But politicians stay away from show despite Brexit backdrop
Prices, products, people
THE world’s biggest seafood show, held in Brussels in early May, saw more than 29,000 visitors attending over three days, according to estimates by the organisers. Seafood Expo Global expanded this year to include a second processing hall, and accommodate 2,007 exhibiting companies – an increase of 61 over 2018 – representing 88 countries.
The event covered 40,559 square metres of exhibition space, breaking last year’s record by 1,237 square metres, said Diversified Communications.
There were 81 political and diplomatic delegations from 49 countries, but none from the Scottish or UK governments this year, despite the current focus on Britain’s future trading relationship with Europe in the ongoing Brexit process.
However, the Scottish pavilion showcased the best of the UK’s seafood industry and exhibitors reported busy stands and much interest.
Ahead of the show, Seafood Scotland launched a growth blueprint, including strategies for better marketing, access to funding, improving skills and building processing capacity.
The ‘Changing Tides’ document is designed to be a catalyst for change in Scotland’s seafood sector, in line with the country’s goal to double the value of food and drink to £30 billion by 2030.
Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland, which compiled the report, said: ‘Irrespective of Brexit, the actions 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. We have a real opportunity to act collaboratively across the sector.’
The strategy acknowledged the workbeing done by the aquaculture sector in its industry led Aquaculture Growth to 2030 vision, created in 2017.
‘We echo the
plan’s call for enabling and proportionate regulation and policy making that is conducive to sustainable economic growth,’ the Changing Tides report said. ‘This approach should apply across the seafood industry – to the catching sector as well as aquaculture – and balance the needs of both sectors.’ Among the challenges identified in the Changing Tides report are skills and labour shortages, uncertainty over future funding to promote Scottish seafood, supply chain interactions, innovation, processing capacity, regulation, Brexit – and how to get consumers to eat more fish. Steps to address these challenges include: • A review of funding streams for marketing support for Scottish seafood, looking at models such as the Norwegian Seafood Council; • The creation of an investment toolkit that demonstrates how businesses can attract inward investment and present themselves to investors; • Removing unnecessary or unfair financial and regulatory burdens that stifle ambition and prevent businesses from growing sustainably; • Embracing technology innovation, and automation in particular, looking at lessons from nations such as Iceland; • Finding successor funding to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) post-Brexit; • Develoing a leadership masterclass programme; • Developing a seafood education programme that makes schoolchildren and educators aware of career opportunities in the industry; • Ensuring post-Brexit arrangements around immigration and work permits take account of the needs of the seafood industry; •Developing commercial solutions around waste and by-products; • Reviewing the current capacity of the seafood processing sector. The report also looked to the aquaculture industry’s 2030 growth strategy recommendations on transport logistical constraints. James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: ‘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.’ Read the full report at http://seafoodscotland.org/changing-tides/
“We have a real opportunity to act collaboratively across sector’” the
Above:: Visitors and guests at the Scottish pavilion Left: Fish and chips at the Scottish reception