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Bid launched to maximise Scottish seafood’s worth

Seafood Scotland head Patrick Hughes launches the Changing Tides plan at Peterhead fish market. Photo: Seafood Scotland.
Seafood Scotland head Patrick Hughes launches the Changing Tides plan at Peterhead fish market. Photo: Seafood Scotland.

A strategic action plan designed to be a catalyst for change in Scotland’s seafood sector, including aquaculture, has been launched by industry body Seafood Scotland.

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The Changing Tides report outlines 18 actions for the sector, to be delivered by several industry bodies including industry representative associations, enterprise bodies and local and national government.

It aims to bring about change under for key themes of market development and brand, investment and innovation, people and skills, and supply chain.

Many of the Changing Tides ambitions overlap with those of the salmon farming industry.
Many of the Changing Tides ambitions overlap with those of the salmon farming industry.

Long-term potential

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, Marine Harvest Rosyth (now Mowi) and fish processor and trout grower Dawnfresh are listed among a host of organisations and companies that have contributed to the plan.

The action plan is designed to fits within Scotland Food & Drink ‘Ambition 2030’ initiative which aims to double the value of the food and drink sector to £30 billion a year by 2030.

Seafood Scotland chief Patrick Hughes said: “Changing Tides is the beginning of a process to clearly set out the steps required to help the Scottish seafood sector reach its long-term potential. 

“Our reputation for quality and sustainability has seen Scottish seafood travel all over the world, and with additional support from partners at home, the industry can sustain the status quo and go on to achieve significant growth.” 

He added: “This plan underlines the long-term nature of our industry. Brexit, or at least the ongoing negotiation, is happening now – but this action plan sets out a clear strategy for the next few years. Irrespective of what’s happening this year, the undertakings laid out in Changing Tides are necessary to move the industry forward. Without action we will be unable to realise the industry’s full potential.”

James Withers:
James Withers: "There is a £30bn prize out there by 2030 for Scottish food and drink."

Seafood a ‘star player’

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said that although the seafood industry was already “the star player in Scotland’s food export journey”, there remained opportunities to be grasped in international markets as well as across the UK. 

“There is a £30bn prize out there by 2030 for Scottish food and drink. This new vision and roadmap for our seafood industry will mean it plays one of the most significant roles in unlocking that huge opportunity,” added Withers.

Many of the actions proposed in Changing Tides are already being pursued by the aquaculture industry, including the creation of an enabling regulatory environment, ensuring a supply of skilled labour and developing a leadership programme, maximising the value in waste and ensuring access to a post-Brexit workforce.

The plan points out that it supports the Aquaculture Growth to 2030 strategic plan. It states: “In particular, we echo the plan’s call for enabling and proportionate regulation and policymaking that is conducive to sustainable economic growth. This approach should apply across the seafood industry – to the catching sector as well as aquaculture – and balance the needs of both sectors.”

Read the report here.

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