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    Irish Seafood Producers Gather to Catch Tourism Opportunities along the Wild Atlantic Way

    Irish Seafood Producers Gather to Catch Tourism Opportunities along the Wild Atlantic Way

    Leading Irish seafood producers featured on new Taste the Atlantic trail

    Today, on the first official day of summer, Fáilte Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) have teamed up to advise seafood producers along the West coast on how best to prepare their tourism offering in advance of the busy holiday period. The 3-day ‘Experience Development Programme’ is being hosted at Spanish Point in Co. Clare and brings together top seafood producers to hear from industry leaders on how best to enhance visitor offerings that align to the Wild Atlantic Way.

    The 21 renowned seafood producers have been selected as members of the Taste the Atlantic – A Seafood Journey trail, developed by BIM in partnership with Failte Ireland.  Stretching south from the Inishowen Peninsula at the top of Donegal, right down to Oysterhaven Bay in Cork, the trail passes some of Ireland’s most breath-taking seascapes and landmarks and offers visitors the opportunity to experience first-hand the craftsmanship and dedication of Ireland’s seafood producers.

    Sinead Hennessy, Food Tourism Officer with Failte Ireland, commented:

    “More and more visitors want to experience local culture through authentic food and beverage based activities, and what better way for visitors travelling the Wild Atlantic Way to do this than to meet and engage with the maker’s whose lives have been shaped by the Sea. Taste the Atlantic, encourages those who travel along the route to slow down, dwell longer and immerse themselves in the local seafood traditions and practices of the West coast, all while fostering a deeper appreciation for our exceptional seafood, clean Atlantic waters and growing food reputation. Today’s development programme is all about delivering on the promise of the Wild Atlantic Way by creating and offering an enhanced and saleable experience to leisure tourists and is delivered as part of Failte Irelands commitment to increasing seasonality and regionality for the tourism industry.”

    Speaking at the gathering, Jim O'Toole, Chief Executive Officer of BIM said:

    “What is captivating about this trail is that it offers visitors a chance to meet with active seafood producers who happen to work in some of the most idyllic locations along the West coast of Ireland. For many, expanding their business to include a food tourism offering happened organically as a result of inquisitive tourists wanting to know where local seafood is caught or farmed. The trail has been designed to capitalise on this interest and develop an appreciation for the many dedicated seafood producers on the route”.

    The 21 seafood producers are:
    • Donegal: Crocknagee Oysters, Clonmany; Mulroy Bay Mussels, Buncrana; The Haven Smokehouse, Carrigart; Irish Premium Oysters, Lettermacaward;
    • Sligo: Wild Atlantic Oysters, Lissadell;
    • Mayo:  Clarke’s Salmon Smokery, Ballina; Keem Bay Fish Products, Achill; Croagh Patrick Seafoods, Newport;
    • Galway: Killary Fjord Shellfish, Leenane; Connemara Smokehouse, Ballyconneely; DK Connemara Oysters, Letterfrack; Mungo Murphy, Ballynahown and Kelly Oysters, Kilcolgan.
    • Clare:  Redbank Food Company, Burren, Burren Smokehouse, Lisdoonvarna and Moyasta Oysters, Kilrush
    • Kerry: Kenmare Bay Seafoods; Tousist and Cromane Shellfish, Killorglin
    • Cork:  Roaringwater Bay Rope Mussels, Baltimore; Ummera Smoked Products, Timoleague and Haven Shellfish, Oysterhaven

    About Taste the Atlantic – A Seafood Journey

    Delivered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, Taste the Atlantic is a dedicated seafood trail that aims to profile the quality and range of local Irish seafood along the Wild Atlantic Way to visitors, as well as the people and places that provide it. 

    The initiative aims to offer visitors unique experiences ranging from boat trips, to oyster farm visits, smoking demonstrations to foraging for seaweed. All of which will offer leisure tourists an opportunity to meet the maker, learn about their craft and taste their product freshly harvested from the sea,

    The trail is also being supported by local restaurants and pubs where fresh, locally caught and farmed produce can be sampled overlooking the sea.  Seafood products available along the trail include the finest Irish rock oysters, rope-grown mussels, clams, organic salmon, trout, mackerel and herring; and the shellfish delicacy, abalone.

    Visitor Attractions
    In addition to the farm tours on offer, a number of visitor attractions have been developed along the route as part of the trail.  These include an Oyster Exhibition at Lissadell House in Sligo, a feature on the history of oysters in Ireland at the Doagh Famine museum in Donegal and the ‘Mussel House’ overlooking Kenmare Bay which tells the story of Ireland’s sustainable rope-grown mussel industry.

    Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board is the Irish State agency with responsibility for developing the Irish Sea Fishing and Aquaculture industries. BIM provides commercially relevant and innovative services to the Irish seafood industry that drive growth opportunities, add value, enhance competitiveness and create jobs in a sustainable, natural resource based industry for the benefit of coastal communities.

    Ireland’s Seafood Sector
    Around the coast, over 14,000 people are employed, directly and indirectly, in Ireland’s seafood sector which recorded its third consecutive year of growth in 2017, with its value up 6.4% on the previous year, to contribute €1.15 billion to Ireland’s GDP. On the domestic market, Irish appetites for seafood continued to grow with a 4% increase in seafood consumed in Ireland, now valued at €429 million. There was also a significant 24% value growth in Ireland’s Aquaculture Industry to €208 million.

    Fáilte Ireland’s Food and Drink Development Strategy 2018-2023 seeks, at home, to increase the number of tourism businesses engaged with development initiatives and, overseas, to increase and enhance the awareness and perception of Ireland’s food and drink offering. In 2017, revenue from overseas visitors totalled €6.5bn with approximately a third - about €2 billion – spent on food and drink. By targeted investment and effective promotion of the quality food and drink experiences available, the report claims that Food could help grow tourism revenue by as much as €400 million over the next 5 years.

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