Boost for sector

Scotland to host global seafood event for first time

Donna Fordyce
Donna Fordyce: Scotland is the ideal location

Scotland is to host an international seafood conference for the first time, offering the sector an opportunity to showcase products from around the country to a global audience.

The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) announced Scotland’s successful bid for the 2024 conference during a visit by Mairi Gougeon, Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, to the Scottish Pavilion at Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona. 

The conference has never previously been held in the UK and will be co-hosted by Seafood Scotland and the GSA and will be attended by representatives of the sector from around the world. Speakers will focus on production, sustainability, innovation and market trends.

Ms Gougeon said: “Scotland’s seafood industry is a major success story, producing world-class, nutritious, low-carbon food that is enjoyed at home and abroad, with exports increasing by a £144 million compared to 2020 and contributing £1.3 billion to the Scottish economy annually in GVA.

“At the same time, our world-leading  sustainable fisheries management plans demonstrate our commitment to supporting a resilient seafood sector which provides important employment opportunities  across our coastal communities.

Tavish Scott: fantastic opportunity

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in bringing the conference to Scotland and ensuring we have the opportunity to showcase our products to a key  audience and sharing our expertise with international industry leaders.”

Donna Fordyce, chief executive of Seafood Scotland, said:  “Scotland is one of the world’s most trusted seafood producing countries thanks to our investment in quality, innovation and sustainability.

“Whilst we’re a small nation, we produce over 60 species of seafood and export to over 120 countries globally. From Europe’s largest state-of-the-art fish-market to some of the most stunning sea loch farms and fishing grounds and world class venues, Scotland is the ideal location for GOAL.”

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “This prestigious event will be a fantastic opportunity to promote the incredible quality of Scotland’s farm-raised salmon, our contribution to the economy and local jobs, and our measures to protect our shared environment.

“We will use this opportunity to highlight our sustainability charter, which includes measures to adopt greener energies, work towards zero waste, and achieve net zero greenhouse emissions in our own operations before 2045.”

The bid to host the conference was put together by Seafood Scotland which will work with the Scottish Government and other industry bodies to deliver the event with the Global Seafood Alliance.

Global Seafood Alliance’s chief operating officer Brian Perkins said:  “We look forward to returning our signature GOAL conference to Europe for the first time since 2017.

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“Scotland has a rich tradition in both aquaculture and wild-capture fisheries, and we see it as an ideal fit for GOAL 2024 given our organization’s growing involvement in wild-capture fisheries and rebrand from the Global Aquaculture Alliance to the Global Seafood Alliance in 2021.

“Thank you to Scotland’s thriving seafood sector and the Scottish government for embracing us and agreeing to host GOAL 2024.”

The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) is an international nongovernmental organisation dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances.

Previous hosts of GOAL include France, Chile and Dublin with this year’s event taking place in-person at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, US, from 3 to 5 October.

Scots proving to be a big catch at Seafood Expo

Natalie Bell, head of trade marketing for Asia, Europe and the Middle East at Seafood Scotland, reported lots of interest from buyers after the first day of Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona.

“We had one buyer yesterday from France who was buying Scottish scallops for just the third time and looking to expand the volume that he was getting from Scotland because the feedback from his customers has been phenomenal,” she told the fishfarmingexpert website.

“So he has come out here specially to look at sourcing Scottish shellfish and is speaking to our customers on the stand.”

Commenting on the sector’s well-documented problems after Brexit, she added: “There have obviously been issues with Brexit, but things have definitely improved.

“We’ve had Brexit and we’ve had the pandemic but it’s very much onwards and upwards. We’re aware that there are still issues – there are issues across the world at the moment – but we have a very strong-willed sector who have come out in force.

Scottish seafood
Scottish seafood proving to be a big attraction in Barcelona

“Some are here to meet their existing European buyers and some to meet new European buyers. Certainly, the interest from Europe is very much business as usual and we’ve been welcomed with open arms.

“There’s a buzz, there’s an excitement. Yesterday on the Seafood from Scotland Seafood Bar between 12 and 2pm, you couldn’t move.

“A lot of it is pre-booked for meetings for existing buyers and potential new business, and a lot of it was companies just coming along to see what was going on.”

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