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Irish oysters were worth €43 million in 2018. Photo: BIM.
Irish oysters were worth €43 million in 2018. Photo: BIM.

Ireland’s seafood development agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), was today hosting a seminar for the country’s oyster farming sector, which was valued at €43 million in 2018.

The sold-out two-day event at Carlingford in County Louth has attracted participants from more than 85% of businesses in the industry, BIM said in a press release.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, BIM chief executive Jim O’Toole said demand for Irish oysters continued to increase domestically and overseas.

Jim O'Toole: Strong prices for Irish oysters.
Jim O'Toole: Strong prices for Irish oysters.

‘Unique characteristics’

“Consumers in Europe and Asia are actively seeking out Irish oysters and cite the unique characteristics and diversity in taste between brands,” said O’Toole.

“This strong and growing reputation has translated into strong prices for Irish oysters and excellence in food safety management and stringent attention to quality control among industry members accounts for much of these successes.”

He said the sector had enormous potential to continue in its upwards growth trajectory and to further benefit those living and working in coastal communities.

Record production

The sector produced a record high of 10,300 tonnes of oysters in 2018 and employed 1,300 people.

France remains the country’s largest export market, with 74% of total export volume in 2018, but the industry is continuing to diversify into alternative European markets such as the Netherlands and Belgium. Last year saw a 31% increase in exports to the Netherlands.