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Expansion Of Production And Employment In Ireland

by the Fish Site Editor
20 January 2011, at 12:00am

IRELAND - The Irish government has met with Marine Harvest's CEO to discuss the potential for significant expansion of the industry in Ireland.

Mr Alf-Helge Aarskog CEO of the Norwegian based multi-national company and Mr Jan Feenstra CEO of its Irish operations, outlined to Irish Ministers the challenges, opportunities and potential for finfish production globally. The company's Irish fish farms, in Donegal, Mayo, Cork and Kerry, have been expanding production and hope to produce between 10 and 12,000 tonnes of salmon for export from Ireland this year. The company has been increasingly moving to the production of premium organic salmon and this year expect that 70 per cent of their Irish production will be sold in prime European markets as organically produced fish.

The company, which currently employs 250 people in Ireland and 5,000 worldwide sees significant potential to double production and employment in Ireland over the next ten years. To achieve this the company sought to explore with Ministers how aquaculture activity can be best expanded and developed sustainably in existing and new offshore locations on the Irish coastline.

Both Ministers emphasised the synergies between the company's production plans and the broad strategic vision set out in the Government's 'Food Harvest 2020' report. The focus by Marine Harvest Ireland on the sustainable production of salmon for export, mainly through organic methods has very significant benefits for job protection and creation in communities around the coast.

Minister of Fisheries, Brendan Smith said: "Exports are fundamental to Ireland's economic recovery and role that Marine Harvest and other aquaculture operators can play in further expanding exports of seafood is hugely important."

Minister Smith added that "Our seafood exports increased by 18 per cent in value last year and our Government's Food Harvest 2020 strategy outlines the enormous export potential in this sector in coming years".

Minister of the State, Sean Connick said: "I have over the last year focussed heavily on the aquaculture sector as a driver of substantial permanent and sustainable employment in our coastal communities. I can see enormous potential for the expansion of both finfish & shellfish aquaculture. To this end, the expertise of my Department and it's Agencies is fully focussed on the sustainable development of the industry in line with the overall Government Strategy."

the Fish Site Editor