As the government-funded project to support sales of langoustine, being implemented by Seafood Scotland, continues, plans for a presence at the Boston Seafood Expo, one of the largest seafood gatherings in the world, were confirmed last week, reports Andy Read.

Both east and west coast prawn fishermen will attend the show, to learn more about potential new markets for their product, and about any innovations in terms of quality, packaging or presentation that may be required.

Graeme Buchan and his family fish for langoustine in the Fraserburgh/Peterhead area. Based in Macduff, Graeme founded his company 30 years ago with his brother-in-law. They have five boats and focus almost entirely on langoustine.

Son Josh (18) has joined the business and will be heading out to Boston with Graeme, as well as fellow fisher and friend George West and his son Matthew.

During lockdown, when demand for fresh langoustine fell away with the closure of foodservice outlets, it was Josh who came up with the idea of starting a home delivery business – and Salt Water Seafood was born. The family is keeping that side of the business going, but is also open to new markets, including the USA, hence the trip to Boston as a guest of Seafood Scotland under the Scottish Nephrops programme.

The Buchan family vessels have always concentrated on maintaining the highest-quality landings. Hopes are that demand from the top end of the USA market will see a new export outlet open up.

Graeme said: “We are going to Boston to find out what the opportunities are to sell quality Scottish langoustine to US trade buyers. At the moment we are thinking about frozen, shell-on langoustines, but it will be interesting to see what sort of new markets there might be.

“It’s important to me to involve the younger generation, which is why our sons are coming along. It will be their energy and ideas that take the business forward.”

Clyde skipper Ian Wightman has been a fisher in Largs since he was 16 years old. Before that he was a ‘pier pest’, catching the ropes from the boats tying up, and getting paid in fish, which he then sold around the town.

Ian got his first boat at the age of 20, and has made his living from fishing ever since. He’s caught fish and scallops in the past, but now focuses entirely on prawns. He now works on a purpose-built single-handed 10m vessel named Eilidh Anne after his daughter. He works on his own, and nowadays prefers it that way.

Ian reckons that the coast off Largs is a fantastic place to catch premium langoustine because
of the nutrients in that area. “The seabed here is full of valleys and gullies, and the sediment gets washed down, releasing more nutrients into the water.

“I can sell what I catch five times over, but it is in all our interests to promote Scottish langoustines and ensure that visitors to the Seafood Scotland stand understand what Scottish langoustines are all about – the best quality you can get. They taste amazing, and are sustainably sourced to ensure there is a plentiful supply for years to come.

“I am keen to do my bit to support coastal communities, many of whom rely on fishing for their livelihoods.”

The Boston event runs from 13 to 15 March, and boasted an attendance in 2021, in spite of Covid, of over 22,000 seafood buyers and professionals. Fishing News looks forward to hearing from Graeme and Ian about their experiences, and the prospects for new markets for Scottish langoustine, on their return.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here. Image credit: Salt Water Seafood

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