BIM National Seafood Awards 2018 winners announced

BIM National Seafood Awards Lifetime Achievement Winner Margaret Downey-Harrington
BIM National Seafood Awards Lifetime Achievement winner Margaret Downey-Harrington

Finalists from all areas including fisheries, aquaculture, seafood processing and seafood retail have been honoured at the 2018 Irish Seafood Awards, which took place in Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral.

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4 December 2018 | 0

Veteran seafood professional Margaret Downey-Harrington, from Castletownbere, Co. Cork has been honoured for her contribution to Ireland’s seafood industry at the BIM National Seafood Awards, which took place at Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral on 27 November.

A founding member of Mná na Mara, the first nationwide network for women in fisheries, Margaret’s career has spanned more than 60 years. Other awards announced on the night included finalists from fishing, aquaculture, seafood processing and seafood retail.

The event was attended by the minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Michael Creed, TD, who said that Ireland’s focus on sustainability, innovation and upskilling is helping businesses to connect with market opportunities throughout the world. “The demand for high quality seafood places Ireland in prime position,” the minister said. “The women and men being honoured here tonight are the driving force behind the successes of the industry.

“Because of them,” he said, “the ambitious targets set out in FoodWise 2025 look set to be achieved.”

The biennial awards are dedicated to recognising the achievements of individuals and businesses revolutionising the Irish seafood sector. Speaking on the night, BIM CEO Jim O’Toole said that the group’s ambition is to become a global leader in sustainable seafood. “Over 14,500 work in the sector,” he said, “which contributes €1.15 billion to our economy and is vital to many of our coastal communities.

“Tonight’s winners demonstrate the commitment and consistently high standard that’s driving the reputation of Irish seafood in Ireland and internationally,” O’Toole said.

Winner of the BIM Lifetime Achievement Award, Margaret Downey-Harrington recalled that Mná na Mara were responsible for the establishment of postal votes for fishermen. “We wanted to get them for our fishermen,” she said, “because inevitably a referendum or voting day would take place during the week and of course the boats would be out fishing.

“The fishermen were losing out on having a say in political arguments. And we [Mná na Mara] got it and in getting it, it became open to everyone which is a good thing.”

The Awards included four categories to reflect BIM’s strategic priorities; Innovation, Sustainability, Competitiveness and Skills. Other winners on the night included the following:

Innovation

  • Best in Aquaculture Innovation: Moyasta Oysters Ltd, Kilrush, Clare
  • Best in Fishing Innovation: Galway Bay Inshore Fishermen’s Assoc, Bohermore, Galway
  • Best in Processing Innovation: Ocean Veg Ireland Ltd, Ballycastle, Antrim.

Sustainability

  • Best in Sustainable Aquaculture: Marine Harvest Ireland, Letterkenny, Donegal
  • Best in Sustainable Fishing: Alex Crowley, MFV Emma Lou T450, Cahersiveen, Kerry
  • Best in Sustainable Processing: Connemara Seafoods, Westport, Mayo.

Competitiveness

  • Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year: Bells Isle Seafoods Ltd, Donegal Town, Donegal
  • Fishing Enterprise of the Year: McBride Fishing Company Ltd, Letterkenny, Donegal
  • Processing Enterprise of the Year: Atlantis Seafoods Ltd, Rosslare Road, Co. Wexford
  • Best Seafood Retailer (Multiple category):  Dunnes Stores, Swords, Dublin
  • Best Seafood Retailer (Independent category): Galway Bay Seafoods Ltd., New Docks, Galway.

The trophies for this year’s awards carried the theme of sustainability and were made using the fish sculptures that featured in the BIM Sustainable Seafood Garden, which won overall prize at Bloom earlier this year.

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