STRONG interest in Scotland's seafood has been reported from East Asian buyers after the largest-ever delegation of Scottish companies visited the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo in Dalian last week.

Iain MacSween of the Scottish Fishermen's Organisation (SFO) told the Sunday Herald that the presence of Scottish chefs at the show helped concentrate attention on the nation's fish and seafood, while a reception highlighted the variety and versatility of Scottish produce.

"We had interest from a number of top-level buyers, and are confident of increasing our business in China," said MacSween. "We hope that [Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs] Richard Lochhead will consider visiting this highly successful seafood show next year to add weight to our presence."

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More than 30 people from six Scottish companies attended the event, with the aim of delivering a strong Scottish message on the Seafood From Britain stand.

This was highlighted by cookery demonstrations and sampling sessions led by members of the Federation of Chefs Scotland, who prepared mackerel, brown crab, scallops, salmon, razor clams, lobster, smoked salmon, squid, langoustine and herring. A sushi chef showed how the quality of Scotland's seafood makes many species from its waters suitable for the discerning sushi market.

Lunar Freezing, Macduff Shellfish, Burgons of Eyemouth/Blue Sea Food Company, Fresh Catch, the SFO and Denholm Seafoods were joined by Devon's Shellfish Express and Fortuna Seafoods from the Falkland Islands.

Seafood Scotland's Clare Dixon said: "We hope that the 'emerging markets' programme will help to raise awareness of the high quality of seafood available from Scotland, and assist companies to build relationships with new buyers."