Seafood processing performance under the microscope in major study

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 14 Nov 2018

THE most in-depth analysis ever undertaken of the business of seafood processing is to be carried out in the coming months,

An extensive programme of financial, employment and sector research is underway by support body Seafish, with the industry vital to Grimsby and the wider Humber’s economy under scrutiny.

It is set against a backdrop of the rapidly changing landscape, with Brexit’s impact the great unknown and a prolonged period of major contract upheaval which has seen huge changes in structure across many firms.

The EU exit has brought forward real fears over tariffs, international movement of seafood and labour, while the retail merry-go-round has gone from gentle to white-knuckle in recent years when it comes to getting seafood to shoppers. 

Research has begun with the Processing Sector Census which is carried out every two years to collect information on the size, structure, and recent changes in the UK seafood processing industry. Data collection has started and will continue throughout November and December with results published in the Seafish Seafood Processing Industry Report 2018 in mid-2019.

The Processing Sector Financial Survey is also being carried out in March in order to collect business performance data. Results from this survey will also feature in the Seafood Processing Industry Report.  

As the UK leaves the EU, there is a big focus in employment and recruitment issues in food industries which is another area Seafish has been looking at over the past 12 months. The Processing Sector Labour Survey is commissioned by Defra to collect data annually and quarterly on workforce composition and ease of recruitment in the seafood processing sector.

UK Seafood Summit round-up

The next round of research for the annual survey is taking place over November and December, to be published in March 2019.

Steve Lawrence, project Manager at Seafish, said: “There have been some shifts in the seafood processing sector since we last published census data in 2016. The industry needs data to innovate and thrive and this current round of research is vital in helping us to understand how the industry is performing.

“A lot is mentioned about the impact of Brexit on the fishing industry but there is the potential for impacts on the processing sector too. Our research is shared with Government and industry to support policy and business decisions related to the industry.  

“We would like to encourage all seafood processors take part in the research to allow us to paint as accurate a picture of the industry as possible.”

Researchers will be contacting processors across the UK via telephone, email and post over the next few months.

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