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Irish company Donegal Fish has won an investment of €8.9 million investment from the EU’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve to developing a new processing facility in Killybegs, Ireland’s largest fishing port.
The funding will enable the family-run company to develop an ambitious facility in the County Donegal port, creating 30 new jobs in the process, according to a release from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency. The facility is expected to opens its doors this October.
The venture is part of the Brexit Seafood Processing Capital Support Scheme, overseen by BIM, and involves a total investment of €26.8 million among 44 projects. The EU-funded scheme aims to provide funding of up to €45 million to boost Ireland’s seafood processing sector, following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Combining automation, cutting-edge technology, and a skilled workforce, the company will process and add value to raw materials on-site. In a statement, BIM described this as “a significant departure for the Irish pelagic sector, which has traditionally exported whole fish in bulk for processing in countries like China and Vietnam.”
Bringing pelagic processing back to Ireland
Kenny Ward, Operations Manager at Donegal Fish, said “This facility will transform how the Ward Fish Group and Donegal Fish Ltd processes pelagic seafood products. It will move the company from a seasonal operation to a year-round production operation, and it will allow us to add value to top-quality pelagic fish landed in Killybegs.”
Ward also emphasized the importance of bringing pelagic fish reprocessing back to Ireland. “This project will mean that reprocessing of pelagic fish, which traditionally takes place in China and Vietnam in quite a manual fashion, can be brought home.”
“Production can take place here in Killybegs, via a highly skilled local workforce, in conjunction with new technology and automation on a more sustainable basis. We’re also pleased to be offering stable, year-round employment in a peripheral coastal community with some 30 new roles to be created,” he added.
The upcoming facility will handle various fish species, including mackerel and horse mackerel. These will be defrosted, filleted, pin-boned, portioned, dipped or salt brined, individually frozen and packaged for the consumer retail market. Processed and value-added products will be predominantly for export, including Japanese retail and food service customers. The facility will incorporate solar panels and new energy-efficient equipment, utilizing heat recovery technology to capture and reuse heat generated throughout the processing line.
About Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency
Bord Iascaigh Mhara helps to develop the Irish Seafood Industry by providing technical expertise, business support, funding, training and promoting responsible environmental practice.
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