Scottish seafood processors are demanding urgent action on rising energy costs, which they say are threatening to drive some factories out of business.
In a letter to the two candidates to become prime minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, ahead of their visit to Scotland last week, Scottish Seafood Association chief executive Jimmy Buchan warned that on top of Brexit and Covid, escalating fuel costs were having a ‘devastating impact on our ability to remain viable’.
He wrote: “We all know from the daily headlines that this crisis is affecting everyone, but given our vital role when it comes to the nation’s food security, I feel it is incumbent on my organisation to make you aware of the precise nature of the toll it is exacting on seafood production.
“Our members are facing at least a doubling of energy costs between this year and next, and even greater expenditure in 2024. Evidently, that is not sustainable for the business or the consumer who needs to eat healthy, nutritious protein.”
Mr Buchan said that businesses recognised the need for greater efficiencies, and were focused on trimming excess costs. “However, when cost increases on this scale eat so substantially into profitability, we need a commitment from government to safeguard businesses and people’s jobs.
“Across Scotland’s seafood production, which is critical to the supply chain of our hardworking fishers, we need to ensure continuity of food supply to our nation. In government we need a prime minister that understands and puts in place workable plans that allows our businesses to thrive.”
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.