Biomarine Project Planned For Killybegs
Plans are underway in Killybegs to develop the world's largest bio-marine ingredients facility in the harbour town, with the potential to create up to 120 jobs.
The €35m project will be managed via the partnership of the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation (KFO) and Norwegian company Biomarine Science Technology (BST). It is hoped that the facility will create around 50 jobs during the construction phase and a further 70 direct and indirect jobs when it intends to go into full production in 2016.
The innovative new facility will be used to extract high-end proteins, oils and calcium from fish for use as food ingredients. These include valuable marine proteins as well as lipids, which are naturally occurring molecules and fat-soluble vitamins.
According to Sean O'Donoghue, chief executive of KFO: “This proposed new facility can become a game-changer in the seafood sector, positioning Killybegs and Ireland as a global leader in supply and research around new products and benefits from protein, oils and calcium associated with the sea.”
He adds: “There is a significant opening in the market for the output which this new venture can deliver. We have already met with leading food producers in Europe and the USA who are extremely supportive of the venture and enthusiastic about entering into supply contracts with it.”
A new joint venture company, Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland Ltd (BII), has been formed to promote the proposed new facility, which represents a new departure for the marine sector in Donegal. “The Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation is committed to developing and advancing any sea fisheries issues of relevance to its members”, says O'Donoghue.
“By forging an alliance with BST, we are partnering with a firm with many years of experience in pharmaceutical, marine biotech and international commodity business.”
A site has been identified for the proposed new facility subject to planning permission and state aid. The plant will have the capacity to process up to 50,000 tonnes or raw material annually. While boarfish will be the primary source of raw material, the facility will also be able to utilise other species such as blue whiting.
Boarfish is only used for fishmeal purposes at present and the proposed new facility will therefore help transform a low value element of the current catch into a significant revenue earner for the industry.
BII will be officially launched by the agriculture minister on May 9. (02/04/14)