Mr Tony Killeen TD, Minister of State at the Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food opened a major conference
organised by Bórd Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) - BIM/Fish
Ireland 2008 Conference - on innovation and sustainability
in the seafood industry.
The Minister also held a formal meeting with the Federation
of Irish Fishermen (FIF) to discuss further the immediate
issues facing the Irish fishing fleet and the next steps which
will take place at European level to address the immediate
challenges for the Irish industry.
The conference - which took place on 26th June in Donegal
- involved national and international speakers, who drew on
their expertise and experience to give very informative talks
on driving innovation and engineering sustainability in the
Irish Seafood Industry.
Minister Killeen said - "I believe
that the current very difficult situation the industry is
facing makes it even more critical to identify the key steps
necessary to lift the industry out of its vulnerable position
where it is dependent on inflexible commodity prices and,
thus, unable to pass on its full costs. It is of the utmost
importance that we take steps and work together to maximise
the value and, in particular, the prices fishermen get at
"The Cawley Strategy sets out the
road-map and today's conference served to both review progress
and identify opportunities in the market for both wild and
The conference also focused on aquaculture development and
Minister Killeen identified this sector as offering potential
for significant growth. He said that he is committed to addressing
the current challenges so that the full potential of aquaculture
can be realised.
Minister Killeen also set out the work he is doing with Commissioner
Borg and his colleagues in the Council of Ministers to get
agreement for an EU-funded package of emergency measures for
Minister Killeen said he was pleased with the response of
Commissioner Borg, who has undertaken to come back to the
next Council meeting on 15th July with definitive proposals
- ahead of which the Minister said he anticipated further
progress could be made.
Apart from the lengthy discussion on the fuel issue, Minister
Killeen said that he was particularly pleased with the progress
made in a number of other areas of concern to Irish fishermen,
which he had discussed on a number of occasions with the Federation
of Irish Fishermen (FIF).