€37.3m has been allocated for capital projects in 2023 in Ireland’s six state-owned fishery harbour centres.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said that these six centres - at Killybegs, Rossaveal, Dingle, Castletownbere, Dunmore East, and Howth - are "critical infrastructure" for the seafood industry.
"Approximately 90% of all fish landings into Ireland come through these facilities," Mr McConalogue said.
"This demonstrates how successful these harbours have become as economic hubs for the seafood industry.
"The continuous development of the infrastructure in these harbours has been critical to the fishing fleet and the land-based seafood processing industry.
"These harbours are the economic development drivers for the largely peripheral coastal communities and hinterlands where they are located."
Mr McConalogue said that Ireland's 200-mile exclusive economic zone provides "rich nursery and fishing grounds" for its own fleet, and other EU fleets.
"The Irish seafood industry and Government, working on the strategy set out by the industry-led Seafood Taskforce, are committed to overcoming current challenges and building a strong sustainable Irish seafood industry on a bedrock of sustainably managed fish stocks," he continued.
"A critical element for the future of our fisheries-dependant coastal communities is top-class landing infrastructure, where a modern seafood industry can operate effectively and be efficiently serviced.
"Our geographic position close to the fishing grounds and the likely rising real cost of energy in the coming decades provide a strategic opportunity for our harbours and coastal communities to become growing seafood hubs offering best facilities that attract landings from a greater portion of the fish caught in our 200-mile zone."
In 2021, approximately 88% of the sea fish landed into the state was landed into the six fishery harbour centres.
For 2021, Bord Iascaigh Mhara reported that the Irish seafood industry contributed €1.26bn to the Irish economy.
Two flagship projects are already contracted under the 2023 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme.
These include the Deep Water Quay at Rossaveal (€16m in 2023) for which the minister announced a contractor had been appointed in December 2022, and the ongoing Smooth Point Pier Extension at Killybegs (€7.5m in 2023) which should be substantially completed this year.
The funding announcement will also enable completion of the major Castletownbere development project which the department has been undertaking for the last four years.
The programme also supports maintenance at Cape Clear and a small number of piers, lights and beacons around the coast in accordance with the 1902 ex-congested Districts Board Piers, Lights and Beacons Act.