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Organisation Profile - Bord Iascaigh Mhara

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Bord Iascaigh Mhara 

Bord Iascaigh Mhara


Education and Training

News and Alerts...
Interviews & Videos
Ships Engineer
Brendan Cavanagh

Brendan Cavanagh
Research & Development Manager
Jane Kennedy

Jane Kennedy
Fisherman / Skipper
Ivan Toole & Paul O'Sullivan

Ivan Toole & Paul O'Sullivan
Fish Farm Manager
Hugh Heraghty

Hugh Heraghty
Oyster Farmer
Gary Lamph

Gary Lamph
Fisherman
Alan O'Neill

Alan O'Neill
Skipper
Noel O'Sullivan

Noel O'Sullivan
Fish Filleter
Brendan White

Brendan White
Seafood Technologist
Aileen Deasy

Aileen Deasy
Fishmonger
Nicola O'Higgins

Nicola O'Higgins
Skipper
Liz O'Toole

Liz O'Toole
Contact Details


 

Are you someone who thinks that the Seafood Industry is only about boats, fish catches and a life on the ocean wave?

Well, think again...

Are you someone who thinks that the Seafood Industry is only about boats, fish catches and a life on the ocean wave?

Well, think again...

Career Opportunities... header image
What are the main occupations in this sector?


Are you someone who thinks that the Seafood Industry is only about boats, fish catches and a life on the ocean wave?

Well, think again. The modern Seafood Industry includes a wide range of specialisations and career opportunities to suit every skill set.. So whether you're academic or entrepreneurial, creative or hands on, take some time out to think Seafood, and listen to the call of the sea.

Who knows? It might be calling to you.

The list below gives an overview of the occupation areas:

Commercial Fishing

  • Deck crew (Fisher or Passenger Boat)
  • Fish Harvester, e.g. cockle
  • Mate, e.g. Second Hand Limited (SHL) Certificate of Competency
  • Skipper - e.g. Inshore; Second Hand Special (SHS); Second Hand Full (SHF)
  • Passenger Boat Master
  • Marine Radio Officer
  • Fisheries Co-operative worker
  • Lifeboat crew
  • Boat Handler

Engineering

  • Marine Engineering Technician
  • Marine Engineering Technologist
  • Chief Engineer or Second Engineer
  • Marine Surveyor
  • Naval Architect

Aquaculture

  • Aquaculture - Technicians and Research Technicians
  • Fish Harvesters, e.g, Salmon
  • Fish Farmers e.g Trout, Oyster, or Salmon Farmer;
  • Freshwater Farm Manager
  • Marine Researcher
  • Bio-technologist
  • Marine Farm Manager
  • Production Manager
  • Aquaculture Veterinarian
  • Commercial Diver or Commercial Diving Supervisor

Seafood Processing

  • Seafood Quality e.g. Auditor/Assessor; Team Leader; Manager; Supervisor.
  • Fish Filletter
  • Seafood Handler
  • Seafood Processor
  • Fishmonger
  • Fish Pathologist

Other Related Maritme Occupations include:

  • Coast Guard
  • Oceanographer
  • Hydrologist
  • Ecologist

 

What types of employment contracts are there?


The majority of share fishermen/fisherwomen are self employed. Employment in all other sectors of the industry are either full time, part time or seasonal work.

In 2016, there were 156 seafood processing companies providing 3,949 jobs including full time, part time and casual employment. 

 

What are the typical earnings of these occupations?


The amount earned by fishermen varies as it generally depends on the size of the catch and crew members are paid on a share basis. 

Roles such as Fish Farm Manager offer a starting salary of approximately €23,000 a year, which will rise with experience.

 

How do you get a job in this sector?


BIM provides QQI quality assured training for new entrants, and for those already working in the industry. There are good opportunities for BIM graduates, with many skippers approaching BIM directly looking for crew.

BIM has two main training centres: the National Fisheries College in Greencastle, Co. Donegal and the Regional Fisheries Centre in Castletownbere, Co. Cork.

There are also coastal mobile training units which operate along the east and west coasts. Details of all BIM courses and application forms are available on the BIM website www.bim.ie.

Fishermen/fisherwomen generally start working as a Deckhand on a fishing vessel after qualification and receive more responsibility as they gain knowledge and experience.

To watch a video on the development of deep sea fishing in Ireland click here.

 


Education and Training... header image
What qualifications are required?


The basic requirements are QQI certificates in commercial fishing, aquaculture or seafood processing. BIM Safety Card, and the BIM Passenger Boat Card are extremely popular and offer dual certification. These are accredited by QQI at Level 5 and approved by the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

The more qualifications you hold, the more employable you will be and BIM offers a wide range of daytime, evening and weekend courses to both established fisherman and new entrants, in all areas of fishing. Education and training has a vital role to play in ensuring the long-term development of the industry.

 

What are the typical routes into this sector?


BIM provides flexible training programmes to support the development and growth of the Irish Seafood industry. One of BIM’s objectives is to expand the skills base and increase the availability of trained workers. Flexible modular courses allow experienced people already working in the industry to improve their skills, while comprehensive courses for new entrants are also available at Greencastle, Galway and Castletownbere.

The new ranges of modular training vocational training courses are accredited by QQI. Lifelong learning opportunities are provided to a national standard that is recognised throughout the EU.

BIM also provides training for deck and engineer certificates of competency in addition to other mandatory qualifications.

BIM offer courses in the following areas:

 


Advice... header image
What advice do you have for school leavers?


Comprehensive training courses for new entrants are available at Greencastle, Galway and Castletownbere. No previous educational or training qualifications are necessary and QQI courses are open to all. However, for the Commercial Fishing Certificate one must have passed the Leaving Certificate or National Vocational Certificate Level 1, or have relevant life or work experience.
 
There are progression possibilities and a chance of further qualifications. For example, anyone who completes a PLC course is eligible to receive the equivalent of 390 points in the Leaving Cert and through the Higher Education Links scheme, progress to complete ordinary and higher degrees.

 

What advice do you have for graduates?


Many of those involved in fishing and aquaculture have the entrepreneurial drive to develop and manage their own businesses, be it trawler, fish-farm processing business or retail unit.

As well as teaching the knowledge and practical skills needed to work in the fishing industry, BIM’s courses also include subjects such as information technology and management training, ensuring that these highly skilled individuals reach their full potential, realising their goals and ambitions, and skilfully managing a successful modern business.

Graduates should look for work in the Aquaculture and Marine Science areas as these will have the most employment opportunities.

 

What advice do you have for career changers?


Employment opportunities are available for early school leavers or those who do not wish to pursue third level education, as well as opportunities for older workers or those looking for a career change.

There are progression possibilities and a chance of further qualifications. For example, anyone who completes a QQI programme is eligible to receive the equivalent of 390 points in the Leaving Cert and through the Higher Education Links scheme, progress to complete ordinary and higher degrees..

 

What advice do you have for non-Irish nationals?


Non EEA Nationals must apply through the Atypical Working Scheme

Non-EEA crew members allows crew members from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to apply to work in the Irish "whitefish fleet". Details here

More information on work permits here

 

What advice do you have for those wishing to go back to work?


Training courses are available for those who are new to the industry or those who are already established. Courses are updated to account for new skills and relevance and so are worth taking again to be up to date with the industry.

 


Meet our People...
"With this job you get to wear a lot of different hats, you get to be a chef one day and a marketer the next"
Research & Development Manager
Jane Kennedy
"You need to work with people in the industry as knowledge is everything - where to buy, who from, when etc."
Fishmonger
Nicola O'Higgins
"Ending up with a product that you see in the supermarket is very exciting and makes it all worthwhile "
Seafood Technologist
Aileen Deasy
"When you are an owner and Skipper you have to account for everything - the book stops here"
Skipper
Noel O'Sullivan
"You need to be quite organised - between paperwork and making sure you have everything you need for the trip"
Fisherman
Alan O'Neill
"You need to be hard working, enjoy the outdoor life regardless of the weather and must be willing to work as part of a team at all times."
Fish Farm Manager
Hugh Heraghty
"The job is very enjoyable, you get plenty of fresh air and sunshine"
Fisherman / Skipper
Ivan Toole & Paul O'Sullivan
"I can be quite patient which is a good quality for this job plus I can be a hard worker"
Ships Engineer
Brendan Cavanagh
"It’s a great line of work if you have the passion for it you’ll have no problem doing it"
Oyster Farmer
Gary Lamph

Employer Insights... header image
Getting the job...
Main challenges...
Typical day...
Further training...
Advice if considering this job...
The lifestyle...
Whats cool...
Not so cool...

Global Opportunities... header image
Are there overseas opportunities available?

There are opportunities for employment abroad.  BIM courses leading to Irish Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport. Certificates of Competency as fishing skipper and fishing vessel engineer, are internationally recognised qualifications. Holders of these qualifications have opportunities to work anywhere in the world.

 

Are there opportunities in this sector for non-Irish nationals?

A number of nationalities contribute to the development of the industry. Countries such as Poland, Latvia, Russia, Egypt, Spain and Portugal and Lithuania, are well represented within the Irish Seafood sector.
 

 


About this Sector... header image
Please give an overview of your sector?


The Irish Seafood industry is currently valued at 1.1bn euro and employs 11,000 people, mainly in coastal counties from Donegal to Louth.

The four main activities in the Irish seafood industry are covered by:

  • Fishing – The top fishing ports in Ireland are Killybegs, Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay, but fishing vessels also land into numerous small ports around the coast.
  • Fish farming - Aquaculture activity includes growing finfish, such as salmon and trout and shellfish farming, including the cultivation of mussels, oysters and scallops.
  • Processing - Seafood companies produce high value products from salmon, whitefish, shellfish and pelagic fish species (eg herring, mackerel and horse mackerel) all of which generate substantial export earnings to the sector.
  • Marketing - Irish seafood is sold at home and in international markets (Europe, Africa and the Far East) where exports are valued at €559 million.

Ireland has the ambition to position itself as an international leader in the global seafood industry. Read: Food Wise 2025 strategy.

 

What is the size and scope of the sector?


The Irish Seafood Industry currently employs approximately 11,000 people, predominantly in coastal communities. The industry operates in a number of rural areas which would have no other source of income. BIM's action plan to deliver 1200 jobs and €1 billion seafood sales in the Irish seafood sector can be explored here

The seafood industry can be divided into three sectors – the catching sector, aquaculture and shellfish farming and processing. In addition there are over 1000 people employed in ancillary industries such as marine engineering, net making, ship repair and marine electronics.

Fishing vessels operate from ports all around the Irish coast whilst fish farming operations are principally located in Donegal, Connemara, West Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Carlingford Lough.

 

What are the current issues affecting this sector?


BIM’s is working to enhance the environmental sustainability of Irish Seafood. Ecological sustainability is a basic premise for the economic and social future of European fisheries, and the development of the wider seafood sector. 

The task facing Irish seafood now is to position Ireland as a key player in the supply of quality, sustainably-sourced seafood to a global market. BIM is supporting the industry’s efforts to achieve this goal through a range of initiatives built around: skills, sustainability, competitiveness and innovation. Read more here. 

Video: Deep Sea Fishing in Ireland

 

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years


Brexit will bring about uncertain changes for the fishing industry in Ireland which cannot yet be estimated.

The recent decommissioning of fishing vessels may result in some fishermen taking up a job in aquaculture where they can deploy their considerable range of skills acquired from working at sea and enhance them through further training. Others perhaps might consider a job ashore in the fish processing sector more appropriate to their needs. Some may diversify into marine tourism and others may consider a career in the merchant marine with the option to return to fisheries.

BIM’s mission is to grow a thriving Irish seafood industry; expand the raw material base, add value and develop efficient supply chains that together deliver on the Government’s Food Harvest 2020 targets for seafood and create sustainable jobs. The processing sector is restructuring to maximise value and profitability and there will be graduate placement opportunities for those interested in a career in the shore based sector.

 

Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?


The Irish Seafood industry’s contribution of  more than €700 million to the national economy. Aquaculture accounts for 40% of landed value of total primary production of fish and shellfish. There are 2,300 fishing vessels, 200 seafood processing plants, and 365 fish farming operations in Ireland with multiple sites adding to this number. Detailed statistics in both volume and value terms can be found on the BIM website www.bim.ie. There are 5,000 fishermen, 2,000 engaged in finfish and shellfish farming and processing employs 3,500 people in 200 fish processing plants around the country. In addition there are 1,100 employed in ancillary industries such as marine engineering, net making, ship repair and marine electronics.

The female participation rate on BIM’s training courses averages 15%, with a higher proportion working in aquaculture and processing. Young women have also progressed through BIM’s training courses and gained experience at sea in order to study for their Certificates of Competency as skippers of fishing vessels.

 

Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?


There are job opportunities in all sectors of the Irish seafood industry.

Currently the industry is experiencing difficulty in employing Deck Hands for boats over 17 metres. At present these jobs are filled mainly by non EU nationals. You must complete a training course accredited by BIM in order to seek employment in this area.

For those with an adventurous disposition who would prefer an outdoor life, BIM’s training courses for the catching, aquaculture and processing sectors are an ideal way to learn a wide range of skills which will enable them to access a variety of interesting job opportunities on fishing vessels, fish farms and shore based processing operations.

 


About Us... header image

Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the State agency with responsibility for developing the Irish Seafood Industry was established by the Sea Fisheries Act, 1952.

Our Mission

BIM’s mission is to grow a thriving Irish seafood industry; expand the raw material base, add value and develop efficient supply chains that together deliver on the Government’s Food Harvest 2020 targets for seafood and create sustainable jobs. 

The policies to pursue this mission are determined by the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, and are outlined in BIM's Strategy document.

A primary objective for BIM is to improve the quality and value of output from sea fish and aquaculture sectors by focussing on opportunities in these sectors and seeking to alleviate constraints that impede sustainable development. To achieve this objective, BIM provides a range of services including technical expertise, business support, funding, training and promoting responsible environmental practice.

Clientele
BIM’s clients include fishermen, fish farmers, processors and those engaged in marketing Irish seafood, in addition to students, educators, the media, seafood consumers and the general public.

The National Fisheries College operates in two main locations, Greencastle, Co. Donegal, and Castletownbere, Co. Cork.

National Fisheries College of Ireland, Greencastle, Co. Donegal.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s National Fisheries College of Ireland, Greencastle, Co. Donegal is located on the Inishowen peninsula, approximately 32Km from Derry City.

The college offers a range of training courses in the catching, engineering and safety sectors which are accredited by Quality & Qualifications Ireland QQI and the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport. The qualifications are therefore both nationally and internationally recognised.

Entry to BIM’s training courses is direct to the college, as BIM is not part of the CAO system. Therefore, there are no points required, however, for some of the courses, there are specific subject requirements. Candidates are chosen for the course places by interview.

The college offers a QQI Certificate in Commercial Fishing (Level 5) which aims to give new entrants and existing practitioners comprehensive training in fishing vessel operations, boat handling, net mending, basic engineering and safety at sea skills, in order to prepare the participants for work as a crew member on fishing vessels. This course commences in September each year.

Individuals who have chosen a career in fisheries and have a minimum of two years sea service can progress to command positions through the acquisition of Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport accredited Deck Officer Certificates of Competency. These highly practical courses teach a range of navigation and safety skills to those whose ambition is to become a skipper or mate of a commercial fishing vessel. These courses are run several times a year at the college.

Marine engineering skills training is provided for new entrants and experienced engineers alike and includes practical work experience in real seagoing conditions, to prepare course participants for eventual employment as an Engineer Officer on board a fishing vessel. New entrants commence at Class Three and with additional study and sea service, they can progress eventually to Engineer Officer Certificate of Competency Class One. These courses commence in September each year.

BIM also offer a range of safety and radio courses at the college, including a 3- day safety training, 1-day Enhanced Safety Training and Radio Certificates of Competency. These courses are run on a regular basis. The college boasts an elevated working trawler deck, state-of-the-art computerised simulation equipment, net loft, engine room, workshops and a training vessel, the MFV “Lough Swilly”, library and a student common room.

National Fisheries College of Ireland, Castletownbere, Co. Cork.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s National Fisheries College of Ireland, Castletownbere, Co. Cork is located on the Beara peninsula, approximately 50Km from Bantry.

The college offers a range of training courses in the catching, engineering and safety sectors which are accredited by Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI)  and the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport. The qualifications are therefore both nationally and internationally recognised.

Entry to BIM’s training courses is direct to the college, as BIM is not part of the CAO system. Therefore, there are no points required, however, for some of the courses, there are specific subject requirements. Candidates are chosen for the course places by interview.

The college offers a number of aquaculture courses which range from a basic introductory module aimed at giving new entrants a foundation in fish farming methods to a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Aquaculture. This QQI Level 5 Certificate in Aquaculture course commences in February each year. A programme in Seaweed On-growing which is also accredited by QQI is available to learners.

The college delivers a QQI Level 5 Marine Engineering Processes programme. This course aims to provide participants with a basic understanding of the operation of marine diesel engines and associated machinery on small vessels. This course is run on a regular basis.

Individuals who have chosen a career in fisheries and have a minimum of two years sea service can progress to command positions through the acquisition of Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport accredited Deck Officer Certificates of Competency. These highly practical courses teach a range of navigation and safety skills to those who ambition is to become a skipper or mate of a commercial fishing vessel. These courses are run several times a year at the college.

BIM also offer a range of safety and radio courses at the college, including a 3- day safety training, 1-day Enhanced Safety Training and Radio Certificates of Competency. These courses are run on a regular basis.

The college boasts a net mending and construction loft, engineering workshop, a radio communication room, aquaculture work boats and RIBs (rigid inflatable boats).