More consolidation in industry inevitable, warns Park Published: 03 April, 2008
FISHERMEN are going to have to learn to deal with the impact of soaring fuel bills and act accordingly, even if this means more fleet consolidation, an industry leader warned today.
Mike Park, executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association said that the Fishing 2008 showcase had opened against the background of reasonable optimism in the catching sector.
But while this optimism was justified, there are also big issues on the horizon, including how the industry deals with sky-high fuel prices in the medium to long term.
The fuel issue was a long-term trend which the industry was going to have to learn to deal with themselves. They could not expect someone else to come in and bail them out.
There were other key issues to tackle, including the vital necessity of placing fish well in the marketplace. The moves towards accreditation for North Sea haddock and langoustine were part of that process.
Industry survival, he emphasised, was not just about what comes out of the cod end, but the revenue accruing to the catch and there was no question that fuel costs were eroding the relative prosperity of the fleet earnings, though not entirely.
However, in terms of tackling the fuel costs issue, he ruled out the industry being given special subsidies to help them and he felt that coping with the impact of fuel costs would come through a structural approach in whitefish fleet terms.
I think what you will see is further consolidation of the industry. I do not believe this will jeopardise our sectors ability to supply the marketplace, but there will be less units in there doing it.
Mr Park added: The fuel issue is an ongoing trend and the industry has to learn to deal with it and act sensibly.
The relative prosperity of the fleet is a fact and we are getting decent prices, but that prosperity is being eroded by the cost of fuel.
The major Glasgow fisheries show has attracted a wide range of exhibitors and the organisers are confident that it remains the right formula for the UK catching sector.
www.fishupdate.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.