Fish caught in the Irish Sea will soon be served on dinner plates in the Middle East thanks to a new deal with a Co Down co-operative.
Kilkeel co-operative fishing, processing and distribution group Seasource Ltd has announced an unprecedented partnership with an eCommerce focused holding company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Irish Sea Food Company will be a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi-based company which will feature Kilkeel-landed fresh fish and seafood in a new online catalogue as well as through numerous local supermarkets and restaurants.
It will take online orders from customers in the UAE, which will be processed and freighted from Kilkeel to guarantee a fresh and tasty product is delivered within 48 hours.
Alan McCulla, chief executive officer of Seasource Ltd, said this is the first time fresh fish from Northern Ireland will be made available directly to customers the Middle East.
He said projected sales for the first year will be modest but should exceed £1.5m per annum within the next three years.
Mr McCulla added: "The new venture requires high grade logistical capacity and fast turn-around capability.
"These are requirements which we have perfected in recent years thanks to our growing export business, which includes Ireland, GB, France, Spain and Italy.
"We have worked closely with our new Partners to create the Irish Sea Food Company and are delighted to announce this new venture. We are grateful to Invest NI, who facilitated the introduction last year during a UAE trade mission with the company principals Alan O'Donnell and Ian Grannan.
"Kilkeel operations will benefit from this as they already have, from expansion, including the new partnership with international fishing company Hooktone Group."