Scottish companies are hoping to create business opportunities worth tens of millions of pounds at the world’s largest seafood expo in Brussels this week.
The three-day Seafood Expo Global, which started yesterday, features more than 1,850 exhibitors from 79 countries.
Business opportunities worth an estimated £33m were gained by Scottish companies attending last year’s event.
This year more than 40 Scottish firms, including several with business interests in Tayside and Fife, are showcasing their products and services.
Among the firms in Belgium are Dawnfresh Seafoods, which owns RR Spink & Sons in Arbroath, Montrose-based Loch Duart, Marine Harvest whose Scottish headquarters are in Rosyth, Dundee fish-farm equipment supplier Ace Aquatec and the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, which is based in Perth.
Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland, which coordinates the delegation alongside Scottish Development International, said: “In 2017, Scottish seafood exporters added around £176m of new business, some sparked by meetings that take place at the key expos in Brussels, Tokyo and Boston.
“The Scottish shellfish, salmon, whitefish and pelagic producers and growers that invest in coming to Brussels are serious about doing business.
“They will have the opportunity to meet influential buyers from all over the world, who are seeking reliable supplies of clean, sustainable and traceable fish and seafood – and Scotland can meet that brief better than most.”
Andrew Cooksey, managing director of Dawnfresh Seafoods, said: “The Brussels Expo is a fantastic opportunity for us to display the vast range of high quality seafood we produce in Scotland, including at our RR Spink site in Arbroath.
“We hope to meet potential new customers from around the globe which could allow us to grow the business more in the future and are looking forward to a successful event.”
Mike Forbes from Ace Aquatec added: “We’re always looking to spot the next big unsolved problem, and with industry events like these it’s just as important to exercise our listening skills as our sales pitch.”
The delegation was joined by Fergus Ewing, the cabinet secretary for the rural economy, who noted Scottish seafood exports were worth £944m in 2017.
He said: “In spite of the uncertainty being caused by Brexit, our message in Brussels this week is that Scotland is very much still open for business.”