Session 1:
Value creation from pelagic and demersal fisheries (Industry Session)


Developing higher value opportunities from an under-utilised resource: blue whiting 


Michael Gallagher, Pelagic Sector Manager within BIM, Ireland 

Description/ overview:

Blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) represents Ireland’s largest accessible fish species by volume, with over 400,000MT caught annually within Ireland’s EEZ.  As a member of the cod family this species, has a potentially wide application, particularly with the growing global demand for good quality protein.  However, to date this species has largely been largely relegated to commodity and fishmeal production due to a lack of market insights and processing innovation. Over the past twelve months, BIM has worked closely with Irish pelagic processors and fishers to resolve processing issues and evolve market opportunities for blue whiting utilizing a tailored innovation process to identify and resolve issues and progress opportunities.  Commercial processing trials were completed in Killybegs in April 2019, which proved that quality blue whiting can be commercially processed. Mince and surimi trials are currently underway. Product samples (fillets, h&g, mince, surimi) produced during the trials are being distributed to customers over the coming months to gauge specific market opportunities. Business models based on the processing trials and the market data will be communicated to pelagic processors to guide future higher margin opportunities.  


Michael Gallagher holds a PhD in fisheries biology and an MBA on knowledge transfer.  As Pelagic Sector Manager within BIM Michael engages with seafood processors, fishers, agencies and authorities and commercial partners to develop growth opportunities along the value chain. This includes supporting innovative technologies to increase efficiencies or add value for both established species and under-utilised pelagic species.  

Institute/ organisation:

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (Sea Fish Board"; or BIM "Irish Sea Fisheries Board"), established under the Sea Fisheries Act, 1952, is the agency of the Irish state with responsibility for developing the Irish marine fishing and aquaculture industries.
BIM’s strategy aims to enhance the competitiveness of the Irish seafood sector focusing on the following five key strategic priorities:
BIM's vision is to lead the Irish Seafood sector through our effective support and deep expertise so that Ireland becomes the international leader in high value differentiated products that satisfy the growing demand for healthy, safe, responsibly and sustainably produced seafood.