Irish seafood companies were faced with more competitive and challenging international markets in 2003.
Irish seafood exports were down 10.2% to E384m in 2003 but the value of seafood sales on the domestic market increased marginally by 3.3% to reach E281m in 2003, according to the Irish Sea Fisheries Board.
EU markets absorbed over 75% of total Irish exports but faced more intense competition from third country imports of farmed salmon, herring and whitefish while market returns outside the EU were hit by the depreciation of the dollar.
Shellfish outperformed other sectors with exports up 9.5% to reach E132m in 2003. Farmed shellfish put in a strong performance helped by favourable environmental conditions and markets.
France (E91m) remains the premier market for Irish seafood followed by Spain (E58m) and Great Britain (E54m). Important markets outside the EU are Japan (E19m) and South Korea (E14m).