Hooked on rich waters but bound by red tape
Published 05/10/2010 | 05:00
It would be no exaggeration to say that John Harrington lives off the tide. The fish farmer from Ardgroom, west Cork, supplies organic mussels to the domestic, British and Continental markets.
Over the last three decades, John and his brother Flor have developed a thriving business and their Kush Shellfish brand has a turnover of more than €1.5m.
However, while they are masters of their trade, John Harrington points out that their business is essentially based on providing an environment for the mussels to grow and allowing the plankton in the tide to feed them.
"Tens of thousands of tonnes of feed are carried in and out of these bays twice a day by the tide and all we provide are the lines on which the mussels locate," John explains.
While growing mussels may seem a simple enough business, the Harringtons have sought to maximise the benefits of their environment by producing organic shellfish.
To secure this tag, they use bio-degradable oils on all machinery. The fact that they are located in Class A waters and in a Special Area of Conser-vation (SAC) does the rest.
The Harringtons have invested more than €1m in their business over the last three years, with the bulk of that money going on a new harvesting boat.
Marketing their produce both at home and abroad is now the focus. With this in mind they have sourced new buyers on the Continent, while also securing a contract to supply mussels to Superquinn.