P D K Shellfish outline global fishing opportunities for Scottish firms
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fisheries policy of the European Union (EU), setting quotas for which member states are allowed to catch each type of fish, as well as setting out certain fishing regulations. This obviously has a major impact on fishing throughout the UK, including the lucrative Scottish trade. The UK has still not left the EU, and with the general election in full swing the Scottish National Party are intent on becoming kingmakers while asking in return for another independence referendum - the result of which would see them seeking to remain in the EU. This uncertainty is something which is having a real impact on Scottish fishermen's ability to do their jobs.
One major Brexit talking point has been the CFP and giving British fishermen 'control' over what they fish, as well as determining how to make the most of the resources available as an island nation. The most likely scenario is still that the UK leaves the EU, and is therefore taken out of the CFP. The Parliamentary Review spoke to Paul Knight, managing director of Oban-based P D K Shellfish, who purchase and transport large quantities of shellfish from all the Scottish islands and several mainland ports. Highlighting the opportunities for the fishing industry in a post-CFP Scotland, Knight said,
"In Scotland, we have some of the best seafood in the world and while the European market will always be very important, the emergence of worldwide markets, especially the Far East – in particular China – have given our sector a new lease of life. Our European markets are diminishing, so in order to keep the business on its current trajectory, we need to act.
"The purchase price to fishermen has the scope to double or even treble with these new markets, turning a once poorly paid sector into a thriving positive one that will become attractive to young people once again. We anticipate that the new development will also result in the direct employment of up to 20 additional staff, taking our full-time staff total to over 30. The development of this project has involved bringing together all the relevant fishing and government agencies from within the UK, who have aided us in our attempts to develop a modern export centre that will potentially have a transformative effect on the Scottish rural economy throughout the Western Isle."
P D K Shellfish has also seen substantial growth in recent years, having invested in renewal energy in the form of windfarms and catamarans which easily transport workers to and from those farms. These examples of innovation and diversification show a sector ready to take advantage of a post-CFP fishing environment, and those in the Scottish fishing industry will breathe a collective sigh of relief when there is certainty either way so they can make the most of those opportunities in the future.