Seafood suppliers are finding new ways to get products to customers, says Donna Fordyce. Photo: Seafood Scotland.

Seafood marketing chief praises sector’s adaptability

The head of industry marketing body Seafood Scotland has paid tribute to the “unyielding determination” of the seafood sector to maintain supply during the Covid-19 lockdown.

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Donna Fordyce, interim head of the organisation, highlighted direct delivery initiatives taken by some producers and retailers, and a surge in demand from Scottish consumers for home-produced seafood.

Her comments follow the announcement over the last two weeks of three Scottish government support packages to assist fishing, seafood processing and most recently shellfish and trout farmers whose export and domestic markets have shrunk dramatically because of the lockdown.

Donna Fordyce: New domestic customers are "a start" for the hard-hit seafood industry.

New networks

“Businesses that normally ship seafood out of the UK on lorries, cargo planes and merchant ships are quickly developing new distribution networks closer to home, with some delivering direct to the doorsteps of their local communities,” said Fordyce.

Examples include Wild Hebridean, Uist Shellfish and Loch Bay Shellfish on Skye, who are delivering fresh langoustines, lobster, crab, cockles, and mussels direct to customers.  

Scrabster Seafoods in Thurso is delivering fresh white fish to locals, and Gigha Halibut’s fish are being mailed throughout the UK, as are smokies from the East Neuk Kiln House and all types of seafood from Edinburgh-based George Hughes and Son under its ‘Fresh Fish Daily’ brand. 

Pop-up shop

Welch’s Fishmonger in Edinburgh is also delivering direct and David Lowrie Fish Merchants has a pop-up shop in St Monans in the East Neuk of Fife. 

“The Scottish consumer now has fast, fresh and widespread access to Scottish seafood, and it’s at times like these when they are really showing their loyalty to home-grown businesses,” said Fordyce. 

“While this trade is not going to replace the business done in international markets - many companies are doing less than 25% of their usual business at the moment - it’s a start, and the industry is hugely appreciative of the support Scottish consumers are showing them.”