A two-year strategy for Ireland’s seafood sector to 2020 is underpinned by development objectives of Food Wise 2025 and sustainability objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Enabling Sustainable Growth published by Ireland’s seafood development agency, seeks to enhance the competitiveness of the sector to capitalise on increasing domestic and global demand for seafood. The approach adopted by BIM reflects the challenge of market uncertainty and places greater emphasis on product differentation, value creation and profitability.

2018 BIM strategy

Launching the strategy, marine minister Michael Creed said BIM was “well resourced” to assist the implementation of the CFP and to achieve the objectives of Food Wise 2025 through state and EU funding of €240m.

Jim O’Toole, BIM chief executive said this was both an “exciting and uncertain time” for the seafood sector in the face of “significant challenges”. The strategy is designed to focus on enabling the industry to benefit from services in “key strategic areas that will drive future growth.”

Ireland’s diverse sector is “best placed” to take advantage of domestic and export growth potential by creating value across the supply chain “from catch to consumer,” he said.

Five priorities are identified to underpin delivery of BIM services: sustainability, skills, innovation, competeitiveness and leadership. Sustainability is seen as a key driver of all businesses and the Irish seafood sector adheres to ‘the highest standards of responsible and sustainable sourcing creating opportunities’ to differentiate Irish products to premium markets.

‘Providing Ireland’s catching, farming and processing sectors with internationally recognised standards which embrace the country’s successful Origin Green initiative will benefit the performance of Irish seafood,’ says the agency.

The strategy also aims to enhance the attractiveness and viability of careers by helping to establish ‘fully accredicted’ pathways for lifelong learning and career progression.

Innovation is singled out as an enabler to moving Irish seafood further up the value chain, and BIM is supporting companies to develop smarter ways of doing business.

BIM will also expand its existing core technical and analytical research capabilities to deliver ‘relevant, insight-driven support services to drive competitiveness’.