
BIM also introduced a new brand identity, reflecting the agency’s plan to progress the seafood sector under its four key priorities: skills, sustainability, innovation and competitiveness. This new look underpins the agency’s vision for Ireland to become ‘The international leader in high value differentiated seafood products that satisfy growing domestic and international demand for nutritious, safe and responsibly and sustainably produced food.’
Student of the Year:
Barry Shaw (Killybegs, Co. Donegal)
Young Fishmonger of the Year (Independent Seafood Specialist):
Stephen Hurley, The Fish Shop, Glenmar Shellfish, Union Hall, West Cork
Young Fishmonger of the Year (Supermarket Seafood Counter):
Eimantas Zvirblis, Donnybrook Fair, Malahide, Co. Dublin
Responsible Fisherman of the Year:
Jim Connolly, Supreme II, Clogherhead. Co Louth
Aquaculture Environmental & Social Responsibility Award:
Blackshell Farm, Newport, Co Mayo
Green Processor of the Year:
Island Seafoods Ltd, Killybegs, Co Donegal
Best New Fishing Practice:
Foyle Warrior Ltd, Greencastle, Co Donegal
Innovation in Aquaculture:
Dungarvan Shellfish Ltd, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Innovation in Seafood Processing:
Oceanpath/Dunn’s of Dublin (Howth, Co Dublin) & Goatsbridge Trout Farm (Thomastown, Co Kilkenny)
Fishing Enterprise of the Year: DC Fish Ltd (Union Hall, Co Cork)
Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year:
Kush Seafarms Ltd, Kenmare, Co Kerry
Seafood Enterprise of the Year:
Sofrimar, Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford