Aqua Facts

Aquaculture in Ireland

Jobs, Growth, Potential

  • Fish and shellfish are farmed in 14 Irish coastal counties.
  • Irish SMEs and families grow salmon, oysters, mussels and other seafood
  • The sector is worth €150m at the farm gate – 80% in export earnings.
  • The industry sustains 1,833 direct jobs in remote rural areas – 80% in the west of Ireland
  • Every full-time job in aquaculture creates 2.27 other jobs locally (Teagasc 2015)
  • Ireland’s marine farms occupy 0.0004% of Ireland’s 17,500Km2 inshore area.
  • 83% of people in coastal areas support the development of fish farming
  • Aquaculture is a strong, sustainable and popular strategic asset for development and job creation (Foodwise 2025, National Strategic Plan, Seafood Operational Programme 2020, FAO, European Commission, European Investment Bank, Harvesting Our Ocean Wealth, Silicon Republic, CEDRA)
  • Ireland has led the world in organically certified farmed fish for over 30 years
  • Fish farm workers include people who have spent over two decades in the business to school-leavers intent on becoming third-generation farmers on their family sites.

The Challenges

  • In 2014, Scottish salmon production hit 179,022 tonnes, an annual increase of 15,788 tonnes (9.7%) – or what we produce in total in one year. The Scots industry is now worth over Stg £2 billion.
  • With a population less than that of Co. Carlow, the tiny Faroe Islands produce seven times our national output.
  • Norway produces Ireland’s annual output every two days.
  • An extra 10,000 tonnes of organically certified farmed salmon would add €250 million to the Irish economy and create 1067 direct and indirect jobs in coastal communities.