Strong Grimsby input into industry plans for the future of English seafood sector

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 29 Nov 2017

The seafood supply chain in England is working to create a sustainable and thriving future through an ambitious plan published today, which could drive huge benefits for the Grimsby-area.

Seafood 2040 – A Strategic Framework for England sets out a vision for the seafood supply chain.

It identifies actions for how the industry can grow to the recommended consumption level of two servings of fish a week, while ensuring continued sustainability of supply in both the wild caught and aquaculture sectors.

If achieved, it predicts the creation of nearly 7,000 more jobs in processing, taking the current 9,200 to 16,000, while sales of seafood in the UK would surge from £6.1 billion to £10.7 billion, bringing in more than £100 million additional operating profit for the operators, who could see a £1.7 billion increase in sales from £2.3 billion to virtually £4 billion. 

Such increased would generate an additional £200 million in wages, up from £266 million in the processing sector to £465 million.

It would also mean an additional 2,000 fishermen across the English fleet, taking it to a record 5,300 jobs, generating £150 million in wages. English aquaculture employment could soar to 1,260 jobs, generating £20 million in wages. 

The framework has been created by an expert panel, including Grimsby Fish Market boss Martyn Boyers and former Young's Seafood technical and CSR director Mike Mitchell, with members from across the seafood value chain including catching, aquaculture, processing, international trade, retail, foodservice and science. It is the first time a full supply chain perspective has been used to develop a plan for the long-term future.

Three clear priorities emerge, based on a foundation of collaboration, science and best practice. They are: 

  • Maximise sustainable wild catch opportunities
  • Grow a sustainable aquaculture sector
  • Enable business growth

Alison Austin, chair of Seafood 2040 and an independent Seafish board member said: “The English seafood sector is facing a raft of opportunities and challenges over the coming decades: Brexit, opening up new markets, access to raw material and labour, as well as environmental pressures, to name a few. Planning for the future to ensure the industry thrives is vital.

“For this to happen, change must come from within the industry through continued commitment and collaboration across all parts of the supply chain, including government.

“The first step to bring this programme to life is to create a Seafood Industry Leadership Group who will oversee the delivery of SF2040. This will be made up of key industry leaders and a representative from Seafish and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).”

Seafish chief executive Marcus Coleman was also at the launch, where it was confirmed Mr Boyers will lead on ports and auctions, with Mr Mitchell heading up processing. 

In order to drive consumption, the health benefits of seafood are at the forefront of the thinking.  

Welcoming the establishment of the group, George Eustice, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, said: “As we leave the EU, we want to see our fishing industry seize the opportunity to create a more profitable, sustainable and innovative seafood sector.

“I look forward to seeing how this group can work together to drive forward the ambitions in this strategy and unlock the industry’s vast potential.”

Seafood 2040: A Strategic Framework for England can be viewed here: Seafood 2040: A Strategic Framework for England

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