Irish fishmeal plant redeveloped to the tune of €30m

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock
© istock
A marine ingredients production facility in Donegal has been reconstructed and scaled up to become the biggest plant of its kind in the UK and Ireland.

The United Fish Industries (UFI) fishmeal and fish oil site in Killybegs officially opened last month but it has been on stream for nearly a year, following an 18 month long rebuild, said Frank Trearty, general manager of UFI, which is a part of the Norwegian Pelagia Group. 

“Nevertheless, we are still refining production and tweaking things, that is the nature of these expansion projects,”​ he said. 

UFI fishmeal production Donegal ministers at opening
Ministers attend UFI fishmeal plant opening day

The new facility sits on the site of an original plant, which had been in existence since 1957. And the construction of the new factory was not a straightforward operation, as UFI maintained production throughout the project, explained the general manager. 

“We rebuilt and redesigned the plant as we needed to completely modernize production; we have installed new lines, along with up to date environmental and control systems in order to be able to process big volumes of raw materials in a short timeframe to match the large size of today’s fishing vessels and limited fishing window,”​ said Trearty.  

The new systems in place also enable energy efficiency gains of around 15%, he said. 

The facility now has capacity to process 1,200 metric tons of raw material per day. “We are a mid-sized facility in the global sense,”​ continued Trearty. 

Diversification in supply

The factory is supplying, in the main, the three largest aqua feed producers globally, EWOS, Skretting and BioMar, but also livestock customers in the UK in addition to the pet food market, he told us.

“The pig and poultry feed market would still account for a reasonable percentage of our business. The important thing is to diversify. We have learnt not to have an over reliance on one particular sector,”​ said Trearty when asked what the impact on business is of fishmeal now being a more strategic feed component.

UFI fishmeal production Donegal
Team at rebuilt UFI fishmeal plant in Donegal

He said the ingredients produced are all IFFO RS certified, the raw materials come from blue whiting and boarfish as well as by-products from the pelagic filleting industry in Ireland.

The plant also meets ISO 9001 and organic feed certification standards, said the general manager.

And the site upgrade, added Trearty, will help secure the employment of the 36 workers engaged directly in the facility, as well as supporting indirect employment locally.

The Killybegs fishmeal production site is one of seven plants under Pelagia’s feed division, the core business of which is production of fishmeal, protein concentrates and fish oil. The Scandinavian business has facilities in Norway, UK and Ireland.

In addition, Pelagia feed has a facility with significant storage capacity in Egersund in Norway that is approved as a border station for importation of protein and oils from third countries.

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