Working group sets out improvements for Scots Nephrops sector

Recommendations for delivering a profitable, sustainable and fair supply chain for the Scottish Nephrops industry have been set out in a new report published by a Scottish government-formed working group.

The Scottish Nephrops Working Group’s report highlights the value of the export market to the sector, which was £100m in 2019. It shows that Brexit has caused issues with EU exports, including additional cost and complexity with certification, and increased time for shipments to reach the EU.

The group has set out seven strategies and accompanying recommendations to position quality Scottish langoustine as the number one choice globally.

This includes proposals to help recover and develop new markets; to improve efficiency, environmental sustainability and product quality; to encourage investment and innovation; and to increase the information available across the supply chain.

Cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the islands Mairi Gougeon said: “The economic significance of our langoustine industry is immense, with Nephrops being one of the most valuable stocks landed in Scotland.

“As producers of the finest and largest quality of this seafood globally, it’s vital that Scotland’s Nephrops industry is supported in its recovery from the challenges brought by Covid-19 and Brexit.

“I would like to thank everyone who gave their time, knowledge and expertise, which has resulted in this detailed, ambitious proposal.

“We will now consider the recommendations and how we might develop and implement those which align with our wider priorities for the sector in the short and long term.”

Chair of the Scottish Nephrops Working Group Uel Morton said: “This group commissioned independent research to more fully understand the recent economic challenges facing the sector as well as the best ways to position our world-class produce.

“There is a strong desire from the catching and processing sectors to build a better and more sustainable future for their industry, which supports Scotland’s climate change ambitions. The recommendation of a new programme board and workstreams provides a mechanism for hands-on industry experts to get involved, taking forward the work that now needs to be done.

“It’s important to acknowledge the invaluable input from Seafood Scotland in getting us to this point. It will continue to have a key role in terms of access to funding and providing co-ordination across the industry. Looking to the future, the role of government is also vital, enabling the sector and our coastal communities to deliver a more prosperous future.”

The Scottish Nephrops Working Group was established in autumn 2020 to help the sector respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The working group was independently chaired by Uel Morton and included Seafood Scotland (the facilitator), three catching organisations and three processors: West of Scotland Fish Producers’ Organisation, Western Isles Fishermen’s Association, Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation Ltd, DR Collin, Camalltaidh Ltd and Whitby Seafoods. The Scottish government also had input.

The report can be read here.

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. (Main image taken from the Scottish Nephrops Industry report)

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