Irish salmon farms look to tech to boost exports

News
1134

“Incorporating leading edge technologies can improve our production efficiencies and strengthen our sustainable practices,” said Geoffrey Robinson from Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency.

At a conference for the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) held last week, spokespeople from Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, told salmon farming industry insiders that new tech can help Ireland’s salmon exports.

Twenty-five separate presentations from national and international experts covered the latest research and technological developments within the sector on issues such as fish health and welfare, structural and service equipment as well as organic certification.

BIM’s Geoffrey Robinson outlined the purpose of the event saying: “With increasing global demand for fish, aquaculture is now the fastest-growing animal food production sector in the world. Consequently, fish farming operations are rapidly evolving with new technologies and equipment constantly being developed. Part of BIM’s work is to help fish farmers to keep their operations at the cutting edge of technology and an event like this allows us to showcase the latest innovations to Irish operators. There will be a number of interesting developments discussed not least the growing use of cleaner fish and desalination systems.”

In 2017 Irish salmon production increased 15.6% to 19,305 tonnes, with a value of €141.2 million. The industry employs 210 people, primarily in production sites along the west coast of Ireland.

Despite Marine Harvest only producing a relatively small amount of salmon in the country, its produce branded under The Irish Organic Salmon Co (2.0 thousand tonnes in the last quarter) made Ireland was its most profitable region. But production remains stable yet there is little growth.

Robinson didn’t think that Ireland was missing the boat when it came to market growth. “While production volumes in Ireland are small by international standards, we have a reputation for excellence in organic salmon production and it is important that our operations maintain this high standard. Incorporating leading edge technologies can improve our production efficiencies and strengthen our sustainable practices” he added.

Irish salmon is exported to markets across the EU, North America and Asia.