It was business as usual for over 50 of Scotland’s seafood companies as they headed to Seafood Expo Global in Brussels to keep up communication and expand their relationships within Europe and the rest of the world.

Industry body Seafood Scotland, in partnership with Scottish Development International, hosted the dedicated Scottish Pavilion with 19 companies on stand, 16 in other halls and a further 19 walking the show. The show provided a huge opportunity for businesses from across Scotland to meet worldwide buyers, retailers and hoteliers looking to source seafood – and share with them the Scottish story of quality and sustainability.

Natalie Bell, Head of Trade Marketing for Europe, Asian and the Middle East at Seafood Scotland, said: “Seafood Expo Global is the world’s largest seafood trade show and provides Scottish companies with the opportunity to meet new and existing clients from across the globe. 

“The dedicated Scottish Pavilion and seafood bar offers a central point to host clients and provide them with a taste of Scottish seafood from our professional chef team.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “This government recognises the significant contribution of Scotland’s seafood sector to our rural economy, not least through exports and in the value and benefit to coastal communities.

“International events like this are vital to helping the sector to grow, especially with the uncertainty being caused by Brexit. Scotland produces some of the finest seafood in the world and we remain totally committed to working with the sector to grow its reputation and increase development opportunities further.”

With Brexit on hold and talks still taking place, Seafood Scotland is continuing its work in identifying avenues and potential solutions for the continued transport of Scottish seafood to Europe.

The team, alongside leading seafood companies and processors, recently visited the Port of Boulogne with the local Economic Development Agency and Port Authority, to see what arrangements have been made for fast-track access to crucial European markets. Boulogne is the go-to port for a significant chunk of Scotland’s exported seafood. As Scotland’s second largest export, the continued movement of UK seafood to Europe is crucial.

Natalie Bell - Head of Trade Marketing for Europe, Asian and Middle East

Natalie continues: “Collaboration is key. We are working with the Scottish Government and EU officials to create potential solutions that will continue to benefit both the Scottish seafood industry and the European market. 

“We won’t know until Brexit is here what can be implemented, but we have pre-emptive solutions in play and there is a desire from both sides of the border to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Whatever happens, Seafood Scotland’s role will always be to drive growth within the industry.” 

The Scottish delegation included representation from across the sector from shellfish and salmon to whitefish and pelagic producers and growers, as well as transport, packaging and marine technology companies.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said: “The European appetite for Scottish salmon is strong and half of all our exports go to the EU. Attending the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels is, therefore, an important opportunity to reassure our customers that we will continue to supply salmon to this significant and valuable market.

Boulogne-Sur-Mer Lunch (14)

“During the show, companies discuss with their customers the latest advances in their farming techniques to support their commitment to producing high quality salmon.”

Susan Beattie, Head of Food and Drink at Scottish Development International, which has organised the Scottish Pavilion at SEG along with Seafood Scotland, said: “This is a great turnout for Brussels. With Brexit on the horizon, companies from across the seafood sector are continuing to demonstrate their commitment to Europe and other international markets. Scotland’s food and drink industry has strong export growth, reflecting global demand for our high-quality products with strong provenance credentials. Seafood Expo Global is the perfect place to showcase our fantastic range of seafood products to international buyers.’

Seafood Expo Global 2019 in numbers​

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