Having successfully completed a €4 million funding round earlier this year, marine foods ingredients firm, Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland (BII) has been further boosted with an investment of €750,000 from Enterprise Ireland. The company has just commenced full commercial production at its €12 million marine ingredients processing facility in Lough Egish, Co Monaghan. Fifteen of the twenty-five full-time positions which will be created during the first phase of the company’s development, are already filled. BII will develop value added protein products derived from fish sourced in Irish waters.

BII CEO Jason Whooley commented: “We are particularly pleased at this vote of confidence from Enterprise Ireland as it is a significant investment from a High Potential Start-Up perspective. It is testament to the excellent work which is being done at the company. BII’s mission is to provide an efficient new source of sustainably produced marine protein ingredients suitable for human consumption. With ongoing food ingredient inflation and a rising demand for quality protein in the food manufacturing sector, there is a strong and increasing demand for marine derived nutritional and bioactive ingredients which can both substitute and be complementary to vegetable and animal ingredients.”

Enterprise Ireland CEO, Julie Sinnamon said: “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support the ongoing expansion of Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland as it enters a significant phase of growth through the development of a new facility in Co. Monaghan and the subsequent creation of further jobs. The level of innovation displayed by BII since its establishment is crucial for Irish companies with global ambition to effectively compete on national and global scales. Enterprise Ireland’s investment will help enable BII to scale in international markets and further support innovation within the food industry.”

BII’s €4 million debt and equity fund-raising round was raised entirely from existing shareholders. The company intends to direct proceeds from the successful funding round into supporting production and R&D investment.

Mr Whooley said that collaborative initiatives are also advanced with a number of Irish universities and negotiations are progressing with some of the major food companies regarding the end product. Significant opportunities have been identified in the Asia Pacific market for protein fortification with the global protein ingredients market projected to be worth $39billion by 2020. The Monaghan facility has capacity for 12,500 tonnes of fish. Blue whiting will be the principal source of raw material in the ingredients processing plant.

BII has also secured planning permission for a second larger marine ingredients processing facility in Killybegs, Co Donegal which will cost an estimated €35 million to develop and will have capacity for 120,000 tonnes of fish. Construction is provisionally scheduled to get underway in 2018.

BII is a joint venture between the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation and Norwegian firm, Biomarine Science Technology, the latter having many years’ experience in the pharmaceutical, marine biotech and international commodity businesses. The bulk of the raw material will be purchased from processing plants in Killybegs with 750,000 tonnes of blue whiting being fished off the Irish coast annually.