Howth’s ‘Kish Fish’ to expand following €160k investment

by Rose Barrett
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A Howth seafood business is set for significant expansion following a €160,000* investment grant-aided under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (€70,000).

The award-winning Kish Fish is planning to increase jobs alongside the variety and volume of its popular ready-to-eat/ready-to-cook products with an upgraded and more energy efficient production facility thanks to the investment.

“We realised a few years ago that our existing production facility was too small. We were constrained in our plans to develop and increase the volume and variety of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat seafood products for which there was more demand after Covid.” said Tadgh O’Meara, one of two brothers running the business. 

“The investment supported a combination of plant and equipment upgrading, staff upskilling and recruitment and internal construction changes. It allows for production of higher volumes of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook food.” said Tadgh. “The new facility includes a seafood dicing machine which will be a gamechanger, allowing us to produce a higher volume of value-added products, directly appealing to food services and hospitality customers.” 

Already, Kish Fish has increased its capacity of fish cake production by 20 per cent a week, along with doubling the production of seafood chowder by 50pc per day.

“The increase in production of ready-made convenience meals will expand our customer base within our own retail outlets, and through our high-volume customers. Building on our existing smokehouse capability, we will shift the focus away from the stalwart products such as salmon and cod to new high value products.” 

Supplying more prepared fresh food should help their hospitality customers overcome staff and skills challenges. The new development also means Kish Fish operations are more energy efficient and sustainable with off peak power usage options and environmentally friendly packaging. It will allow for better use of raw material, focusing on increasing the value extracted and reducing the level of waste.

A family affair Kish Fish, which got its name from the Kish Lighthouse, was founded by the O’Meara’s dad, Tadgh Snr and Danny Hughes in 1966 when they first began selling whole fish in the Dublin Fish-market. Brothers Tadgh, Bill and Damian took over the business in the 1990’s but sadly Bill passed away in 2022.

It opened its first retail shop in Bow St, Dublin, in 1989 and in 2007 a purpose-built facility in Coolock to meet growing demand (with a new factory shop opening a year later). The business expanded in 2016 when it acquired a smokehouse and a third retail shop on Howth’s west pier. A year later, in partnership with Avoca, it opened a seafood counter in Dunboyne.

As well as its four popular fish shops, there is a production facility, the Baily & Kish smokehouse, an online shop, and the Baily Bites at Kish food truck, located on the West Pier in Howth.

“From small beginnings we are proud that today Kish Fish supplies hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and other food service outlets all over the country with top quality seafood.” said Tadgh.

“We supply the highest quality seafood at competitive prices, and work with an extensive list of trusted partners who supply quality fish and shellfish from around Ireland’s coastline and beyond.  Kish Fish also hopes to increase staff numbers recruiting new employees at all levels including specialists, operatives and chefs bringing jobs to the local economy while playing its part in carrying on the long legacy and heritage of fishing in Howth”,

*The project cost over €160,000 of which almost €70,000 was grant aided under the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme recommended by the Seafood Taskforce established by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and implemented by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). The scheme is funded by the European Union under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

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