Kilkeel fish firm strikes new Asian export deal
A Co Down seafood company is creating 20 new jobs, increasing its workforce by a third, as it hooks a deal to export its oysters to Asia.
Kilkeel oyster farm Rooney Fish has won business with a leading seafood distributor in Hong Kong.
As part of the deal, the family-run firm will supply its Mill Bay Pacific Oysters for use in high-end hotels and restaurants on the island, building on its success exporting crabs for the Chinese market.
As a result of the new jobs, Rooney Fish now employs 65 people and is one of Northern Ireland's leading seafood processors, also operating its own trawlers.
The business also sells processed, cooked, chilled and frozen seafood and shellfish.
Andrew Rooney, director, said: "We've been building contacts and sales in China for several years and have developed good business for our crab products. It comes just days after the oysters gained three gold stars in the Great Taste Awards for the second year in a row.
"Oyster farming is a new diversification which we launched in our own site on north Carlingford Lough, one of the cleanest stretches of water in the British Isles, just three years ago.
"We won our first Great Taste three-stars in just our second year of farming. This was a tremendous encouragement which helped our export focus initially in France and now in Hong Kong. Interest in oysters contributed to our growth in exports in our financial year 2017 to over £1m. We've already exceeded this figure in the current year."