West Cork's fishing industry is to gain a new €23.5m, 216m-long quay development following approval of the project and associated works on Dinish Island, Castletownbere.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, attended the signing of the contract with L&M Keating builders.
Minister Creed: said: “When completed, the new facilities will be on a par with the best in Europe, and will significantly drive forward the fishing industry and local economy on the Beara Peninsula and allow for a major expansion of the seafood support sector and other marine-related industries in the South West.
"The expanded landing facilities and increased quay space will also provide opportunities for further economic diversification.”
The project will double the workable quay space on Dinish Island and will enable significant expansion in fish landings, on-shore processing and general marine activity at the port.
Minister Creed added: “Government Policy is to substantially increase the landings into Ireland from all vessels that fish in the waters around Ireland.
"We want to see Ireland become the hub for all the marine activities that can be generated by the sustainable harvesting of these renewable resources in our marine sphere.”
As well as the 216m of extra landing berth, the project will deliver 2.2 acres of highly usable reclaimed quay storage area, two new major breakwater structures at the entrance to the harbour, and dredging works to further facilitate landings by vessels up to 100m long.
The last major landing quay development in Castletownbere was completed in 2010. Since then, overall landings into Castletownbere have increased by 60% in volume from 19,030t to 30,522t and 232 % in value from €29.9m to €99.4m in 2017.
The number of landings from other large EU fishing trawlers has increased by 317% from 370 to 1,543 per annum over the same seven-year period.
The Dinish Island project has been proposed for part funding under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme, co-funded the Government of Ireland and the European Union.