THE Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) has joined forces with Norwegian partner Biomarine Science Technology (BST) in a proposal to develop the world’s largest bio-marine ingredients facility in Killybegs.
The proposed €35 million project will result in the creation of up to 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 highly 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.
The proposed plant also has the potential to produce supplements for athletes thereby deriving optimal advantage of the health benefits of fish.
“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”, said Sean O’Donoghue, Chief Executive of the KFO.
“With increasing food ingredient prices and a shortage of quality protein in the market, there is a significant opening in the market for the output which this new venture can deliver. The increased focus on health and rising demand for foodstuffs high in healthy content has led to rapid growth in the health and sports nutrition market. 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”, continued Mr O’Donoghue.
“Diversification and the establishment of new high-value activities such as this, is a key part of our remit. 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. BST has a long experience in this area and has the technical expertise to enable production of valuable fractions from marine species – including clean fish oil.”
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.
“We are delighted to be able to support these national objectives and we are also grateful for the tremendous support we have received from both Enterprise Ireland and BIM in bringing this exciting project to this stage”, Mr O’Donoghue concluded.