Funding of £1.8m has been announced to help Scottish seafood businesses recover from the severe economic impacts of Brexit and Covid-19.
The funding, managed by trade marketing body Seafood Scotland, will support seafood businesses to access new markets within the UK and abroad, including campaigns in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.
The work will also include developing a strategy to encourage sustainability and improve quality assurance and accreditation of seafood produce.
As major international trade events begin again, alongside online events, these platforms will enable Seafood Scotland to engage with buyers.
‘Buy local, support local’ campaigns will also encourage growth in the domestic market, capitalising on rising demand for seafood provenance and quality.
As the hospitality industry continues to reopen, Seafood Scotland will form close links with leading chefs, working alongside them ‘to make Scottish seafood a prized, premium item on menus across the globe’.
Announcing the funding on a visit to processor Joseph Robertson in Aberdeen, rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “The past 16 months have been devastating for businesses in the seafood sector, who have faced significant losses due to hospitality closures from Covid-19 and a raft of new trade barriers and bureaucracy following Brexit.
“The seafood sector is a crucial part of our rural economy, supporting jobs in coastal communities, and our priority has been to protect people’s livelihoods.
“While we continue to work to resolve some of the export issues the sector faces, this new funding will help the sector’s longer-term recovery from these recent challenges.
“The funding for Seafood Scotland will help businesses explore new markets, giving them the support to promote their products across the UK and further afield.”
Donna Fordyce, chief executive of Seafood Scotland, said: “The Scottish seafood supply chain is now firmly in recovery mode, with ambitious plans to access new markets and to grow existing trade relationships.
“Our role is to support them on this journey, opening doors to new opportunities, and to spread the word about the quality of our produce, which is prized the world over.”
This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.