Poor market prices for fish are currently having a severe economic impact on the Scottish fleet, sparking calls from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) for all sectors of the seafood industry and government to work together to find ways of stimulating demand for home caught product.
A global recession affecting the export trade combined with increased quantities of fish on the market from across northern Europe because of recovering stocks, along with fish imports from Asia and other parts of the world, are all thought to be contributing factors behind the fall in prices for Scottish caught fish.
The SFF says it is now essential that a joint ‘from net to plate’ strate gy is developed across all sectors of the supply chain to try and stimulate demand, focusing on the provenance and quality of Scottish caught seafood.
Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive, says: “The fall in prices on the market for Scottish fish has been quite dramatic and is seriously hitting the economic viability of our fishing fleet, especially against a background of increasing fuel and other operating costs.
“At a time when the mass-produced food sector is under huge public scrutiny because of the horse meat scandal, we should be shouting from the rooftops about the quality of Scottish seafood and the short supply chain it takes to reach the plates of consumers.
“Fishermen, fish producer organisations, processors, government, retailers, food service companies and other relevant agencies all need to work more closely together to identify the reasons for the poor prices for fish and develop solutions and strategies that will help rectify the situation.
“The quality of Scottish seafood has a fantastic reputation both on the domestic and international markets and we need to capitalise upon this as much as we can. Our seafood is sustainably caught, tastes great and is one of the healthiest food products to eat there is.”