The seafood sector in Scotland is in the midst of a very testing and trying time, according to the Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA), which is calling on its counterparts in France to work with rather than against them as the fishing sectors in both Scotland and France are suffering.
‘Lost markets for a number of high-end species such as Scallop and prawns and significantly reduced demand for whitefish has led to a high number of vessels tying to the quayside. A limited number of vessels continue to fish for haddock for the domestic market with species such as monkfish, hake, ling and megrim shipped to foreign markets mainly in France and Spain,’ a spokesman for SWFPA said.
‘These exports are traditional and form a significant element of the trade from fish processors in the north-east of Scotland who send regular shipments on a daily basis.’
Now SWFPA reports that this trade is threatened as a group of voices within the French industry apply pressure through political routes on large retailers to ensure that only fish of French origin is purchased at auction.
‘The genesis of their actions is unclear but understood to be linked to poor returns for a quantity of French fish. What is clear is the impact their actions will have for Scottish fishermen with exports of fish to France now reduced to very low levels. Their actions have a direct impact on Scottish markets with prices for a number of key species dropping sharply,’ SWFPA’s spokesman said, commenting that Scottish waters are fished heavily by around thirty large French vessels.
‘These vessels land their catch into Scottish ports and truck the produce to France. Understandably, and in response to the protectionist measures applied in France, a number of Scottish fishermen are saying that this practice must now be brought to a halt,’ the organisation states.
‘In the hope of de-escalating this whole affair we are calling on our French colleagues to step back from this agenda. Far more will be gained from working together than operating in isolation.’