Aquatic foods

Nourish Scotland has recently begun exploring the role of aquatic foods within food systems transformation.  One of the first pieces of work  was to deliver a Fish+ in a Good Food Nation Conference in partnership with Seafood Scotland. The event took place in January 2024 and brought together actors from across the aquatic foods system to consider how Scotland’s Good Food Nation Act can ensure seafood is part of food systems transformation. Read more about the event below.

This page will be updated as we continue to develop Nourish’s direction of work in this area.

Fish+ in a Good Food Nation Conference

With our changing climate, biodiversity crises and diet-related illness, questions around what we eat and the impacts of these have become a frequent topic of conversation. Making changes to the ways in which we do food is increasingly seen as something that can help address social, environmental, and economic challenges. However, the role of aquatic foods is often left out of these alternative futures.

In the UK an estimated 70% of the seafood we produced is exported and 65-81% of the seafood we eat is imported. The amount of seafood consumed does not meet recommended dietary guidelines. Interestingly, research has shown that some types of seafood are high in micronutrients and can be produced with lower environmental impacts than some food on land.

In Scotland, the Good Food Nation Act provides a unique opportunity to structurally support food systems transformation so that:

People from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve, and eat each day. [ Scottish Government’s Good Food Nation vision]

To ensure aquatic foods are part of our process to become a Good Food Nation, Nourish Scotland and Seafood Scotland came together to hold “Fish+ in a Good Food Nation” conference. This event brought together over 60 fishers, producer organisations public procurement representatives, businesses, environmental NGOs and community councils.

The conference was a space for participants to:

  • share perspectives on the role of aquatic foods in Scotland and how this has changed through time.
  • share their hopes and fears for the future of their industry.
  • discuss what are some positive and possible next steps that can be taken to embed fish+ in a Good Food Nation.

The positive and possible steps centred around five key issues identified by participants:

  1. How do we get more Scottish fish+ on the public plate?
  2. How do we build concensus around fish+ data and sustainability?
  3. How can people working in the fish+ sector thrive?
  4. How do we navigate the spatial squeeze collectively?
  5. How does Scotland fall in love with fish+ again?

To learn more about how participants thought these issues could be addressed read the Fish+ in a Good Food Nation report

The day was full of lively conversations and honest discussions, reflecting the passion people have for the work they do. Coming together gave us an opportunity to imagine different futures where the fish+ sector can thrive.