SCOTLAND, UK - Cabinet Secretary for Fisheries and Food Richard Lochhead has given a commitment that the Scottish Government will work with the fish processing sector to ensure it can flourish and prosper in the years ahead.
Mr Lochhead made the pledge at a meeting of fish processors in Aberdeen to discuss how the sector can overcome the challenges it is facing to grasp the opportunities offered by global demand for Scottish food and drink.
It comes as Mr Lochhead announced the first appointment to a new international team of Scottish Food and Drink market specialists. Keigo Yoshida joins the Scottish Development International team in Japan, which is a priority prospect for increasing exports of Scottish food and drink.
The Cabinet Secretary said: "Global demand for Scottish seafood is booming. We want to make sure that all parts of the supply chain - including fish processors - can benefit from the phenomenal success of our food and drink industry which has seen exports increase by 50 per cent since 2007 and turnover rise to almost £14 billion.
"This meeting was a good opportunity to focus on some of the challenges that the fishing processing sector is facing including continuity of supply and low profit margins.
"These challenges cannot be overcome by Government alone which is why it is so important the industry, the Scottish Government and our agencies work together to build confidence and capacity in the sector - and so I look forward to hearing proposals from fish processors about potential ways forward.
"One of our priorities - which has been given extra impetus in the wake of the Russian trade embargo - is to explore new and emerging markets for our premium products.
"The Scotland Food & Drink Export Plan sets out how we aim to increase overseas sales in key markets such as Japan where there is a great and growing demand for Scottish seafood.
"Keigo Yoshida's appointment will undoubtedly add to the Food and Drink expertise already in SDI's Tokyo office and, working in close partnership with the trade associations and SDI teams back in Scotland, will open even more doors for Scottish businesses in Japan.”
TheFishSite News Desk