2003 saw a 10.2% slump in exports of seafood from Ireland to €384m (US$460m).

A marginal improvement of 3.3% in the value of domestic seafood sales to €281m partly offset the disappointing export performance, reported the Irish Sea Fisheries Board BIM.

The export downturn was attributed to more competition in the international marketplace, notably in farmed salmon, herring and whitefish. The depreciation of the US dollar also negatively impacted the EU market, commented the Irish Times.

Shellfish continues to outperform other categories, growing by 9.5% to €132m last year.