West Coast Sea Products Case Study

A fine catch!

This case study shows how the fishermen of Kirkcudbright in Scotland are selling their produce into the kitchens of France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, South Africa and USA.

From Kirkbudbright, this supposedly sleepy corner of Scotland, West Coast Sea Products Ltd exports 75% of the entire scallop harvest of the UK – and creates employment for 150 local people.  Nor do they ignore the UK domestic market – they sell their discarded scallop shells to the UK’s catering industry.

The origins of this enterprise are rooted in the ability of local fisherman to create an efficient trawling system for the inshore waters of the west coast of Scotland.  The challenge was to trawl for scallops without damaging the seabed and destroying the fishery.  The solution, locally devised and subsequently patented, was a trawl design with legs lifting it a little above the seabed but still close enough to scoop up the shellfish.

That development improved harvesting efficiency but the big-time breakthrough into international trade came when fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico collapsed from over-fishing and US markets needed alternative suppliers.

Having adapted to the need for processing, packaging and shipping, the export trade grew to such an extent that Kirkcudbright became a hub for scallop fishermen in other parts of the country – a development of a wholesale service business based around the onshore expertise as much as the quality of the offshore product.

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