Growing up, Edward Gallagher showed little interest in school and even less in his father’s trade, construction. In the mid-1990s, Edward’s father launched an oyster farming business, hoping that his son would one day take an interest in entrepreneurship. At the time, the Irish oyster industry was relatively new; the clean saltwater off Donegal had only recently been identified as an ideal breeding ground for commercial oyster production.
The Gallaghers’ venture took off. Through a strategic partnership with a distributor in Hong Kong, Irish Premium Oysters became highly sought-after in Asia, with some of the most expensive seafood restaurants in the region paying to have them flown in fresh every day.
Demand for Irish oysters has only intensified since. From 2017 to 2018, Irish oyster sales to China increased by 83 per cent; currently, annual sales to China alone are estimated at approximately €6 million.
It is not only the bottom line that drives operations at Irish Premium Oysters, however. Sustainable aquaculture has been woven into the DNA of the multigenerational family business. Irish Premium Oysters is an accredited participant of the Origin Green programme and, therefore, operates in accordance with Ireland’s highest order of sustainable and carbon-friendly protocols.