The award of €2.7 million in grant-aid to 18 seafood processing companies under the 2015 Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme has been announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD. Taken in conjunction with private sector investment, the total investment will be almost €9 million in 2015. The supported projects are projected to deliver 145 Jobs and €41 million in additional sales by 2017. The grants are co-funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and the European Fisheries Fund under the Seafood Development Programme.
Minister Coveney, in stressing the value of this grant-aid package to the Seafood Processing industry said, "this investment of almost €9 million in 2015 will enable our innovative seafood processers to continue their strong growth trend over recent years that will see the sector continuing to grow sales internationally and grow employment in our coastal communities. It will put the required technology, infrastructure and standards in place to allow these businesses develop added value seafood products that are in great demand on the global market."
The Minister concluded "the Irish seafood processing industry generally, in line with Government policy under the Food Harvest 2020 plan, has strong plans to significantly grow its business further in the years ahead. I believe we can look forward with confidence to seeing the seafood processing sector continuing to be an integral part of Government's policy to grow our indigenous seafood industry".
The value of seafood exports has been increasing rapidly in recent years. Seafood exports increased in value by 70% between 2009 and 2014, rising from €315m to €540m. Taking exports and the home market into account the Irish seafood sector is now worth €800m annually. There is significant scope for further value expansion in our seafood sector in the years ahead. Further development of the seafood processing sector is critical to that expansion in both the export and the home markets.
The 18 companies receiving grant aid are from 9 coastal counties across the country, namely Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Louth, Mayo and Wexford. The Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme is implemented as part of our Seafood Development Programme. Grant aid is at a maximum rate of 20% for primary processing and 30% for secondary processing projects and is co-funded on a 50/50 basis by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the European Fisheries Fund.
The Scheme is implemented by BIM and Údarás na Gaeltachta, with Enterprise Ireland assisting in commercial evaluation of proposals. Successful projects are selected for grant aid by a selection board comprised of relevant State experts and chaired by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. Grant offers may be conditional.
Eligible companies are seafood processing SMEs with premises approved by the SFPA. Eligible costs may include the purchase of new machinery and equipment and the construction, extension or modernisation of seafood processing enterprises. Further details of the Scheme are available from: