That’s one shell of an idea!

Get the crackers out because a West Cork shellfish company has just launched Ireland’s first crab pâté following an upgrading of its factory.

Shellfish Ireland, based in Castletownbere, developed the pâté using what would previously have been waste.

The company was able to upgrade its factory thanks to a €793,281 Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme grant, implemented by Bord Iaschaigh Mhara (BIM).

The company says the investment will help the development additional fish products from what was previously waste, increasing efficiency and cutting down the cost of disposal.

Shellfish Ireland CEO, Carol Harrington, said the grant has been used to purchase new equipment for processing shellfish and to upgrade cold storage facilities.

“This upgrading means we can focus on more value-added products, and we are delighted to have recently launched Ireland’s first crab pate which is listed in Dunnes and Musgraves stores,” she said.

The Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme brings to over €1 million in grants Shellfish Ireland has secured through BIM since 2021.

Ms Harrington said her company is currently “focusing very much on value added products” now that machinery allows the processing of all parts of the crab including the body, claws, legs, and shell".

“This maximises the output of the crab and helps us mix different crab meats for various products,” said Ms Harrington.

The new refrigeration system will speed up the freezing time during processing, enhancing the quality of the product as well as improving energy efficiency.

According to Ms Harrington, the investment adds value to the crab and shrimp landings in Ireland.

“All the raw material is landed into local ports around the Irish coast. The majority of the crab and shrimp purchased by Shellfish Ireland is from small to medium boats and family fishing enterprises, so we are supporting this industry in rural Ireland,” she said.

Shellfish Ireland products are BRC Garde A certified and are available in all five major supermarket retailers. They also sell into restaurants and hotels. On the export market it sells in Europe and Asia.

The company was first established in Castletownbere in 1987 by two young fishermen, Richard Murphy and Peter O’Sullivan Greene.

From small beginnings, Shellfish Ireland has grown to become one of the largest employers in the area, with more than 130 people working there today.

The Murphy’s are still very much involved with 95 year old Pat Murphy – Richard’s dad – chair of the board of Shellfish Ireland.

Pat is still very active in the business and chairs meetings. Richard’s son, Ryan, also works for the company, adding a third generation of the Murphy family to work there.