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Scotland Seeks Share of Expanding Seafood Market

Economics +1 more

UK - Seventeen companies exhibiting on the Scottish Pavilion at the worlds largest seafood show this week (Tuesday 27th April Thursday 29th April) are in confident mood following the publication of an official report showing that global demand continues to rise.

Global seafood consumption grew from 137 million metric tons in 2006 to 140 million metric tons in 2007 and is expected to increase again to 143 million metric tons in 2008, according to a report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) published last week (Tuesday 20 April).

More than 200 representatives from the pelagic, whitefish, shellfish and salmon sectors have travelled to the European Seafood Exposition (ESE) in Brussels, undeterred by travel disruptions following the volcano eruption in Iceland.

Scottish seafood exports are estimated to be worth around £500 million, representing more than 62% by value of total Scottish food exports (£805 million). Scottish vessels account for approximately 66% of the UK fleet, land roughly 70% of the UK catch, and capture the bulk of the world's langoustine supplies. Scotland is the world's second biggest producer of farmed salmon, exporting to more than 60 international markets.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead, who will visit the show, said: “Our delicious, healthy seafood is playing a pivotal role in enhancing Scotland’s reputation as a land of food and drink. ESE offers companies an excellent opportunity to target international buyers. Our finest chefs are serving delicious crab, langoustine and monkfish - the same dishes that have been selected for the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition next year. I hope that buyers will grab the bait!”

Libby Woodhatch, chief executive of Seafood Scotland, which is hosting the Seafood Bar at ESE said: “Scottish seafood has a key role to play in leading sustainable economic growth in the food and drink sector and we anticipate a lot of interest from overseas buyers in the top quality seafood our chefs will be sampling.”

Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO) and Scottish Quality Salmon (SQS), which is exhibiting for the first time in six years to promote Label Rouge Scottish salmon, said: “The seafood sector is Scotland’s largest food export and a major supplier to global markets. Scotland is the only significant producer of farmed salmon within the European Union where it holds a reputation for high quality, in particular for Label Rouge Scottish salmon.”

David Smith, interim chief executive of Scottish Development International, said: "With the welcome news that there is growing global demand for seafood, it's more important than ever for Scottish seafood suppliers to attend exhibitions like ESE.

"Thanks to similar SDI support last year, Scottish seafood companies secured around £20 million of orders at ESE and made valuable new connections with international buyers. We will continue to support this sector, to make sure that companies have the support they need to successfully compete for their share of this growing international market."

The European Union is the world’s largest seafood market, followed by the United States and Japan. The Scottish Government and Scotland Food & Drink have identified the food and drink sectors as key economic areas for development, especially in the export market. The target is to increase the value of the food and drink sectors from £7.5bn to £12.5bn by 2017.