WEST Cork is set to benefit from €15.5 million of new investment I the seafood sector announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney.
The investment by the Irish seafood processing companies is supported by grants of €3.2 million under the EU co-funded Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme.
These investments by 21 companies across the country are expected to create more than 140 new jobs and increase sales of value added seafood products by nearly €44 million by 2015.
Among the companies investing are Shellfish De La Mer, Castletownbere, (€488,980) and the Castletownbere Fishermen’s Co-op (€1,400,000).
Minister Coveney said, “This is a very sizeable investment by any standards and particularly so when combined with investment under this scheme over the past two years.
“It demonstrates the confidence in the seafood sector as a high growth area of our economy and of our food industry.
“The SMEs undertaking this very welcome new investment represent the future of the seafood industry.
“The new investment involves companies significantly growing their businesses and also diversifying, which will lead to increased profitability and increased employment.
“The investment also builds on the very positive announcements made earlier this week in the beef sector and the further development of trade links with China.
“The number of companies participating in the Scheme demonstrates the willingness of the sector to invest to meet the strong global demand for our seafood”.
Castletownbere-based TD Noel Harrington welcomed the news saying,
“The scale of the investment being made by 21 seafood processing companies across Ireland is significant as it will see 142 new jobs being created nationally within the industry with increased sales of €44 million expected by 2015.
“ It comes on the back of investments of a total of nearly €10 million in 2010 and 2011 and is a clear recognition of the role and contribution the seafood processing industry has to play in our economic recovery.
“In Castletownbere, a total investment of €1,888,980 is being made by local firms, Castletownbere Fishermen’s Co-Op Ltd and Shellfish de la Mer Ltd.
“This investment is underpinned by €472,745 of support grants that will allow firms to develop and expand their business to meet the demands of this ever growing sector.
“The Irish seafood industry has grown from strength to strength in recent years and this investment will ensure that that trend continues into the future.
“Confidence in the seafood industry in County Cork is high. A combined investment of €2.585,543 will help to grow jobs in Castletownbere, Ballycotton, Cork and Carrigaline by allowing these five companies to diversify and expand and ultimately increase profitability.”