Ireland's aquaculture industry growing, with €186m farmgate sales in 2022

Atlantic salmon continues to lead sales revenue in Ireland, but the shellfish sector was the top employer in 2022, according to a new BIM report.
Aerial view of an Atlantic salmon farm in Bantry Bay, in County Cork, western Ireland.
Aerial view of an Atlantic salmon farm in Bantry Bay, in County Cork, western Ireland.Photo: Adobe Stock.

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.

Salmon farming generates highest revenue, while shellfish farming is top employer

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.

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