The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Seán Connick TD, at the invitation of Bord Bia, officially launched the Ireland stand at the prestigious European Seafood Expo in Brussels today. The Expo which is the world’s largest seafood trade fair brings together the best of seafood producers world wide, and is one of the most important events in the global marketing calendar for Seafood.
The Minister visited the 16 Irish companies on the Irish stand showcasing a wide range of high quality products, ranging from shellfish, to mackerel, from monkfish to salmon. The Minister said that the array of top quality seafood displayed by the Irish exhibitors was “breathtaking”.
He went on to say that the developments and efforts made by the Irish exhibitors were “a ray of hope and a clear indication that with high quality raw materials, ingenuity and innovation supported by a targeted export marketing programme Irish seafood can not only compete with the best but surpass them”. This is an integral part of our food strategy.
The demand for seafood products continues to increase despite the international economic downturn, and Europe’s reliance on imported products is a cause for concern. With a view to the marketing developments in the ongoing reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) the Minister said that “In order to take our competitive advantage, we need to differentiate Irish seafood, and I am delighted by what I have seen today to say that we are well down that road. There is a need to strengthen the EU requirements for labelling and certification of seafood so that the consumer can make an informed choice. This is one of the changes I am seeking in the reform of the CFP. The reformed CFP must provide for the economic well being of our industry, therefore appropriate mechanisms must be in place to support our existing producers and develop the growth potential of the aquaculture sector”.
Concluding the Minister went on to say that “Seafood innovation and new product development will be instrumental in Irelands drive for higher market share and growth generation. Tailoring and developing seafood products to better meet the needs of retailers, caterers and consumers through new product development, packaging and marketing innovation will ensure more reliable markets and better prices. The 16 Irish companies with stands at this expo are showing the way in that regard”.
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