Saturday, July 13

Sea Source: Sustaining the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Seafood Industry

In the pristine waters off the coast of Northern Ireland, a remarkable story unfolds — the story of Sea Source, a co-operative owned by the fishermen of Northern Ireland. With a legacy dating back to 1853, Sea Source is more than just a seafood company; it is a testament to the resilience, heritage, and future of the Northern Ireland fishing community. In this article, we delve into the world of Sea Source, as showcased in a video featuring Alan McCall, the CEO of Sea Source, and their dedicated team.

A Legacy Anchored in Tradition

Sea Source is not just a business; it is a living legacy. The co-operative is owned by the fishermen of Northern Ireland, who have been catching, landing, and selling world-class seafood in Kilkeel since 1853. When you buy from Sea Source, you are directly supporting the fishermen of Northern Ireland, their families, their community, and a cherished way of life.

Alan McCall, the CEO of Sea Source, embodies this legacy. With fishing in his blood — his father, grandfather, and in-laws were all fishermen — McCall is deeply connected to the sea and the community it sustains. Under his leadership, Sea Source has grown from a small operation into a thriving business that employs over 70 people and is projected to reach a turnover of 30 million pounds this year.

Fresh from the Sea

The video takes viewers into the heart of Sea Source’s processing factory in Kilkeel, where the freshness of the catch is paramount. The seafood, including prawns and crabs, is landed almost daily, ensuring that the products are as fresh as possible. The video showcases this freshness vividly, with scenes of seafood that is so fresh it is still moving after being landed.

Sustainable and Ethical Fishing

Sea Source is committed to responsible and sustainable fishing practices. The co-operative’s mission includes being a world leader in the supply of wild-caught, sustainable, and high-quality seafood from Northern Ireland. They are dedicated to the welfare of their fishermen and are actively involved in the management of fisheries to ensure that their methods are sustainable and ethical.

Open Sea Fishing: A Rich Experience

The video also provides a glimpse into the exciting and rewarding experience of open sea fishing off the coast of Northern Ireland. The clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean are home to a wide variety of fish, including cod, haddock, plaice, mackerel, and more. Sea Source is part of this vibrant fishing culture, contributing to the local economy and the global seafood market while prioritizing sustainability.

More Than Just a Business

For Sea Source, fishing is not merely an industry; it is a way of life that has been passed down through generations. The co-operative is deeply invested in building a future for each generation of their fishing community. This commitment is reflected in their mission, which encompasses diversification within the fishing industry, the welfare of their fishermen, and building a sustainable future for the community.

Sea Source is a shining example of how a business can be both profitable and principled. With its deep roots in the Northern Ireland fishing community, its commitment to sustainability and ethical practices, and its focus on delivering the highest quality seafood, Sea Source is not just preserving a way of life — it is charting a course for a sustainable and prosperous future.

In the words of Alan McCall, the success of Sea Source is a “team effort,” and that team starts with the fishermen. It is a poignant reminder that behind every catch, there is a community, a family, and a story that is worth preserving and celebrating. Read more about fishing, fish dishes and cooking on the food and drink blog 

The State of Sea Fishing in the UK and Ireland

The UK and Ireland have a long history of sea fishing. The industry has been a major source of food and employment for centuries. However, the fishing industry in the UK and Ireland is facing a number of challenges, including overfishing, climate change, and the decline of fish stocks.


Overfishing is a major problem in the UK and Ireland. It is caused by fishing too many fish, too often, and using too many boats. This can lead to the depletion of fish stocks and the collapse of fishing communities. In 2020, the UK fishing industry landed 623 thousand tonnes of sea fish, worth £987 million. The Irish fishing industry landed 135 thousand tonnes of sea fish, worth €380 million, in 2020. The most valuable fish species caught in the UK and Ireland are cod, haddock, and mackerel.

Climate Change

Climate change is also a major challenge for the fishing industry. It is causing changes in ocean temperatures and currents, which can affect the distribution and abundance of fish. For example, warmer waters are causing some fish species to move to different areas, while others are becoming less abundant.

The Decline of Fish Stocks

The decline of fish stocks is another major challenge for the fishing industry. This is caused by a number of factors, including overfishing, climate change, and pollution. In recent years, there has been a decline in the number of fish stocks in the North Sea, which has had a negative impact on the fishing industry.

The Fishing Industry’s Response

The fishing industry in the UK and Ireland is working to address these challenges. They are doing this by reducing fishing effort, improving fish stock management, and adapting to climate change. For example, the UK government has introduced a number of measures to reduce fishing effort, such as limiting the number of days that boats can fish and the amount of fish that can be caught. The Irish government has also introduced similar measures.

The fishing industry is also working to improve fish stock management. This includes developing better ways to monitor fish stocks and to set sustainable fishing quotas. The fishing industry is also working to adapt to climate change. This includes developing new fishing techniques that can be used in warmer waters and developing new markets for fish species that are becoming less abundant.

The Future of Sea Fishing

The future of sea fishing in the UK and Ireland is uncertain. The industry is facing a number of challenges, but it is also working to address these challenges. The success of the industry in the years to come will depend on its ability to adapt to the changing environment.

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