Seafish and Seafood Scotland - working in partnership to ensure the best outcome for the seafood industry
Over the past 10 years, Seafish and Seafood Scotland (SFS) have been working together to help develop and deliver tailor-made support to the Scottish seafood industry. This working partnership extends throughout the supply chain, and has developed standards, delivered profitability and ensured sustainability.
The work has been delivered through a unique relationship between the two organisations, in which Seafish staff are contracted to SFS. This enables Seafish specialists to be involved in local delivery of Scotland-specific projects, which aim to improve the profitability and sustainability of the seafood supply chain.
The partnership is a well-established and beneficial relationship, with local staff on the ground providing local knowledge and expertise to assist industry, whilst also drawing on UK-wide expertise from within Seafish.
For example, two Seafish contracted staff, Craig Burton and Ian Land, assist with the delivery of SFS's Business Development programme, whilst the Environmental and Technical programme is managed and delivered by Seafish technical and sustainability specialist Jess Sparks. Jess has worked with Seafood Scotland since its inception, and is currently supporting a range of companies to develop their sustainability capability. He also works with UK retailers and food service companies to highlight the positive work on sustainability undertaken by the Scottish fleet and industry, which in turn gives these companies the confidence to stock a wider range of Scottish seafood.
As well as contracting staff, Seafish provides direct funding for a range of projects and programmes delivered by SFS. The Seafish contribution enables SFS to leverage additional funds from Europe, such as EFF, and also monies from other agencies. The result is an increase in the overall budget available to SFS, which means that more work can be undertaken, and levy payers receive greater benefit for their contributions.
For example, the current Food Service project is helping companies who may not have the scale of capability to supply large UK companies, to find more appropriately sized customers within the UK food service sector. As part of the project, SFS ran a highly successful 'introduction to food service supply' workshop at a recent Seafish industry event in the northeast.
Another interesting example of this special relationship is the development of the Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS), a project developed in Scotland by SFS to raise standards onboard fishing vessels and encourage skippers to take more care of the catch. The RFS has now been adopted by Seafish, is being rolled out across the UK, and also licenced for use in other countries.
Seafish has also been delivering initiatives directly within Scotland, such as the secretariat and facilitation support given to David Anderson, Chair of the Northeast Whitefish Forum – a cross sectorial body working on initiatives to bring catching and processing sectors in the northeast closer together. SFS contributes to the Forum by providing Seafish and industry with monthly graphs of Scottish landings and an analysis of market trends, for use at the regular meetings.
Mike Montgomery from Seafish has been active with the Scottish catching sector, especially the langoustine fleet, in the development of cod-avoidance trawls.