Seafood development agency Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has rolled out details of an ambitious strategy designed to ensure the skills required for an innovative, professional and sustainable Irish seafood industry.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D. officially launched The Next Wave 2023-2028 the strategy, which will have a €5 million spend over the initiative’s five-year lifetime.
‘An agile, professional, and skilled workforce is essential for the future sustainability of Ireland’s seafood industry. The ambitious goals outlined in this strategy aim to support the industry in navigating future challenges and opportunities,’ Charlie McConalogue said.
‘By offering diverse and rewarding career paths, complemented by modern and professional training, I’m confident the industry will be better positioned to attract and retain the talent required for its long-term success.’ The four key strategic objectives to be delivered upon are attracting new entrants to the seafood sector, creating and promoting career paths in the seafood sector, delivering the right courses, to the right people, in the right way, and building strategic partnerships for growth.
‘The skills needed by the Irish seafood industry are evolving significantly. Although traditional skills remain extremely important and are at the core of the training BIM provides, new skills are required that reflect recent technology advancements, regulations and market demands,’ commented BIM’s Chief Executive Caroline Bocquel.
‘The development of skills to protect our natural environment, while operating a sustainable and profitable business model, are integral to the continued growth and success of the industry. We are also working to develop a range of sustainability programmes and modules across BIM’s training and client services that will enhance knowledge and insights and allow industry to meet rapidly changing demands.’
The strategy seeks to address a number of challenges faced by the fishing sector, as identified in an analysis of the Irish fishing fleet labour force, commissioned by BIM in 2022. In addition to delivering skills that are currently required, BIM will determine and plan for future skill requirements, ensuring business and technical skills.
Valued at €1.3 billion in 2022, the Irish seafood sector employs almost 16,000 adults, many of whom live and work in Ireland’s coastal communities. The process of catching, growing and adding product value through seafood processing, retail and foodservice plays a key role in the cultural, social and economic fabric of coastal communities.