Information : Seafood

The Irish seafood industry comprises of the commercial sea fishing industry, the aquaculture industry and the seafood processing industry. The seafood industry is based on the utilisation of a high quality, indigenous natural resource, which has excellent potential for added value and makes a significant contribution to the national economy in terms of output, employment and exports.

In 2018, the value of Irish seafood exports decreased by 6% to reach a value of €578 million. The average unit price across all species increased by 1.5% to €2,613 per tonne. The estimated volume of seafood exports in 2018 was 221,000 tonnes which represents an 8% decrease on the 2017 figure. The top species exported (by value) from Ireland included Salmon, Mackerel, Crab, Dublin Bay Prawns, Oysters and Horse Mackerel. The main EU markets, namely France, Spain, UK, Italy and Germany continued to dominate seafood exports, accounting for approximately 59% of total exports by value. The share of seafood exports to international markets is currently at approximately 28% of total export value at roughly €160 million in value terms.       

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that world fish consumption will increase by 31 million tonnes in the next decade to reach 178 million tonnes in 2025. On a per capita basis, fish consumption is estimated to be 21.8 kg in 2025.

Food Wise 2025, a 10-year vision for the Irish agri-food Industry, recognises the huge potential for expansion in the seafood industry given the projected increasing global demand for food produce.

Food Wise 2025 identifies the following three priorities for the seafood industry in Ireland:

1. Expand the raw material base.

2. Enhance the industry’s structure and skills.

3. Optimise product added value, export markets and environmental sustainability.

Food Wise 2025 outlines key actions to ensure the seafood sector maximises its contribution to economic growth and exports in an environmentally sustainable manner over the coming decade.

Further information in respect of Food Wise 2025 can be found by clicking on the following link:-

Bord Bia

Bord Bia’s mission is to drive through market insight and, in partnership with industry, the commercial success of a world class Irish food, drink and horticulture industry.

The role of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, is to act as a link between Irish food, drink and horticulture suppliers and existing and potential customers throughout the world. Bord Bia’s objective is to develop markets for Irish suppliers and to bring the taste of Irish food to more tables world-wide.

Bord Bia organises group participation in a range of International Trade Fairs, details of which are available on the Bord Bia website - Trade Fairs.

Bord Bia: Strategic Initiatives for the Seafood Sector 2019-2021

The key strategic initiatives for the seafood sector on which Bord Bia will focus are:

1. Building exports in growing emerging markets.

2. To secure higher added value business in core markets.

3. Build a vibrant home market.

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority is the statutory authority responsible for the enforcement of sea-fisheries protection and seafood safety legislation in the Republic of Ireland and throughout Ireland’s exclusive fishing limits. It was established on 1 January 2007 under the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006. 

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of National and EU legislation which deals with health conditions for the production and placing on the market of fish, shellfish and fisheries products through a service contract with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. 

Health Certificates

Consignments of fish/fishery products exported from Ireland, to the majority of countries outside the EU (third countries), must be accompanied by a Health Certificate. This is a document which confirms that the consignment in question has been handled under satisfactory hygienic conditions and that the premises from which it is being dispatched has been approved by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA). Several countries have specific requirements in place and further information on these requirements can be found by searching for the country you are seeking to export to. 

These Health Certificates are issued by the SFPA, in respect of food consignments manufactured, processed or packaged in Ireland.

Health certificates are not required when consignments of fish/fishery products and molluscan shellfish are being exported within the European Union.

Procedures for Health Certification

The food business operator who requires a Health Certificate must apply to the SFPA allowing sufficient time for their application to be processed. In order to make a decision on the application a Sea-Fisheries Protection Officer may carry out an inspection of the consignment. Results of laboratory analysis and traceability requirements will also be assessed. 

The purpose of the inspection and analysis are to assess whether the food intended for export is safe, wholesome and accurately described. The inspection process also ensures that the importing countries specific requirements are being met. 

You may obtain an application form for a Health Certificate from your local SFPA port office or download it from 

Completed application forms should be sent to the relevant local port office.