Scotland to bolster consumer awareness of fish
Building on the fishing industry “conservation credentials,” Scotland’s fisheries minister on Wednesday announced a cash injection to help increase consumer awareness of seafood.
At the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said GBP 300,000 has been earmarked to promote and educate the public about healthy, sustainable seafood.
“Scottish seafood, the best in the world, has a strong message,” said Lochhead at the show.
In 2008, Scotland introduced a Conservation Credits Scheme that saw government, industry and NGOs linking up in a bid to shift fisheries management toward conservation. Measures in the scheme include real-time closures to protect reproducing fish, gear regulations and trialing of on-board cameras on fishing boats to record absolute catches, not just landings.
“While the recent commitment from major supermarkets to stock more Scottish seafood is a major boost in terms of maximizing the value of the catch, more can be done,” said Lochhead. “The challenge is to market Scotland’s hard earned conservation credentials more effectively to business and the consumer with the support of our major retailers.”
Conservation efforts, he said, are part of a “holistic approach” to seafood in Scotland and an integral piece of the wider sustainability puzzle.
In addition to underlining conservation efforts, the government’s cash input will also flow into promotional efforts to boost awareness of seafood’s potential health benefits locked into oily fish, such as salmon.
Scotland’s Eat More Fish message will target Scottish consumers and seek to reach a wider market. While in excess of 60 species of fish are currently caught off Scotland’s coastline, Scotland lags behind countries such as Latvia, Malta and Finland when it comes to per-capita seafood consumption.
Scottish companies exhibiting at this year’s European Seafood Exposition span the pelagic, whitefish, shellfish and salmon sectors. The government claims business generated from last year’s exhibition reached GBP 20 million.