Up to 70 new jobs are promised for Killybegs in Co Donegal with the development of the world's biggest bio-marine ingredients facility.
The Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation is to develop the world's biggest bio-marine ingredients facility in conjunction with a Norwegian science and technology company which specialises in the area.
The €35m project will result in the creation of up to 70 jobs when it opens in 2016 and a further 50 jobs in the construction phase.
The new facility will have the capacity to process up to 50,000 tonnes of raw material annually.
It 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.
While boarfish will be the main 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.
A new joint venture company, Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland Ltd (BII), has been formed to promote the new facility which represents a new departure for the marine sector in Donegal.
“This new facility will 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 Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation.
Mr O'Donoghue said that 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 will 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," he added.