The Irish Fishing Industry

Our seafood is sourced from waters around Ireland’s 7,500km coastline which are rich in biodiversity and form an exceptional environment for seafood. These waters also contain some of the most important fish spawning and nursery areas in the North Atlantic. The main mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting spawning grounds for the North Atlantic occur off the west of Ireland.

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Killybegs, Co. Donegal. A prominent fishing town on Ireland's west coast.
Killybegs, Co. Donegal. A prominent fishing town on Ireland’s west coast.

The Sea – The most natural of resources

Known all over the world as the ‘Green Isle’, the island of Ireland is surrounded by one of its greatest natural resources – the sea.  Off the west coast, the rough waves of the Atlantic Ocean merge with warm Gulf stream flows, and then combine with the cold fresh waters that run to the seas from the Irish boglands.  These clean, unpolluted waters are rich in aquatic life and form an exceptional environment for the production of seafood.

The unique conditions in Europe’s western waters have created an environment that supports a thriving seafood industry and employ an estimated 14,000 people.  It is the life-blood of some of the oldest rural and coastal communities in the country.

Like all island nations, Ireland has always looked to trade with its neighbours and the seafood industry is no different.  Each year, Ireland exports more than €600mn worth of edible seafood to more than 70 markets around the world.  Japan is an increasingly important destination for Irish seafood exports and is a very important market for Irish mackerel and horse mackerel.

An Irish salmon fish farm
An Irish salmon fish farm

Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

Irish wild fisheries are controlled by the European TAC and quota management system and the Irish seafood industry is dedicated to sustainable, responsible aquaculture. Many species fished in Irish waters come under particular environmental quality schemes, such as the BIM (Irish Sea Fisheries Board) Seafood Stewardship Standard. This exacting standard is accredited to EN45011/ISO 65 by the Irish National Accreditation Board. It provides comprehensive assurance that everything from care of catch, traceability and provenance and environmental management to education and awareness of Irish seafood are executed to the highest international standards. Additional internationally recognised schemes cover Irish mackerel and Irish Albacore tuna, which have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Friends of the Sea respectively. These schemes certify that the produce comes from well-managed and healthy fisheries that are biologically sustainable.

Seafood in Ireland

Download Seafood Brochure View Irish Seafood Suppliers Attending

Contact Bord Bia – Irish Food Board,

Japanese Office: 

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