Waterford is Ireland’s most productive fish producer and a key player in the global market for aquaculture, as the country has emerged as a key producer of aquatic products.
The region produces almost 30 per cent of the country’s catch of fish, including mackerel, tuna and mackels, according to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
In 2016, the industry recorded an annual output of almost €9 billion.
It was worth €8.4 billion in 2016-17.
A huge growth in demand for fish products from around the world has meant Ireland has now become the largest aquacultural market in the world.
The Irish aquaculturist’s association is looking to diversify its fish farming operations to cater for the growing demand.
The organisation is looking at expanding into the fish farming sector in the South West of Ireland.
“Fish farming is a key sector of our industry, and we are looking to establish more operations in the south-west and north-west,” said Brian O’Neill, president of the Irish Aquacultures Federation.
“We have a lot of fish on our plates, and that is why it is a priority for us to diversifying our operations.”
Fish production and processing have been an important part of the business model for some years.
Fish farming was a key part of farming operations in Cork, Limerick and Waterford in the 1980s and 1990s.
The sector expanded further south in recent years, including to Cork city centre.
The fish industry has expanded in the UK, with aquachemicals making up an important component of the industry in the north of England, according the European Union’s food safety watchdog.
In 2015, the UK government announced a raft of changes aimed at reducing the number of tonnes of fish produced in the country, and the EU Food Safety Authority also issued a warning on fish consumption.
“The UK has one of the highest fish consumption rates in the EU, and there is evidence to suggest that consumption of wild-caught fish has contributed to a rise in the risk of cancer in some studies,” the EU warned in its statement on fish.
“Although there are no proven links between fish consumption and the development of cancer, this issue is particularly relevant to aquacreative aquacircuits and fish farming.”
The EU has been working on a report that will highlight the link between fish farming and cancer.
According to the EU’s Food Safety Agency, aquacryl production contributes to a greater than 20 per cent increase in the incidence of cancers in humans and other animals in the European region.
It also says that aquacro-farming activities are linked to an increased risk of developing anaemia in fish and seafood consumers.
This has resulted in an increase in fish farming’s environmental footprint.
Aquacryls are a major source of waste and toxic gases into the atmosphere and are a common part of landfills.
The EU said the industry needs to develop new waste management and environmental management technologies to meet these demands.
The European Food Safety Commission has also warned against excessive consumption of fish in the food chain.
“Foods such as fish, which have been used to feed humans, fish in particular, are highly toxic and carcinogenic, particularly in the early stages of their processing,” the commission said.