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Davie Tait
12th May 2015, 16:05
http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-news/13954-northeast-scotland-is-top-seafood-processing-centre.html

NORTHEAST Scotland has overtaken Humberside as the largest centre for seafood processing in the UK, according to a major new study.

The results of the study of the fish processing sector across Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen were unveiled yesterday at a meeting of key industry representatives near Peterhead.

The project, funded by Aberdeenshire Council and Scottish Enterprise with support from Aberdeen City Council, was commissioned to help analyse the current status of seafood processing in northeast Scotland and the emerging challenges and opportunities posed by the new Common Fisheries Policy.

BDAplus of Fraserburgh, which carried out the study, found that northeast Scotland has overtaken Humberside as the UK's largest centre for seafood processing, based on the number of seafood processing enterprises in the area (78) and the numbers employed in the industry (3,964 including fulltime agency staff).

As well as identifying the successes and future opportunities of the industry, the study also highlights the challenges being experienced that those working in the sector must now consider how to address.

In advance of the launch of the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, it provides a basis for discussion of future levels of both national and European support for a coherent growth strategy involving capital investment, business improvement, upskilling and market development.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council's Policy and Resources Committee, Councillor Jim Gifford, said: "The fish processing industry is of huge importance to the north-east of Scotland and now has a bigger economic footprint than Humberside with excellent prospects for future growth.

"This study is a solid base for the development of future strategy which could transform the seafood industry in the north-east into Scotland's Seafood Centre of Excellence.

"Its detailed analysis will be very useful in helping the industry to move forward and capitalise on future opportunities for further growth arising from reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and, hopefully, higher quotas due to steadily improving fish stocks in Scottish waters."

Aberdeen City Council's Communities, Housing & Infrastructure convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: "This new report promotes a positive prognosis for the industry. It will encourage investment and growth, ensuring the sector continues to be an important part of a diverse northeast economy.

"The processing sector in Aberdeen faces a unique challenge to grasp opportunities for growth in an extremely high-cost environment. This report addresses the options and provides excellent guidance on feasibility.

"The City Council looks forward to working with the industry to ensure that new investment in key infrastructure supports the development of a sustainable processing sector in the city."

More than 75 per cent of the fish/shellfish processing businesses based in the area were interviewed as part of the study, as well as two producer organisations, the three main harbour authorities, the two local authorities and the main seafood industry support agencies.

The survey provides key information on what processors consider the critical issues for their businesses, the principal constraints to growth and the main opportunities for expansion and development in the future.

It also includes assessments of the efficiency and effectiveness of the fish/shellfish supply chains in the area and of the impact of future changes in fisheries legislation.

The study can be viewed here https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/support/fishing.asp