A seafood development centre has been opened in a bid to transform the commodity-heavy Irish seafood market into a leading value-added European player.

The centre in Clonakilty, County Cork, would ensure the Irish seafood sector had support and expertise to develop innovative products that met the needs of international traders and consumers, said minister of state Tony Killeen at the opening of the centre.

"Our market share is 1% to 4% in most EU markets, where up to 70% of fish consumed is imported from outside the EU," said Killeen. A focus on innovation would enable Ireland to increase sales to these markets, he added.

Currently, 85% of Irish seafood is sold as commodities, according to Irish sea fisheries organisation Bord Iascaigh Mhara. Every 10% converted from commodity to value-added seafood would generate an additional 37m per annum in sales, it predicted.