Scottish seafood receives new funding boost
New funding totaling GBP 1.8 million (USD 2.5 million, EUR 2.1 million) has been allocated by Scottish government to help the nation’s seafood businesses recover from the severe economic impacts of Brexit and the COVID-19.
Managed by trade marketing body Seafood Scotland, the funds are intended to help businesses access new markets within the U.K. and abroad. It will lead campaigns in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East, and also engage with buyers at international trade events.
The work will also include developing a strategy to encourage sustainability and improve quality assurance and accreditation of seafood produce, while in Scotland, “buy local, support local” campaigns will encourage growth in the domestic market.
“The last 16 months have been devastating for businesses in the seafood sector who have faced significant losses due to hospitality closures from COVID-19 and a raft of new trade barriers and bureaucracy following Brexit,” Scotland Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said. “The seafood sector is a crucial part of our rural economy, supporting jobs in coastal communities and our priority has been to protect people’s livelihoods. While we continue to work to resolve some of the export issues the sector faces, this new funding will help the sector’s longer-term recovery from these recent challenges.”
According to Seafood Scotland Chief Executive Donna Fordyce, the country’s “seafood supply chain is now firmly in recovery mode, with ambitious plans to access new markets and to grow existing trade relationships.”
“Our role is to support them on this journey, opening doors to new opportunities, and to spread the word about the quality of our produce, which is prized the world over,” Fordyce said.
According to HMRC, U.K. exports of food and live animals to the E.U., which includes seafood and fish, decreased by GBP 1.2 billion (USD 1.7 billion, EUR 1.4 billion), or 34 percent, in the first four months of 2021 compared to the corresponding period of 2018, with stricter checks and certifications being one of the main reasons. Total U.K. exports of fish in the four-month period were 27 percent lower.
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