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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2019)

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    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefPrepared: September 2019

    In the Republic of Ireland the seafood industry makes a contribution to the national economy in terms of output, employment and exports. The seafood sector is worth over EUR 700 million to the economy, and employs around 11 000 people of which, as direct employment, 3 361  people in capture fisheries (2017) and 1 916 in aquaculture with 7% women (2017), especially in rural coastal regions.

    While consumer demand for seafood is growing strongly, as illustrated by the increase in fish consumption from about 11 kg/capita in 1970 to about 23 kg/capita in 2017, the domestic supply of seafood is facing difficulties mainly due to the declines in fish stocks, declining quotas for traditional species and structural imbalances at catching and processing levels.

    The fishing fleet of about 2 022 vessels (2017) is dominated by vessels less than 12 m in overall length which are multipurpose and include small inshore vessels (set and drift netters and potters), beam trawlers fishing for flatfish (sole, plaice) or scallops, and medium vessels targeting demersal fish, Norway lobster or herring. The majority of vessels over 40 m are equipped with refrigerated seawater tanks and target small pelagic species such as mackerel and horse mackerel.

    Capture fishery production amounted to about 246800 tonnes in 2017. Traditionally, Irish catches have been dominated by small pelagic species caught by pair mid-water trawl in the Northeast Atlantic, but in recent years as catch quotas have become ever more restrictive, the larger vessels in this fleet have diversified fishing also for boarfish in deeper waters of the Northeast Atlantic and, until 2011, travelled to fish in distant waters off west Africa. Top species caught in 2017 were mackerel (86400 tonnes), blue whiting (44600 tonnes), horse mackerel (23900 tonnes) and herring (16300 tonnes), all species which are overwhelmingly destined for export markets. Inland fisheries are mainly important for the recreational fishing sector (including tourism) now that commercial salmon and eel fisheries have been seriously restricted.

    There is also an important harvest of wild seaweed with and estimated production of about 29500 tonnes per year, including 28000 tonnes of rockweed which is used in the alginate and fertiliser industries. Aquaculture in Ireland is reported to be 45400 tonnes in 2017, which represents 15 percent of the total fish production (292200 tonnes). The main species cultured include blue mussel, Atlantic salmon and Pacific cupped oyster.

    Irish exports of fishery commodities were valued at USD 722 million in 2017 and were dominated by frozen whole pelagic fish whereas imports amounted to USD 368 million and were dominated by prepared and preserved fish (mainly tunas) and frozen shrimps and prawns.
    General geographic and economic indicators

    Key statistics

    Country area70 280km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Land area68 890km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Inland water area1 390km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.4.923millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2019
    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area425 346km2VLIZ
    GDP (current US$)382 487millionsWorld Bank. 2018
    GDP per capita (current US$)78 806US$World Bank. 2018
    Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added0.92% of GDPWorld Bank. 2018

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statistics

    Updated 2019The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_IE.pdf

    Additional information

    FAO Thematic data bases

    Meetings & News archive


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