Castletownbere Fishermen’s Cooperative Society has won the top accolade, ‘Green Business of the Year’ at the Green Awards 2017, ahead of stiff competition from Flavahan’s; Kerry Group and Glanbia.

Seafood Green Award 2017

(left) Green Business of Year Award: Bernie Kiely, Dept of Environment, Heritage and Local Government presents award to Donal O’Sullivan and Coop team; Green Seafood Business Award: Donal Buckley (right) presents award to Donal O’Sullivan

Based at Dinish Island, West Cork, the Coop was also honoured with the ‘Green Seafood Business Award’, sponsored by BIM. Working with the State agency, the Coop has cut its electricity usage by 3.5% and waste to landfill by 36%, despite a production increase of nearly 400 tonnes.

Founded in 1968 by a group of fishermen with the aim of purchasing bulk fuel, the Coop now lands high-quality fish from its own fleet of trawlers. The operating plant comprises 60 tonnes of chilleds storeage, 200 tonnes of cold storage and 50 tonnes of freezing capacity. 

During Q1 2016, the Coop ran a pilot project to reduce product packaging, by reducing the use of plastic lids on polystyrene boxes. The change saved the company direct packaging and transport costs, along with space on transport trucks. The storage method was rolled out across product exports to the value of €10m during 2016.

“As a business that is wholly owned by fishermen, we’re absolutely delighted and honoured to have won the ‘Green Seafood Business of the Year’ award. After 40 years trading fish, we are keenly aware of our responsiblity to our local environment and our fishing resource,” remarked Donal O’Sullivan, Assistant Manager.

The company installed solar panels late last year that are expected to save €18,000 a year in electricity costs. 

All their fish is certified, traceable and sourced within quota. Many of their vessels are certified to Marine Stewardship Council and BIM’s Responsible Sourced Standard.

Sustainability is a “critical requirement” for accessing higher premium markets and doing business with global food companies,” remarked Donal Buckley, BIM’s Director of Business and Innovation Development.

“BIM will continue to focus on positioning our seafood industry at the cutting edge of green business, enabling our businesses to adopt green business strategies that deliver in terms of competitive advantage, cost efficiencies and employee engagement.”

This is the second time in only three years that an Irish seafood company has won the overall green award.

“There is no disputing the Irish seafood sector’s achievements and leadership in this field,” he added.

Turnover in 2016 was €60m.