Fish processor expands into West Cork with 30 new jobs

DUBLIN-based fish processor and exporter Rockabill Shellfish has bought a West Cork business premises, as part of an expansion move leading to 30 immediate extra jobs.

The company has just acquired the former Skibbereen premises of Union Hall Fishermen’s Company, for a sum thought to be less than €1 million. It is investing a further €500,000 upgrading it immediately

It gives a new reach to the Price family-owned business, based near Dublin Airport and M1 in Ballbriggan, North Dublin. The company operates its own refrigerated truck fleet and nine trawlers, and also buys from 70 other Irish fishing vessels.

Its main export market is Europe, it is spreading to new markets such as China, and currently employs 35-40. It will grow that to 65 by next year, said Rockabill director Alan Price, who’s third generation in the fishing business.

He said the West Cork premises and its processing capacity will establish Rockabill as probably the country’s largest fish processor.

“Our model is to cover from the seabed to the supermarket shelf, and we opened our first Taste of the Sea supermarket last year in Glasnevin, with 700 frozen fish products, and tomorrow open our first Taste of the Sea franchise in Ennis,” added Mr Price last night.

Rocakbill Shellfish has a turnover in excess of €10m per annum, and acquired by sales tender the 60,000sq ft former premises of the Union Hall Fishermen’s Company Ltd, on 11 acres in Skibbereen. It was bought via local agent Charles McCarthy, acting for receiver Carl Dillon of Moore Stephens Nathans.

The property was associated with the 1960/70s Fastnet Co-op, set up to provide food processing jobs.

Rockabill Shellfish Ltd had sub-leased space in Skibbereen prior to emerging as the successful buyer.

It has brokers in Italy and Spain, and specialises in ‘Fresh Frozen’ seafood product, harvested around the Irish coastline, especially the scampi-rich Porcupine Bank 300km off the south coast.

Owned by the Price family, it was established in 1984, and since 1996 has had integrated operations from catching and processing to the export of shellfish and fish catches.


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