The economic significance of our langoustine industry is immense, with nephrops being one of the most valuable stocks landed in Scotland. As the nephrops industry recovers from the challenges of both coronavirus (COVID-19) and Brexit, we want to help work towards the ambition of delivering a premium Scottish product whilst also addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis, ensuring a sustainable and resilient sector contributing to a greener, fairer Scotland.
That is why we established the Scottish Nephrops Working Group (the Group) in Autumn 2020 and I would like to thank everyone who gave their time, knowledge and expertise. I would also like to acknowledge the key role of Seafood Scotland in facilitating the group and its ongoing role in providing coordinated support across the industry.
We have already awarded £799,855 under the Marine Fund Scotland (MFS) to support the delivery of many of the recommendations in the report.
To parallel this important work and address the impacts of Brexit, we are developing a new strategy for seafood to help revitalise the sector in line with a sustainable and natural capital approach. Our local food strategy consultation and the development of a "Sustainably Scottish" brand will help to support and grow Scottish seafood as a premium quality sustainable low-carbon food close to home as well as internationally.
I welcome this report and the Programme Board with Scottish Government attendance. This will provide the mechanism for experts to work together with the industry to prioritise and deliver the recommendations in the report and I look forward to seeing the results of that work.
Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands