Ireland's aquaculture sector is fast becoming a key source of revenue as well as a steady employer, according to a new report published by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).
Released on Friday 27 October, BIM'S Annual Aquaculture Report, which draws on findings from a national seafood survey conducted this year, shows that the sector sold 44,623 tonnes of aquaculture products at the farmgate last year, equivalent to sales of €186 million - a 4% increase on the previous year.
The impact on the wider economy was also significant, with the sector contributing €208 million to the Irish ecconomy and supporting over 2,000 jobs nationwide. The average individual salary for the year was €34,372 per worker.
By far the most significant economic contribution was made by the Atlantic salmon farming sector, generating €104 million in sales revenues during 2022.
However, shellfish farming provided the most jobs, with aquaculture of mussells and oysters employing a total of 1,693 people, generating sales of €76 million.
Despite this success, the report identified challenges particularly affecting the shellfish sector in accessing and retaining technical staff. BIM notes that businesses are looking to technology to take on labour-intensive production tasks as a potential solution to staffing shortages.