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Fishermen get their hooks into Ireland

Crossing the Irish Sea: Welsh seafood businesses visited innovate Irish fisheries to gain some tips of the trade
Crossing the Irish Sea: Welsh seafood businesses visited innovate Irish fisheries to gain some tips of the trade

LAST WEEK, a host of leading seafood businesses from across Wales made the trip across the Irish Sea, having set their sights on learning more ways to grow their catch and their profits.

Organised as part of the Welsh Government’s Seafood Cluster, the three day visit to Ireland which took place between Monday (May 23) and Thursday (May 26) aimed to highlight the current different innovation that exists within the Irish seafood market.

The trip also aimed to explore how this innovation could be replicated in Wales to make the seafood industry more prosperous.

During the visit, Welsh seafood businesses will be taught more about how the Irish industry manages to sustain itself both at home and abroad, as well as gaining added insight into Irish farming and catching methods.

Amongst the attendees is Mandy Walters of family-run business Cardigan Bay Fish, who have been catching and processing fish and shellfish for nearly twenty years.

Mandy said: “Visiting Ireland with like-minded seafood businesses provides us with a unique chance to meet and discuss with other businesses in the industry.

“By learning new techniques and ideas, the visit widens our horizons as we look for new opportunities.

“The Seafood Cluster, which was established last year, is a great idea and if it gets people talking, working and sharing ideas, it can only be a good thing.”

During the trip, it is planned for the group to also visit Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s Seafood Development Centre, which is a state-of-the-art facility that helps businesses grow, become sustainable and profitable, and introduce value added offerings that meet customers’ requirements.

Delegates will also visit a mussel fleet in Wexford Harbour, visit a local scallop and prawn fleet, a shellfish processing factory and an oyster farm.

Another business which is hoping to pick up new innovative ideas from the Irish visit is Richard Williams from WM Shellfish Ltd.

Richard said: “We are excited to be part of this trip, particularly a visit to the Seafood Development Centre, a dedicated innovation centre for the industry – something we don’t have in Wales.

“I’m sure it will be a very educational and eye-opening tour and will create connections for future business opportunities.”

The Welsh Seafood Cluster is part of the Welsh Government’s Business Development Programme, which provides individual support to help Welsh fisheries to create jobs and sustainable economic growth.

The Welsh Government is hoping soon to return the favour and invite a group of Irish fishermen for a visit to Wales in the near future.

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Dayne Stone

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