Belfast Telegraph

Catch of the day: seafood firm nets Far East contracts

By Louise Small

A County Down seafood business has agreed a contract with two Japanese companies worth £500,000.

Kilkeel-based Rooney Fish secured the deal after meeting the buyers at a seafood show in Brussels.

Managing director of Rooney Fish, Andrew Rooney, said: "There is a big market for seafood in Japan.

"Rooney Fish have attended the Brussels Seafood Show for the past 15 years and met the Japanese buyers there.

"The Hanwa and Chuugai Shokuhin companies arrived at our plant in Kilkeel and have placed orders for £500,000 worth of shellfish."

Hanwa is a distribution company from Japan and a large player in the distribution of seafood throughout China, Japan and Hong Kong, while Chuugai Shokuhin also placed an order with the Kilkeel company.

"They came to the premises in Kilkeel where we have a cooking facility which is the only one in the UK and Ireland," Mr Rooney said. "The quality of our product sold itself."

All of the products supplied by Rooney Fish are sourced from the Irish Sea. The family-run business, which was established in 1975, has expanded in recent years and now has offices in France, Spain and Italy.

Rooney Fish also welcomed prospective buyers from Dubai to the plant on Saturday.

"We had some help from Invest NI and from that we have attended the Gulf Seafood Show for the past three years," Mr Rooney said before the visit.

"This is where our contact with the Dubai company came about.

"For the past two years we have been talking to these partnerships and Saturday will be their first visit to Rooney Fish. Everything is processed in Northern Ireland, it is a one-stop shop."

Mr Rooney said he will be travelling to Hong Kong in the autumn and hopes to meet the companies again.

"It has been a few years in the making but hopefully the trip will lead to even more communication in the industry," he added.

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