Who we are
The Scottish Seafood Association (SSA) was formed in 2011 in response to a growing need for a national body to represent the whole of Scotland’s seafood, processing and trading sectors. We now have around 70 members from across Scotland. Almost half of the 12,000 jobs supported by the UK processing sector are based in Scotland (5000, with 3800 in Grampian alone). England also has around 5000 working directly in the sector with the remainder working across Wales and Northern Ireland. Many more are employed indirectly in supply and servicing businesses.
Against a backdrop of increasingly challenging economic, environmental and regulatory conditions, the Association’s principle aim is to ensure that the Scottish seafood processing sector enjoys a viable and long-term future which will continue to support local economies, create jobs and open up career opportunities for our young people.
Its biggest assets are its products and its people. Scotland has a global reputation for the quality and range of its seafood. SSA members are recognised as being among the world’s leading suppliers and processors of quality seafood products to regional, national and global markets.
Our primary objectives are to ensure that Scottish seafood is the first choice for the consumer and that Scottish processors are the first choice of supply.
What we do
We provide a united voice for our members and for the wider processing sector in the policy and legislation arenas through effective dialogue, consultation, collaboration and partnership working.
We are a member of a number of industry bodies including Seafood Scotland, the Scottish Seafood Partnership, Scottish Seafood Training Network, the North East of Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership, Seafish and the North East White Fish Forum.
The seafood industry is an important and vital contributor to Scotland’s economy and we work hard to ensure that the contribution made by our members and their sector is recognised and valued. Our members provide markets for seafood caught by the hundreds of fishermen who rely on the viability of the processing sector to help sustain the catching sector.
Ensuring the sustainability of the fishing industry is a priority. Seafood is sourced from vessels which catch within EU quotas and guidelines. We also recognise the requirement to implement changes to the general management of the Scottish seafood industry and work in collaboration with other agencies to achieve results which will support long-term viability and sustainability.
In 2016 the SSA achieved a world first when it became the first association of its kind to achieve group certification through the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody programme. A number of members have already received MSC Certification in order to meet the growing demand to supply seafood from sustainable sources. The group scheme makes the accreditation process much more affordable for small and medium sized processors.
There is little doubt our industry faces challenging times. Latest figures from Marine Scotland show that in 2015, the quantity of fish landed by Scottish registered vessels was 439,900 tonnes with a value of £437million, a decrease of eight per cent and 15% respectively. The number of Scottish registered fishing vessels also saw a slight decline with 2,017 in 2015 representing a decrease of 13 from the previous year. In contrast however there were 4,828 fishermen employed on Scottish vessels, a rise of one per cent on the previous year.
As membership of the SSA continues to grow, we reaffirm our commitment to help our members to achieve growth in the sector. The fishing industry supports communities around Scotland’s coastline and their economic, social and community input to the country’s economy and way of life cannot be underestimated.
Our own members come from all around Scotland, employing thousands of people both directly and indirectly, predominantly in these fishing-dependent areas.
We are competing in a global market but we have the products, the people and the presence to secure our place as a world leader. Peterhead is Europe’s premier whitefish port; just round the coast Fraserburgh is the largest prawn landing port in the UK.
We see some positive signs for the future, 28 new vessels have been commissioned and when they go to sea they will find that good fisheries management in recent years means our fish stocks have increased resulting in improved supply and superior quality catch.
We continue to offer good career prospects not only in the catching and processing sectors but across all the other areas of business which support our industry and our goal is to ensure the industry is respected as a rewarding career with a positive reputation.