Coleman: mapping out our industry’s post-Brexit future

New Seafish CEO Marcus Coleman
New Seafish CEO Marcus Coleman

Three months on from the EU Referendum and there are still a good few issues hanging around on the ‘unknowns’ list.

Our Seafish experts have been able to communicate some clarity around some of those items and we’re continuing to provide robust data on crucial areas such as economics.

What we have so far we are sharing on our website.

To quote you a line from Donald Rumsfeld, it’s the ‘unknown unknowns’ we need to worry about. Attempting to address that very point is what we are about this month, using every opportunity to ask our stakeholders for their top Brexit threats and opportunities across five key areas:

l production management / control

l trade tariffs

l regulation and non-tariff barriers

l access to labour

l and public funds.

We’ll be collecting, collating and sharing this feedback to ensure that all those involved in mapping out our post-referendum future are aware of the view from the seafood industry.

Through all this work, a key focus for us is the requirement to consider a whole supply chain perspective – not an easy job in such varied and geographically spread industry.

It was that ‘all sector role’ which took our Chief Economist and I to the House of Lords earlier this month, where we made a successful appearance before the Select Committee looking at the impact of the EU exit on fisheries.

It’s not all about Brexit of course, and we have a number of other key meetings coming up too.

Our board members convene midmonth in Edinburgh for our quarterly Board meeting; the following week, our three sector panels will be coming together in Grimsby to start the process of shaping our work plan for the period 2018-21; and the next day, our Humber Seafood Summit will bring together key industry stakeholders to hear a range of presentations and discussions on key issues around consumer demand, trade and aquaculture.

Finally, the greatest coming together of all – Seafood Week! Building on the success (and the learning) from our 2015 launch campaign, we’re hoping to grow the number of businesses getting on board and to spread that ‘double digit growth’ opportunity as far and wide as we can.

Last year’s campaign was independently assessed as having a cost benefit ratio of up to 64:1 - netting around £18m worth of additional sales for you all. Please do click though to the Seafood Week website where you will find a host of free materials to help you get the best from the week.

The more of us lined up to shout that ‘more people more fish more often’ message the more successful we’ll be.