Strategic plan for collaboration, sustainable change and growth fits within Scotland Food & Drink ‘Ambition 2030’ – which aims to double the value of food and drink to £30bn. An 18-point action plan will deliver a strategy for the Scottish seafood sector’s contribution

Seafood Scotland has  launched ‘Changing Tides’ – a strategic action plan designed to be a catalyst for change in Scotland’s seafood sector.

In the paper’s foreword, Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, said: “I welcome this action plan, which will help deliver the next steps to drive the sector forward.  Key building blocks are the need for sustainable management of resources and a willingness to innovate, helping to create investment and maintain high-value jobs, often in the most remote and rural communities in Scotland.”

Patrick Hughes, Head of Seafood Scotland said: “Changing Tides is the beginning of a process – to clearly set out the steps required to help the Scottish seafood sector reach its long-term potential.  Our reputation for quality and sustainability has seen Scottish seafood travel all over the world, and with additional support from partners at home, the industry can sustain the status quo and go on to achieve significant growth.”

The report includes 18 actions for the sector, to be delivered by several industry bodies including industry representative associations, enterprise bodies and local and national Government, and aims to bring about change under four key themes of:

  • Market development and brand
    • Marketing support for home and international markets
    • Market intelligence and practical support for growth
    • Greater support for businesses
    • Standards and accreditation to support marketing and improve business performance
  • Investment and innovation
    • Build ability to generate investment
    • Create an enabling environment for businesses
    • Access to innovation and automation opportunities
    • New funding support for innovation
  • People and skills
    • Seafood Skills Action Plan
    • Leadership programme for industry
    • Food education in schools
    • Access to a post-Brexit workforce
  • Supply chain
    • Sustainable fishing and verification of sustainable fisheries
    • Improve data to unlock growth
    • Map transport and infrastructure constraints and options for improvements
    • Maximise the value in waste
    • Capacity within the processing sector
    • Beyond Brexit blueprint

Patrick continues: “This plan underlines the long-term nature of our industry.  Brexit, or at least the ongoing negotiation, is happening now – but this action plan sets out a clear strategy for the next few years.  Irrespective of what’s happening this year, the undertakings laid out in Changing Tides are necessary to move the industry forward.  Without action we will be unable to realise the industry’s full potential.”

Scottish seafood’s reputation is global, reaching to Brussels, Boston, Beijing and beyond.  Recent figures show that around 466,000 tonnes of fish is landed per year in Scotland, and along with just under 200,000 tonnes of farmed seafood, the value equates to around £560 million.  Around 64% of the UK fishing fleet is Scottish, but the economic impact of their catch goes much further, with 8,380 processing jobs across 150 sites, and a further 12,000 jobs supported by the wider aquaculture sector.

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The Scottish seafood industry is a key driver in the economy.  It is the star player in Scotland’s food export journey with a growing strength of reputation.  However, there are still real opportunities to be grasped in international markets as well as across the UK.  This plan reflects the ambition of the entire food and drink industry in Scotland.  There is a £30 billion prize out there by 2030 for Scottish food and drink.  This new vision and roadmap for our seafood industry will mean it plays one of the most significant roles in unlocking that huge opportunity.”

Click here for a copy of the full ‘Changing Tides’ strategic plan.