Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Ceisteanna (63)

Joe McHugh


63. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding Irish seafood exports to Asia; and his plans for expanding the size of Ireland's market share. [29225/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Irish seafood industry has been very successful in growing exports to Asia. Exports in 2012 were valued at €26 million, 83% up on 2010 (€14 million) including an 86% increase in the value of exports to China (from €4.1 million to €7.7 million). South Korea, China, Japan and Hong Kong together accounted for 95% of export value in 2012.

My Department’s agencies are working closely with the seafood industry on developing the Asian market and in particular, China, where the demand for premium seafood continues to grow and to outpace production. Ireland is well placed to capitalise on the opportunity offered by rising incomes and increased spending on dining out by Chinese consumers on quality product.

Trade research by Bord Bia identified potential customers in China for boarfish, a new species for which Ireland has a significant quota of ca 57,000 tonnes and together with BIM is developing the market for whole boarfish for human consumption and a range of minced formats for the catering trade.

Scale is being developed through companies’ collaborations and joint ventures as well as investment in seafood processing and competitiveness. BIM is focusing in particular on China and facilitating joint ventures between key Irish seafood companies. Joint ventures enable these companies to pool resources, reduce duplication and logistic costs and develop scale in the market to ensure effective market presence and service to customers. During 2012, two joint ventures were formed between leading Irish seafood companies :

Ocean Jade – a Joint Venture between, Sofrimar, Shellfish De La Mer, Carrs and McBride Fishing and Atlantic Gold – a Joint Venture between Rockabill Shellfish and Atlanfish.

The joint ventures have developed commercial structures with sales and marketing personnel operating on the ground in China and results are very encouraging.

Bord Bia operates programmes to assist Irish seafood processors in identifying new customers. 12 companies representing processors from the salmon, shellfish and pelagic sectors, will be represented in the Irish Pavilion at the China Fisheries Show, the largest seafood specialist show in Asia, in November. A pilot for 4 Irish seafood companies in 2011 resulted in new orders and 12 companies attended in 2012. Bord Bia works with Irish processors with retail listings in China to inform consumers through in-store tastings and leaflets in Chinese on the species, health benefits and recipe ideas on Irish seafood and also with the Chinese media and chefs. Chinese and Japanese customers are encouraged to visit Ireland and have been invited to the September conference - ‘Our Food Our Future, Sustainability: The Bottom Line’. Client companies are provided with individual services and tailored itineraries. Bord Bia Marketing Fellowships give seafood companies an opportunity for a dedicated resource in China. Two companies now employ their Fellow full time and the next Programme commencing in July will see seafood companies benefit in China and Japan.

Food Harvest 2020 has set a goal of increasing the value of the seafood sector by €50 million by 2013 and by €100 million by 2015. This will require a scaled Irish seafood industry and BIM is promoting an integrated approach to value-added growth with the priorities of expanding the raw material base, maximising the value of raw material through market-led innovation, new product development, branding and eco-certification and developing scale through collaborations and joint ventures, investment in seafood processing and competitiveness.

For my part, I consider that the positive outcome of the Irish Presidency in relation to the Common Fisheries Policy provides strong support for the sustainable growth of the seafood sector.