A new task force dedicated to driving forward the seafood sector in Scotland will need to fix systems and red tape in the UK and in the EU that are hindering UK seafood exporters, Seafood Scotland has stressed.
The Scottish Seafood Exports Task Force draws together the UK Government, Scottish Government and a wide range of key industry representatives from the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors to collaboratively work on increasing confidence in the seafood and aquaculture supply chain by ensuring that medium and longer-term export issues are resolved.
Donna Fordyce, chief executive of Seafood Scotland, said: “What the seafood industry is experiencing goes far beyond ‘teething problems’ and needs real solutions, delivered quickly. We have yet to see the makeup of the Taskforce, but we would hope that its approach will echo the passion and fierce determination of the men and women whose livelihoods depend on the sea, and have done for generations.
“The challenge that lies ahead is to fix systems and red tape both here and in the EU that have so far failed seafood exporters from all over the UK, with the devastating impacts becoming clearer as each day goes by.”
Work begins in February
The Scottish Seafood Exports Task Force will meet for the first time in the week beginning 8 February and will continue to meet fortnightly. The group will be hosted by the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and chaired by UK Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid.
A GB£23m scheme was recently announced by the UK Government to support fishermen and seafood exporters who have experienced delays and a lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry in the UK and Europe. This is in addition to the GB£100m fund announced by the Prime Minister in December.