ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Tesco urged to support seafood sector during pandemic.
In a letter to the CEOS of some of the UK’s leading supermarkets, Seafood Scotland (the national trade and marketing body for the Scottish Seafood Industry) is urged them to reopen fresh fish counters.
In the letter, Donna Fordyce, Head of Seafood Scotland, said that: “It is imperative that fish counters are reopened to allow consumers access to fresh, locally caught seafood from the domestic market as part of their essential shop.”
Fordyce wishes ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Tesco would follow in the steps of Morrisons, who opened new steak and seafood bars in of the end of April to help struggling British farmers and fishermen.
SalmonBusiness reported in January how fish counters were on the out in large supermarkets as part of cost-cutting measures. Pre-coronavirus, 80% of Scottish seafood and shellfish was exported, with the remaining 20% destined for UK food service and retail.
“With the export market at a standstill, the sector is now completely reliant on the UK market to keep afloat, and even within this segment the food service sector is operating at minimal levels due to the UK lockdown,” wrote Seafood Scotland.
“This means UK multiple retailers and some independents are now at the front line of supplying the nation with locally caught seafood. Some fishing businesses are selling direct to the public, but this trade is contained within small pockets and amounts to a drop in the ocean,” it added.
“It’s time for consumers to eat local, eat Scottish. We get to eat our own high quality, delicious, healthy, and sustainable seafood so that the Scottish coastal communities can continue to operate, albeit at reduced capacity. The supermarkets are key to making this happen,” said Fordyce.