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Julie Hesketh-Laird is confident about salmon farming's post-Brexit future but says the industry must be listened to. Photo: FFE
Julie Hesketh-Laird is confident about salmon farming's post-Brexit future but says the industry must be listened to. Photo: FFE

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird has said the industry is confident of realising future opportunities and determined to ensure the quality of its fish keeps demand high “no matter what post-Brexit rules apply”.

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Writing for scotsmanconferences.com, Hesketh-Laird said access to new markets is improving all the time with more and better direct flight connections from Scotland.

But she also stressed that it remained the SSPO’s ambition “to ensure the voice of the Scottish salmon sector is heard, our influence felt and that the industry’s international trade priorities are taken on board in future trade negotiations” as the UK’s exit from the European Union nears with many uncertainties remaining for business.

She added: “An exciting trading future lies ahead for Scottish salmon if we can secure simple, clear and reciprocal trading arrangements with our key markets now and in the future.”

Infrastructure

Hesketh-Laird also said a “supportive home environment” is important to the industry’s continued success in the UK, where salmon is the consumer’s favourite fish.

She added: “Secure and reliable transport and infrastructure for easy access to the remote locations we farm in, a strong supply chain and a good local workforce, allied to an ambitious UK trade policy, will help shape a future where we meet the world’s appetite for our globally-renowned salmon.”

The SSPO chief also wants more help from the education sector. She wrote: “Along with our industry’s own commitment to invest in its people, we want to see more school leavers equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue careers in our dynamic sector.”

Exceed ambitions

Hesketh-Laird, who will be speaking at the Food and Drink Conference 2018 – Beyond Brexit: Future-proofing food and drink in Scotland, at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on September 4, concluded: “We have the expertise within our industry to meet and exceed our sustainable growth ambitions and, with the right commercial environment and the necessary support beyond Brexit, the world’s premium salmon has a great future.”

Read Hesketh-Laird’s article here.

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