Affirms the importance of the seafood sector and sets out how we are supporting industry to contribute to achieving our blue economy aspirations.
4. Next steps
This strategy affirms our commitment to the seafood sector as a key component of our blue economy.
There are a range of policies and programmes already in place designed to achieve the vision and outcomes we have laid out. This includes sector specific activity such as that falling under the Fisheries Management Strategy and the Regulatory Review of Aquaculture, more general food and drink supports, and wider programmes such as the Islands Growth Deal and Fair Work and Skills. A critical area of challenge identified was around funding available to the sector, particularly through Seafood Scotland, and the need for greater clarity of the funding and delivery landscape in general. As a result of a recommendation from the Food Security and Supply Taskforce, we will set up a business support landing webpage to collate relevant information for the sector, including marine funding. We will also continue to push for Seafish to demonstrate more clearly its role for Scottish industry and the benefit it provides.
We will support the implementation of this activity, ensuring coherence with the specific strategies for aquaculture, fisheries and the wider food and drink sectors. However, none of this can, or should, be achieved by government alone. Industry will contribute and key experts in the catching, aquaculture, processing and wider food and drink sectors will also have a key role to play, as will representatives from local authorities, enterprise networks and others who represent local communities.
Mapping out the range of activity also enabled us to identify some potential areas for future work that could add value to what is already in place.
However, the Scottish Government does not have sufficient levers to fully address the issues identified, especially around labour shortages and funding. We will continue to press the UK Government for an immigration system that meets Scotland's distinct economic and demographic needs and to make adequate funding available for the Scottish seafood sector in a way that respects devolution and does not cause duplication and confusion.
We look forward to engaging with the sector to support the progress of this important work.
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