Leading seafood businesses from across Wales have journeyed across the Irish Sea this week with their sights set on learning new ways to grow both their catch and their profits. The three day visit to Ireland (23-26 May), organised as part of the Welsh Government Seafood Cluster, aims to highlight current innovation that exists within the Irish seafood market and consider how that could be replicated here in Wales.
During the visit delegates will be learning further about how the Irish industry manages to sustain itself both at home and abroad as well as gain added insight into Irish farming and catching methods.
One of those attending is Mandy Walters of family run business Cardigan Bay Fish, catchers and processors of fish and shellfish for almost two decades, “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 established last year is a great idea and if it gets people talking, working, and sharing ideas it can only be a good thing.”
The Welsh Seafood Cluster is part of the Welsh Government’s Business Development Programme which provides individual support to help Welsh fisheries businesses to create jobs and sustainable economic growth.
One business hoping to pick-up new innovative ideas from the visit is Richard Williams from Holyhead based WM Shellfish Ltd, “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.”
During the trip, the group will also visit Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s Seafood Development Centre, a state of the art facility that helps businesses grow, to add sustainable, profitability competiveness, value added offerings that meet customers’ requirements. Delegates will also visit a mussel fleet in Wexford Harbour, visit a local scallop/prawn fleet and shellfish processing factory and visit an oyster farm.
The Welsh Government is hoping to welcome a group of Irish fishermen for a return visit in the near future.
The Welsh Seafood Cluster visit to Ireland is taking place from the 23-26 May 2016.