Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Scotland’s seafood processors are demanding an urgent review into the role of the government-supported industry bodies Seafish and Seafood Scotland.

According to the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA), which represents processors, Seafish has become remote to many in the sector.

In a paper designed to kick-start debate on the issue and encourage the UK government to embrace change, the SSA notes that Seafish’s role has become blurred with that of other organisations in the sector such as Seafood Scotland, “leading to a confused landscape of bodies with overlapping remits”.

SSA chief executive Jimmy Buchan said: “The seafood industry is on the cusp of new opportunities for all sectors: more fish caught, more landed, more processed and transported and sold across the UK and around the world.

“To seize these opportunities and allow every part of our industry to thrive, we must ensure that our marketing of this world-class products is equally world-class.

“That is why we need an honest appraisal of the structures, functions and funding of Seafish and Seafood Scotland.”

In relation to funding, which is currently via a levy paid by the processing sector, suppliers of imported seafood, farmers of shellfish and third-party commissioned projects, SSA is seeking reform.

Instead, a percentage of turnover from stakeholders who choose to subscribe – processor, harvester or grower – would be levied.

It would then be “optional to join the organisation and use the marketing and brand, the technical resources, responsible fisheries management, environmental schemes and R&D programs”, the paper states.