sea source

Sea Source: Revolutionizing Seafood From Ocean to Table

Author Avatar

Updated on March 20, 2024

View transcript

While some may argue that the seafood industry remains mired in antiquated practices, Sea Source’s innovative approach is reshaping the sector. They’ve made significant strides in streamlining the journey of seafood from ocean to table, ensuring not only freshness but also sustainability.

They’ve mastered an intricate cleaning process, setting new industry standards for quality. But how did they achieve such a feat and what implications does this have for the future of the seafood industry? Unraveling the story behind the company’s success might just inspire a broader paradigm shift.

Sea Source’s Business Evolution


Sea Source’s dramatic transformation, from a humble start with just two employees to a thriving business employing over 70 people, showcases the company’s remarkable journey in revolutionizing the seafood industry.

This successful business growth is largely attributable to effective leadership strategies that have fostered team effort and encouraged innovation. The company’s turnover skyrocketed from a few hundred thousand pounds to an impressive 30 million pounds, marking a significant milestone in its evolution.

From establishing various sites around the harbour to diversifying its services, Sea Source’s growth strategy has been both robust and dynamic. The company stands as a testament to the power of strategic planning, constant adaptation, and unwavering resilience in the highly competitive seafood industry.

Detailed Seafood Processing Steps

sea source

Harnessing the bounty of the sea, Sea Source meticulously processes fresh seafood landed daily, initiating a series of steps that ensure the highest quality products for its consumers.

The seafood quality starts with thorough washing to eliminate grit and dirt. Then, a soaking solution is used to maintain freshness. To enhance production efficiency, a grading machine categorizes prawns into varied sizes, streamlining subsequent processing.

The final products encompass prawn tails, shells, and meat, all primed for use in a multitude of culinary creations. This detailed processing method not only maximizes the value of the catch but also minimizes waste, reflecting Sea Source’s commitment to sustainable and efficient practices in the seafood industry.

Innovative Fisheries Management Approach

sea source

Beyond the meticulous processing of seafood, Sea Source also stands out for its innovative approach to fisheries management. This company has modernized traditional methods by embracing sustainable practices that prioritize resource management. Sea Source’s model is distinctive because it gives fishermen a crucial role in decision-making processes, ensuring that their expertise contributes to the sustainable management of marine resources.

The company’s innovative approach provides political representation and administrative support for the fishing community, managing fishing opportunities to ensure long-term sustainability. By diversifying into fish sales and auctioneering, Sea Source adds value to the seafood industry, while also offering services to offshore energy companies. This innovative strategy is revolutionizing the way the seafood industry operates.

Exporting Seafood: A Global Reach

With a global footprint stretching to 4-5 European countries, Sea Source is making a significant impact on the seafood export industry. By catering to the global market, the company’s reach extends beyond local shops and wholesalers in Northern Ireland, providing fresh, quality seafood to a wider audience.

Seafood distribution is a key aspect of Sea Source’s model, ensuring the freshness and quality of their products. Their focus on catching langoustine, scallops, brown crab, and haddock offers a diverse range of seafood options for consumers worldwide.

As Sea Source continues to expand its business, their aim is to add more value to various seafood species, solidifying their position as a key player in the global seafood market.

Community Impact and Involvement

sea source

Sea Source’s commitment to community development is evident in their ambitious goal to construct a new harbor in Kilkeel. This initiative relies heavily on local partnerships and is a testament to their dedication to economic development.

By fostering collaborative relationships with local entities, Sea Source is able to provide job opportunities and boost the local economy. Their community involvement extends to offering administrative support and political representation for local fishermen. Through this, Sea Source ensures that the community’s voice is heard in the broader industry debates.

Promoting Local Seafood Species

sea source

Focusing on local seafood species, Sea Source actively promotes langoustine, scallops, brown crab, and haddock through their processing and exporting operations. Their commitment to sustainable sourcing ensures the longevity of these species, while also providing seafood of the highest quality.

Sea Source’s approach encourages culinary experiences that celebrate local, sustainably sourced seafood, thereby enhancing the reputation of these species on both local and international stages. Their processing techniques ensure the seafood retains its freshness and flavor from ocean to table.

Future Plans and Expansion

sea source

As they continue to champion the preservation of marine biodiversity and promote local seafood species, future plans for Sea Source are firmly anchored in expansion and growth.

Their expansion strategy is two-fold: enhancing market penetration in existing locations and branching out into new territories. This includes not only increasing their presence in local shops and wholesalers in Northern Ireland but also extending their reach to more European countries.

Sea Source also plans to add value to various seafood species, focusing on langoustine, scallops, brown crab, and haddock. Their commitment to community development is unwavering, with the goal of creating a new harbor in Kilkeel.

Undoubtedly, Sea Source’s future plans underscore their commitment to sustainable growth and community development.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Measures Taken by Sea Source to Ensure the Sustainability and Conservation of Marine Life?

Sea Source’s commitment to sustainable fishing and marine protection is evident. They’ve taken significant measures like managing fishing opportunities to prevent overfishing.

They’ve diversified into fish sales and auctioneering, allowing tighter control over what’s caught and sold. Additionally, they’re adding value to seafood, which reduces waste and promotes resourcefulness.

These actions showcase their dedication to conserving marine life, ensuring a sustainable seafood industry for years to come.

Can You Elaborate on the Specific Services Offered to Offshore Energy Companies by Sea Source?

Sea Source isn’t just about seafood. They’re also offering services to offshore energy companies. They’re providing them with offshore infrastructure and focusing on energy efficiency. It’s part of their diversification strategy.

They’re keen on tapping into the thriving offshore wind and undersea cable laying sector. It’s a bold move that shows they’re not just riding the wave but making their own. They’re revolutionizing not just seafood, but also the energy sector.

How Does Sea Source Maintain the Freshness and Quality of Their Seafood During Transportation to European Countries?

To ensure freshness during transportation to European countries, Sea Source uses innovative packaging and cold chain management. They’re immediately chilled after harvest, then vacuum-sealed in special packaging to lock in freshness.

The cold chain is rigorously maintained, keeping the seafood at optimal temperatures during transit. This combination of packaging innovation and strict temperature control ensures the seafood arrives at its destination as fresh as when it left the ocean.

What Is the Business Model of Sea Source and How Does It Contribute to Its Rapid Growth?

Sea Source’s business model revolves around revenue generation and scalability. They’ve diversified their services, including seafood processing, fisheries management, and exports.

They’ve grown rapidly, starting with just two employees to now over 70. Their turnover’s increased dramatically, attributing their success to team effort.

They’re not just expanding, but also adding value to their services. It’s their adaptability and focus on growth that’s catapulting them to success.

What Specific Strategies Does Sea Source Employ to Create Opportunities for the Local Community and Economy?

Sea Source actively engages with the local community, creating jobs and stimulating the economy. They’ve diversified into fish sales and auctioneering, providing additional income streams. By adding value to their catch through processing, they’re boosting their economic impact.

Their goal to develop a new harbor in Kilkeel also promises future opportunities. It’s through these strategic initiatives that Sea Source contributes to their community and local economy.


Sea Source has undeniably reshaped the seafood industry, from managing fisheries to exporting top-quality seafood globally. Their meticulous processing methods and dedication to local species, coupled with a commitment to community involvement, sets them apart.

As they continue to evolve, their plans for harbor development indicate a promising future in the industry. Sea Source truly exemplifies a revolution in seafood, from ocean to table.

Video Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:19)
My name is Alan McCullough, and around Ness Harbour, I’ve got lots and lots of titles, but officially, I’m Chief Executive of Anglo North Irish PO and Seesource. Fishing’s in the blood. My dad was a fisherman. I never went to sea and fished commercially myself, but certainly when I was growing up, I looked forward to the summer holidays and spending a few weeks out on the boat that my dad fished on. My wife My father was a fisherman as too. Her brother’s a fisherman. My grandfather and my mother said he was in the merchant Navy, so there’s salt in the blood. So the destiny was here. When I started here at the Harbour, Just over 30 years ago, I was based in a small porty cabin. And there was me and one other gentleman who was full-time and a part-time secretary. And we’ve now grown into a business that employes over 70 people. We have various sites around the Harbour here, from our offices to our factories. And the business has grown from one with a turnover of a couple of hundred thousand pounds a year to one that’s pushing this year 30 million pounds. So it is a success story.

Speaker 1 (01:27)
But I’ll say it again, success story is a team effort, and the team starts with these guys behind me in the fishing boats.

Speaker 2 (01:50)
Hello, my name is Stephen Price, and I work here at Seesource Processing Limited in Kilkeel. I’m going to give you a wee run around here, our shellfish processing factory today, and give you a little bit of information on what we do here. So if you come along with me here, we have some product here that was landed last night. As you can see, look, this little guy here, he’s still moving. That’s how fresh he is. These guys here are only fished maybe two or three hours off the Coast. The boats land every night, if not every second night, which gives us the main fresh product that we see here today. As you can see, these guys here, as I say, still kicking, I said, so can’t get no fresher than that. If we When you move on here, the product then, when it’s landed from the boat and brought into the factory here, it’s put into the wash. When it goes through the wash here, that will get all the grit and the dirt that the boats haven’t got out whenever they have washed them on board. So this just gives it an extra cleanse.

Speaker 2 (02:45)
If you move on up the line then, the product comes through the wash, comes down into our dip tank here. Whenever it goes into the dip tank, this here is mixed in a solution to help the freshness of the product and help the freshness of the Prawns. It needs to be in this solution for around 5 to 7 minutes. So this is a time belt, so the product gets the correct solution before it goes on to further processing. If you follow us on up here now into the start of the grading machine, you come up here, the girls here the day are putting the Prawns into each one of these wee cups. As you can see here, if we have any damages, which is a guy here has lost his claws and he smashed at the back, they’ll be through over the back and come down into the Discard shoot. This Discard here doesn’t go to waste as we will tail that product, which we get meat out of. Then also the heads and claws will be packed as well, as you can see down here. This then will go for soups and beast and stuff like that there.

Speaker 2 (03:48)
So nothing of the product is wasted. It all has a marketable value. Once we come through here, this gives us our grading machine. So this grades every prong individually. As you can see here, we’re doing about 150 pieces per minute. And then this number here is each prong being weighed individually. They go down onto the grader and packed into five different sizes. As you can see here, the staff members are packing into three kilo cartons. They lay them out nice and straight with the claws out straight as well, which gives a nice presentation for the customers. Any other damages that are missed here can and then be tailed. If you carry along, you’ll see different sizes, different grades, and each one of them is placed on a rack, each for both and for size, which gives us the traceability for both to plate. When we move on down then once the racks are all full, then they proceed down into the blast freezer. The blast freezer is running on about minus 45, and it runs like that for maybe three to four hours. This locks the the freshness and keeps the product in good condition.

Speaker 2 (05:03)
Once we get the discards and the shells back, we bring it down here, and then we have a team which shells the discards, which gives us our saleable meat then. As you can see here, now we have the hotel Scampi, and this will be breaded or battered, and will be on your plate for your pub grub and your fish and chips. After our product then has froze down for the four hours, it’s brought out and put through a glazing machine here. This machine puts a coat of water over the product, which then keeps it from being freezer burnt and keeps the quality of the product as it is shipped. We ship at the minute to four or five different countries in Europe, and also that they are available in local shops and wholesalers throughout Northern Ireland.

Speaker 1 (06:09)
It’s a multifaceted business. The PO, as it’s called within the industry, basically manages the fishing opportunities on behalf of the fishermen. It does the political, with a small P, the political representation. It does a lot of the administrative support for the fishermen as well, maybe around, for example, crews. We then diversified into fish sales, fish auctioneering, which doesn’t sound very example, but it was revolutionary for a community like this that, again, the fishermen were taking control to some extent of their own destiny. We were able to cut costs. Again, it’s about getting the money back into the fishermen. We then diversified, again, into providing various services to offshore energy companies. So it might be offshore wind, it might be multinational companies that are laying undersea cables across the sea beds using the expertise and the assets that we have here, offering them various services. And then in 2014, the next step on the ladder, the next part of the strategy was to add value to the seafood chain. And that’s why we bought number one factory, why we moved into the second factory, and while we’re in the process of now expanding the business again.

Speaker 1 (07:15)
We catch all sorts of species, from the very largest boats here that are too big to fit into this Harbour that really roam right around these islands, catching Mcwell, catching herring. That’s mainly landed in other parts of Europe, in the case of Donegal, built to Norway. The ultimate goal is to bring more of that home, and that’s why we would like to see the development of a new outer Harbour here in Kilkeel, and that is progressing. But for this fleet, the local fleet, the most important species are langoustine, scalops, brown crab, and then the whitefish species like haddock, especially. And really we’re processing and adding value to all of those, exporting them across Europe and sometimes beyond. And that takes me on international travels. And I’m just back last night from where we were talking to the people there who buy langoustine from the fishermen here in Northern Ireland. Eamonn Vision, we put it very simply. I have two young children at home. My kids will ultimately make a decision as to what they’re going to do with their career. But what we’re about is making sure as far as we can that they have an option to stay in this community, to stay at home, and contribute to this community and to the economy here in County Down.

Speaker 6 (08:33)
I’m Gordon Weir, and I’ve been here a few years and fill it in most of the time. That’s what I’ll be doing. I’ve been in the fishing industry for about 50 years. So just at the fishing first and then come into this end when they’re selling the fishing. Just nearly all parts of the fishing yesterday. We just finished up with this here now since this last few years. At the minute, we’re just doing a lot of haddock, which is the fish that we’re using just at the minute. The haddock there has the fingerprint and the thumbprint on it. Every fish… Not big difference in some of them, but some of them is very different. You have flat fish, and then you have what we call the round fish which we’re doing now. But there’s different bone structure in most fish. So it’s just knowing where the bone structure is. And that’s how we tell the difference when you’re working with a knife. Fish comes in here, they’re guttied, just like that there, and we’re taking the flesh off the bone. And that’s as simple as that, just down through the fish, do some slow here.

Speaker 6 (10:05)
I’ll show you the fillet then when we get it. And then it goes over to the other side there to get skin. There’s the fillet. And there’s two… Both sides of the fish. One side, turn over and do the other side. The rest of the fish here goes in, goes for bait. It goes for the other boys, take out for the bait for the catch crab and lobster. That’s huge. There’s nothing wasted. It all goes for something even The skin comes off there. Sometimes it goes for making a dog food. For dog treats, it’s dried out. The sooner you can get the gut out of the fish, the best shelf life you have. As soon as you get it off the bone, the best shelf life you’ll have. Every day is a learning day, no matter what you’re at. No, it’s just to watch some of these younger fellows that you pick up, Thanks. Some of them are not all that good.

Speaker 1 (11:30)
We’re based in this corner of Northern Ireland, Kilkeel, the Kingdom of Morn. A lot of people think that once they get to Newcastle, the world comes to an end and they fall off a cliff somehow. But there’s a world beyond Newcastle, indeed a world beyond Worm Point coming the other way. People find it hard to travel this far. They expect all of us to travel to Belfast, but nobody wants to come down to Kilkeel. So we’re left with the option of attracting good people. And we do have talented people around Kilkeel and the Kingdom of Morn. So really, it makes me I’m very happy that we built this company up, that people are looking for careers here, careers in the offices, be it administration, be it on the offshore guard vessels and supply vessels that we employ. And there’s so many different opportunities around that. So it really makes me somewhat proud that we’ve well-qualified local people who are looking to stay at home. This area has lots of things to offer, and one of them is the seafood industry. This is our community. And for many, many years, the fishermen were price takers. And we really wanted something to get more money back into these guys’ pockets, because this is a tough job, but it’s a very, very rewarding job.

Speaker 1 (12:43)
There’s career pathways to be here, but those careers have to be rewarded. So Seesource is about pushing as much money as we can back into the fishermen’s pockets. Not to me. I’m well paid, I’m looked after, but these are the important guys. If we don’t have a fisherman, I don’t have a job. So that’s why Seesource was founded to push as much reward back to the fishermen as we can afford.

Speaker 3 (13:19)
The boats catch the crabs in lobster pots or crab pots, and then they’re transferred from pot to boat. And then, as you can see, these are still fresh. So these are literally just landed last night. So then these are coming in here, end to be processed, end to the boiler, and then straight end to be sorted out for meat and shipped out there in a couple of days. This is your female crab. As you can see, you can tell the difference. I’ll get you a male one. As you can see, the males tend to be a bit bigger, broader across the head. You can I can also tell by here where your female has a pouch. And then there is where they keep their eggs. Basically, when the crab come in, they come in in the boxes. And what I’m doing is I’m sorting them out between male and female. So I can see that’s a male crab, so I just put that into the mailbox. Usually, check to make sure that all the legs and toes are on so that there is one whole crab. If If there’s any damage to have a toe missing, they can’t be processed because the customer only wants a whole crab.

Speaker 3 (14:36)
That will go in to be used for toes. As you can see that these crab are still alive, and there is a chance that you will get nipped But if you hold them in a certain way like that, they can’t actually get their claws back, and that keeps your fingers safe. If you follow me, I’ll take these male crab and I’ll show you how they’re processed. As you can see, from the processing of sorting out the crab, now we’re into the boiler room. This is your boiler. We roughly hold about 350 L of water. We put about 6 kg of salt into the water and then we let it boil up to 96 degrees. So this has all been pre-boiled before use comes, so it’s ready now to put the crab in and get them in the boiler. So the process has went from the boiler into the tub behind you, which is the cooling. So they will cool in there any between 20 to 25 minutes to bring the temperature down to 4 degrees. So once we get the temperature down to 4 degrees, we make sure that the crab themselves, as you can see, now are dead.

Speaker 3 (16:12)
And we need to make sure for the customer where they are looking for the whole crab, so that’s both claws and all limbs are intact. Once that’s been checked and it’s verified that it’s okay, we take it then to the vacuum packing machine. That’s just your bag. Just put the crab in. Make sure the legs are all tucked in there. I don’t want to punch in the bag. Just pull it down. What she’ll do is she decompresses the whole system and then and she will suck the bag in around the crab to keep it nice and tight. They’re all vacuum-packed individually, so we can put them into 10 kilo boxes. And then ship off to the customers. As you can see, we have crab toes here. These have been cooked. So inside the crab of toe itself, you have three compartments. You have the bean itself, and you need two joints. In there is what we call a crab white meat. I’ll come this way, I’ll show you what we do. What What we do is to get the meat out here, we just use a wee picker inside, pull the meat out, and then that shell is then fired away.

Speaker 3 (18:11)
Then we get these wee snivers. We just take the wee joint off here. As you can see, you’ll not be able to get that off unless you get the joint off. Just snip in there, pull that out. Again, picker. Your meat goes in there. Then onto the shell. So this here is called the cracker. All you need to do is apply a wee bit of pressure, take the shell off, and then that’s classed as a crop call.

Speaker 4 (19:21)
Hiya. I’m Michelle here at Seesource Seafood Shop, and Kilkeen here. We’re just going to get another wee delivery that’s come up here, Fresh Cut Haddock this morning. We’re inside the shop here in Kilkeen. We have been here a year past in September. We were previously across the road for five years. We moved over here actually because because we got a lot more busier. We have more room for prepping for the morning once the fish comes up, which is delivered at half seven straight from the Harbour, from the fishermen, processed and delivered. Then if we’re busy in our day, we always get our second delivery up, which you’ve just seen coming in and seeing it processed at the Harbour. We are open from half eight to five o’clock, Monday to Friday, and Saturday morning from half eight to half four. The fish is that fresh here in Seesource that even the fishing men come in to buy their fish to take out to sea for them for their tea. So we’ll go and have a wee look at what we have in today. So this is our fresh haddock you just see me bringing in from the van where it was filled this morning down at the Harbour.

Speaker 4 (20:48)
It’s actually our second box up as it’s our best seller and we’d sold out this morning. So this is our natural smoked haddock. We have a died cod. We also have in today our monkfish here, which is very, very versatile. It’s great for monk curries. You can make your own scampy, you can bake it in the oven. We also have in here our our pot of herring. This is our herring season. They’re caught locally. They’re actually made by a local man that used to be a fisherman, and they are just in this morning also. In here we have our hake, which, as you can see, we have wee recipe books here to give We have these great ideas on how to cook. Simple, easy. We also have our local scalops, which are caught local just down at the factory, just in this morning also. This is our local cod. Brilliant for battered, frying, baking, versatile also. So as well as our fresh range of fish, we also have our battered haddock. We also do a range of gluten-free haddock cujons. And towards the weekend, we do a fantastic range of whole fish such as Lemon Soul, Dover, Brill.

Speaker 4 (22:05)
We also do fillets of Lemon sole and place fillets. So if you’re interested, why not call in and try some of the precious local products around?

Speaker 5 (22:29)
Hi, folks. My name’s Donna, and I’m a member of the culinary team in Seesource in Kilkeen. We’ve seen Gordie fillet the fish and skin the fish. This is the end product that Gordie has give us. Absolutely beautiful. I’m sure you’ll agree. Now we’re going to go on to the process of battering the fish. First of all, we need ice cold water. I have my ice cold water in my bowl, and we’re going to make some batter. We’re just going to put a few of our ingredients into this bowl, and then we’re going to give them a good mix around. I have a special ingredient, and I have my flour. And we’re going to mix it all around until we have a nice consistency. Now, it takes quite a lot of flour to mix this. We’ll give it a little whisk around and we’ll see how we’re going. In my roll, I cook for the shopping cookie. So we have fresh fish coming to us every morning. Every morning it’s prepped in the factory and it’s brought up to me in the kitchen. So we couldn’t get no fresh of our product. We make haddock goujons.

Speaker 5 (23:58)
At the moment we’re in the process in the process of developing a product range. So as you can see, it’s taking quite a lot of flour and whisking. So we give it a good whisk to get the air into it. As you can see, it’s starting to thicken up nicely. Now we don’t want it too thick, we just want a nice consistency. My little way of testing the batter to see if it’s the right consistency is pop our finger in and pull our finger out. And if the batter is sticking nicely to our finger, obviously, it’s going to stick lovely to the fish. So as we can see there, it’s sticking well. It’s looking good. We’re ready to start battering. I have my own special recipe that we use for coating the fish. Now, many people will use flour or they will use egg white. It’s just something to make the batter mix stick to it. So we coat that in here. We pop them in here. Now, make sure our fish is fully coat with batter, especially around the edges. So we have our pan sitting at 180 degrees, and we just gently pop them in.

Speaker 5 (25:09)
You hear that lovely sizzle? And they take approximately 6 to 7 minutes to cook through. Now, folks, as you can see, after our seven to 8 minutes, we We have lovely crispy haddock goujons. It’s easy as that. Now, all we need to do is add some chips and pea and tartar sauce, and our dinner is ready. There you have it, guys. That’s our finished product straight from the Harbour in Kilkeel to our place. And it’s available in our shops as well to make it even easier for you at home.

Share with our social media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *