Irish farmed-salmon production grew by 40 percent in value to reach EUR 147 million in 2017, with volumes increasing 25 percent to reach 20,000 tonnes, March numbers from Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency show.
Better prices for salmon also helped Ireland’s seafood sector record its third straight year of growth, with its value to the economy reaching EUR 1.15 billion.
“The main driver of export growth was Irish Organic Salmon increasing in value by 69 percent from EUR 71 million to EUR 121 million,” the Development Agency wrote. Salmon imports were up five percent, however, with some 8,800 t of salmon worth EUR 68 million entering the country.
The Agency — also known as Bord Iascaigh Mhara, or BIM — said the value of all Ireland’s salmon-and-shellfish aquaculture reached EUR 208 million in 2017, up 24 percent. But, the country’s 20,000 t of farmed salmon production marked a doubling of production in just four years.
Development agency BIM — somewhat peculiar for also being a regulator and leaseholder for salmon farms — wrote in its Business of Seafood 2017, that Irish consumers had bought salmon to the tune of EUR 96 million (nearly the same as last year), or about twice the sales of cod. While salmon was the Top Retail Species, consumers bought salmon on average just 13.4 times in 2017.
The EU is still Ireland’s main export market, taking EUR 392 million worth of seafood exports, a nine-percent increase. Salmon sales were up in key markets, including Poland (83 percent), Germany (67 percent), France (34 percent) and The Netherlands (29 percent) during the year.
“The fact trade sales have exceeded EUR1 billion for the first time demonstrates the clear demand for Irish seafood,” Fisheries Minister, Michael Creed, was quoted as saying.
In its Aquaculture Survey, BIM notes that the two biggest growers produce 75 percent of all farmed salmon tonnage in a country of 284 aquaculture sites — including hatcheries, nurseries, fish farms and dedicated processors and storage.