DUBLIN, May 12 (Xinhua) -- China has become a new growth market for Ireland's seafood exports, revealed a report obtained by Xinhua on Sunday.
The report, prepared by BIM (Irish Sea Fisheries Board in English), a state agency responsible for developing the Irish marine fishing and aquaculture industries, showed that Ireland exported a total of 47 million euros (about 53 million U.S. dollars) worth of seafood products to China in 2018, up by 68 percent compared with a year ago.
The growth in the Chinese market stood in sharp contrast with the performance of the other major export markets for the Irish seafood products.
Last year Ireland's seafood exports to France (147 million euros), Britain (81 million euros), Spain (75 million euros), Nigeria (28 million euros), the Netherlands (23 million euros) and Germany (20 million euros) all fell down, said the report, adding that only the exports to Italy (60 million euros) went up by 29 percent while the exports to Japan (16 million euros) remained unchanged.
The Chinese market was the fastest growing one among the top 10 markets for the Irish seafood exports, said the report, adding that China now ranks as the fifth largest export market for the Irish seafood products and the second largest export market for the Irish oysters in the world.
The Chinese market accounted for nearly half of the seafood products that Ireland exported to Asia last year, said BIM in the report, adding that they see a further potential in the Chinese market in the years to come.
Ireland is a net exporter of seafood products with a net export value totalling 322 million euros in 2018, making up over one-fourth of the GDP of the Irish seafood industry which stood at 1.25 billion euros last year, representing a 3.4-percent increase over 2017, said the report.
Over 14,000 people are currently involved in the Irish seafood sector which boasts a fleet of over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, it said. (1 euro=1.123 U.S. dollars)