Natalie Bell at the Seafood Bar at the Scotland pavilion at Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona. Interest in all types of Scottish seafood has been high, said Bell. Photo: FFE.

Scottish seafood producers ‘back with a bang’ in Barcelona

The return of the world’s biggest seafood trade show for the first time since 2019 has been hailed as a success for Scottish sea food producers.

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Natalie Bell, head of trade marketing for Asia, Europe and the Middle East at Seafood Scotland, reported lots of interest from buyers after the first day of Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona.

“We’ve got a very large presence here and we’ve had a lot of feedback on the stand on the scale of the Scotland Pavilion, and the number of exhibitors across all species ranging from the salmon industry, across shellfish, whitefish and also the pelagic sectors,” said Bell.

Europe, Asia and UK buyers

“It’s always nice when you receive compliments from other countries on your stand design, and everything so far has been really positive. We’ve had a lot of buyers on the stand from across Europe as well as further afield. We’ve had some Asian buyers, and also some UK buyers as well.

“We had one buyer yesterday from France who was buying Scottish scallops for just the third time and looking to expand the volume that he was getting from Scotland because the feedback from his customers has been phenomenal, so he has come out here specially to look at sourcing Scottish shellfish and is speaking to our customers on the stand.”

Asked whether seafood producers had been able to circumvent some of the well-publicised problems created by the UK’s exit from the European Union, Bell said: “There have obviously been issues with Brexit, but things have definitely improved.

Onwards and upwards

“We’ve had Brexit and we’ve had the pandemic but it’s very much onwards and upwards. We’re aware that there are still issues – there are issues across the world at the moment – but we have a very strong-willed sector who have come out in force. Some are here to meet their existing European buyers and some to meet new European buyers. Certainly, the interest from Europe is very much business as usual and we’ve been welcomed with open arms.”

All parts of Scotland’s seafood sector are likely to find the trip to Spain worthwhile, added Bell.

“We have representation from the salmon industry, from shellfish, whitefish and the pelagic sector. Everybody who is here, whether they’re on the Seafood from Scotland pavilion, exhibiting elsewhere on their own stands or walking the show, will benefit.”

A buzz

Footfall and interest have been strong, added Bell.

“Yesterday we were trying to take a journalist to speak to one of our shellfish companies and there was a queue five people deep to speak to that company.

“There’s a buzz, there’s an excitement. Yesterday on the Seafood from Scotland Seafood Bar between 12 and 2pm, you couldn’t move. A lot of it is pre-booked for meetings for existing buyers and potential new business, and a lot of it was companies just coming along to see what was going on.”