Seafood processing represents a major growth opportunity for the north-east Scotland economy, according to a study which concludes the sector can anchor employment and value-adding activity in coastal communities for the long term, writes Ian McConnell.

According to the partners behind the study, its findings “support the case for transformational investment to deliver business growth [and] new jobs and increase processing activity, particularly in Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Aberdeen”.

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The region’s seafood sector expects the volume of fish landed to increase after Brexit, according to the “Future Proofing the Seafood Industry” study commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council. The study, covering the Aberdeenshire and City of Aberdeen local authority areas, was commissioned on behalf of funders North East of Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group, Seafood Scotland and Opportunity North East.

It found north-east Scotland’s ports account for 57 per cent of fish landed in Scotland each year. The 200,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish landed in the region is worth more than £233 million. It also found the the region’s £700m turnover seafood-processing sector employs around 4,000 people and is “nationally significant”.

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More than 70 seafood processing, manufacturing and value-adding businesses operate in the area, according to the study. And the industry is a substantial exporter of whitefish, pelagic species and shellfish to the European Union and rest of the world.