Seafood Scotland has published its vision for the Scottish seafood sector post-Brexit. Earlier this year it commissioned a wide-ranging report which examined the current state of play, and the hurdles the industry will need to overcome in the months – and years – ahead.
The report concludes that the new UK-EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement presents a clear threat to some sectors of the Scottish seafood industry, whilst providing moderate – but uncertain gains – for others.
It also advocates permanent financial support to ensure that Seafood Scotland is able to undertake more strategic, longer term priorities, instead of applying for project-based support on an annual basis.
On a positive note, the industry retains significant access to quality fish stocks and has well-established markets within the EU and further afield, both factors which will ease recovery. The report also found that that there is a clear impetus within the industry to grow and develop, citing the Seafood Transformation | ONE (opportunitynortheast.com), which aims to grow Scotland’s seafood processing sector turnover by up to £240m, creating over 900 jobs.
Donna Fordyce, Chief Executive of Scottish Seafood, said: “There are glimmers of light that make it easier for the industry to rebuild but overall the post-Brexit trade environment leaves the industry in a more challenging position than it was previously. Nevertheless, we are now firmly focussed on taking forward the key recommendations, including a quality assurance scheme, most likely beginning with nephrops.
“Other focus areas include building a marketing presence in alternative – non-EU – markets; applying best practice from countries such as Iceland and Norway; advocating for expansion of the processing sector, improved management of shellfish stocks; and working towards sustainability becoming an integral part of the supply chain.”