Biomarine plant to bring jobs to Donegal

State aid and planning approval will be required for the €35 million project

Ireland could become a "global leader" in marine food ingredients if plans for a biomarine plant in south Donegal are realised, according to a Norwegian-Irish consortium.

State aid and planning approval will be required for the €35 million project, focused on adding value to species like the tiny sub-tropical boarfish that has been moving north in larger numbers due to warming seas.

Norwegian firm Biomarine Science Technology and the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation will be seeking planning approval for a plant that can extract high-end proteins, oils and calcium from species such as boarfish for use as food ingredients. The plant will also extract lipids – naturally occurring molecules and fat-soluble vitamins.

The Biomarine Ingredients Ireland Ltd consortium, chaired by former skipper Martin Howley of the Killybegs group, forecasts it could generate up to 50 jobs during construction and 70 on completion – guaranteeing the future of the port. Minister for Marine Simon Coveney said that it has the potential to "become a catalyst for transformation of the Irish seafood sector".

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times