Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP launches new “Scottish Seafood Processors Federation” initiative from the Scottish Pavilion at the Brussels Seafood Expo
At a recent meeting of the Scottish Seafood Association, Scottish Pelagic Processors Association and significant large independent processors there was unanimous agreement that a Federation be formed with an extended invitation to other Scottish seafood processing associations to join with them to create an over-arching body that will create unity and strength across the seafood processing sector.
The Federation will represent approximately 100 businesses of all sizes, employing many thousands across Scotland.
The most recent released statistics for seafood processing in Scotland shows sales of £1.207 billion, employing approximately 16,000 onshore within our communities.
The Scottish Seafood Processors Federation will interact positively with Government as well as Local Authorities to ensure we have the necessary business environment and platform to create a profitable sector, securing jobs and creating growth across the local communities they operate.
Brexit along with high operating costs are creating pressures and many challenges on seafood producers to remain profitable. The Federation will engage and challenge Government to provide legislation, policies and support to deliver a business environment for growth. It will also encourage young people to seek a career in seafood processing along with marketing opportunities in domestic and international markets which will be key to the future of the sector.
There is recognition within the seafood sector that with support of Government, we can develop a competitive business platform, where there are tremendous opportunities to grow the Scottish seafood processing industry both locally, nationally and on the international stage. There is a buy in to the national Food and Drink Strategy, Ambition 2030, and the very ambitious target to grow and double the value of Scotland’s food and drink industry by 2030.
Jimmy Buchan, CEO of Scottish Seafood Association, will extend his role to head up the Federation as interim CEO.
The new Federation has received the backing of the Scottish Fisheries Secretary, Fergus Ewing, who said:
“I very much welcome the establishment of the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation. The seafood sector is our largest food export and plays a vital role in sustaining employment and economic activity in our rural and coastal communities. By uniting under this new Federation, the industry is demonstrating an ambition and commitment to work together for the good of the processing sector. This united approach will be vital in the coming years as the sector tackles the very real and numerous challenges presented by Brexit, and I look forward to working with them.”
Andrew Charles, Co-Chair of the Scottish Seafood Association; “The Scottish Seafood Association welcomes the proposal to create a Federation which will unite the seafood processors. We look forward to working closer with like-minded associations achieving our goals and ambitions for the people we represent.”
Robert Duthie, Director, The Scottish Pelagic Processors Association; “We are delighted to join with other Scottish processing sectors to form a new united Federation. This will undoubtedly help to meet the opportunities and increasing demands faced by the industry arising from Brexit, and to meet these challenges with a united and stronger voice. The united voice will also help to address the ongoing common business challenges the processing sector is facing, with issues such as business rates, utility costs and labour requirements a common problem.”
Michael Robertson, Managing Director of Joseph Robertson (Aberdeen) Ltd; “This is an historic moment for the Seafood Processing sector in Scotland. It was vital, and long overdue, that Scottish Processors unite as one voice to address both locally and nationally the many current issues and future opportunities that lie ahead. We can’t wait to get started.”
Roy Cunningham, Vice President & COO, Macduff Shellfish; “We are pleased to support the establishment of this new Federation. We recognize the challenges currently faced by the seafood sector given the uncertainties around Brexit. We see this new Federation as providing an effective and timely platform by which industry representatives can positively engage with Scottish Government and facilitate navigation through this increasingly complex landscape. We are pleased and proud to be a member of this new alliance.”
Ryan Scatterty, Managing Director,Thistle Seafoods: “Thistle Seafoods fully supports the creation of this new Federation amongst the seafood processing community. The political landscape for the industry has never been more challenging, although there is the potential for an optimistic future for the industry we feel this can only be realised through the close cooperation of the processing community speaking with a united voice that allows active dialogue with all levels of Government that will allow us to have a chance to encourage the right regulatory framework and business friendly environment for the whole sector to not only survive but thrive into the future.”
An Executive Committee and Chairman will be elected at the next meeting of the group ensuring that balanced representation from the regions and the businesses who are represented in the Federation providing a strong wide- ranging executive of experts.