A major study of the fish processing sector across Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen has revealed that north-east Scotland has overtaken Humberside as the largest centre for seafood processing in the UK.
The study was unveiled at a meeting of key industry representatives near Peterhead last week.
The fish processing industry is of huge importance to the north-east of ScotlandCouncillor Jim Gifford
The project, funded by Aberdeenshire Council and Scottish Enterprise, with support from Aberdeen City Council, was commissioned to help analyse the current status of seafood processing in NE Scotland and the emerging challenges and opportunities posed by the new Common Fisheries Policy.
A key finding of BDAplus of Fraserburgh which carried out the study was that north-east Scotland has overtaken Humberside as the largest centre for seafood processing in the UK.
This is based on the number of seafood processing enterprises in the area (78) and the numbers employed in the industry (3,964 including fulltime agency staff).
The study looks to the future as well, focusing on upcoming developments such as the multi-million pound investment by Peterhead Port Authority in the town’s harbour and the anticipated improved logistics following the completion of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.
As well as identifying the successes and future opportunities of the industry, the study also highlights the challenges being experienced that those working in the sector must now consider how to address.
In advance of the launch of the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, it provides a basis for discussion of future levels of both national and European support for a coherent growth strategy involving capital investment, business improvement, upskilling and market development.
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s policy and resources committee, Councillor Jim Gifford, said: “The fish processing industry is of huge importance to the north-east of Scotland and now has a bigger economic footprint than Humberside with excellent prospects for future growth.
“This study is a solid base for the development of future strategy which could transform the seafood industry in the north-east into Scotland’s Seafood
“Its detailed analysis will be very useful in helping the industry to move forward and capitalise on future opportunities for further growth arising from reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and, hopefully, higher quotas due to steadily improving fish stocks in Scottish waters.”
The study can be viewed at http://bit.ly/shirefishing