Seafood exports being maximised

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collaboration of Scottish seafood bodies is seeking to boost exports in largely untapped markets, with a focus on growing high-end sales in the Far East.

The Scottish Government is supporting the seafood sector with a £240,000 grant to take forward a range of initiatives to target new markets. Latest figures for fresh farmed salmon exports reveal sales in the Far East rocketed last year – up nearly 900 per cent, from 682 tonnes to 6,779 tonnes – demonstrating the growing demand for Scottish seafood.

With match-funding from Scottish Development International, Seafood Scotland, Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, Scottish Quality Salmon and Seafish bringing the spend available to £480,000, a working group will now be established to oversee all activities.

Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead announced the funding as he met with emerging markets representatives at the European Seafood Expo in Brussels. Mr Lochhead said: “Scotland has a natural larder second to none and fish and shellfish are a key part of our offering. With steady year-on-year growth in exports, seafood sales were up four per cent last year. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are substantial new markets opening up, particularly for our premium products.

“I’m pleased to support this new initiative to target more opportunities for Scottish seafood companies in emerging markets, particularly the Far East. Much of this work is educational and awareness building and we have a great story to tell – with our delicious and nutritious fish and shellfish.

“I’m confident that this work will result in many more people around the world choosing and enjoying healthy and tasty Scottish seafood, and in turn boost the economic performance of the seafood sectors.”

Libby Woodhatch, CEO of Seafood Scotland said:

“There is huge untapped market potential in the region, but many buyers are unaware of what or where Scotland is, let alone what it has to offer in terms of seafood. This project will help raise awareness of both Scotland and our top quality fish & shellfish, and is aimed at the high end food service sector where our products are more likely to be valued.”

Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation and Scottish Quality Salmon said: “Scottish salmon has recorded impressive market growth in a number of new emerging markets, with exports to the Far East having increased nearly 900 per cent in the last twelve months. The high rate of growth of the sushi and sashimi markets offers huge further potential. The industry and match-funding will help to develop activities to strengthen our positions.”