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New Website Spearheads Scotland's Worldwide Aims

by Ellen Hardy
25 April 2008, at 1:00am

BRUSSELS - Seafood Scotland has launched a new foreign language website. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, the country is gearing up it internatinal activities to promote its diverse, high quality seafood business worldwide.

The website was launched by the first minister for Scotland Alex Salmon at the European Seafood Exhibition in Brussels this week. It aims to promote the activities of Seafood Scotland and the efforts of the Scottish industry to position itself at the forefront of conservation management in the EU.

Meanwhile, the international audience at the European Seafood Expo in Brussels has heard how the Scottish Government wants to “unlock the potential” for its aquaculture industry.

On the Map for Expansion

During a series of meetings yesterday with global salmon farming CEOs attending the Expo, Minister for Environment Michael Russell outlined the Scottish Government’s ambitions for an expanding industry.

He told business leaders and industry stakeholders that he wanted to see inward investment from places Norway. He also supported the salmon industry in Scotland as an important economic contributor in the government’s goal of sustainable growth.

Salmon farming is a vital element of the rural economy and he wants it to thrive, and Mr Russell made it crystal clear that his aim was to encourage long-term expansion in Scotland.

"I want it to be a profitable area, with more people living there, employed in quality jobs and enjoying a good life,” he added.

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"I believe the salmon and, in particular, shellfish sectors can develop further, and help contribute towards sustainable economic growth in Scotland."
Michael Russell, Scotland's Minister for Environment.

He said Scotland has a significant role to play in European aquaculture and the industry contributes millions to our rural and overall economy.

"However I believe the salmon and, in particular, shellfish sectors can develop further, and help contribute towards sustainable economic growth in Scotland," he added.

Protection Urged

But while prospects look promising current political issues are threatening Scotland's seafood businesses.

Scottish authorities have appealed to the European Commission for it not to axe anti-dumping measures that protect its salmon farmers from fierce Norwegian competition.

A report by Reuters says the European Union imposed minimum import prices on farmed salmon from Norway in 2006, saying it was being sold at unfairly low prices and hurting fish farms in Scotland and Ireland.

European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson must decide soon whether the measures should be continued.

"The Scottish government believes the minimum import price has worked and that there is a strong case for its retention," Michael Russell, told Reuters during a visit to Brussels.

The 27-nation EU is Norway's biggest export market for seafood, the country's third-biggest export earner.

The case is a sensitive one for Brussels because Irish fish farmers have said they will try to mobilise voters along the country's western coast to vote against the EU's new Lisbon Treaty in a referendum in June, if the measures are repealed.

Russell said if Brussels dropped the measures, it had to ensure they could be re-imposed quickly if needed and that there would be "a level playing field" for Scottish salmon farmers.

View the Reuters story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy