Go fish! It worked for Smokie group

Robert Spink with some of his smokies (kippers) at Arbroath harbour.
Robert Spink with some of his smokies (kippers) at Arbroath harbour.

The Arbroath Smokies Association of Producers (ASAP) have received a £2,358 boost from the Community Food Fund (CFF).

Chairman of ASAP Stuart Scott thinks it will make a big difference in their attempts to export the internationally sought after product: “We are very happy to receive the grant,” he said.

As part of the Scottish Government Think Local Project, the CFF have awarded £53,482 to support projects and events around Scotland that encourage people to appreciate and access local produce.

Individual merchants in Arbroath are often asked for bulk or wholesale order that they are not equipped to fulfil. Five local fish merchants set up ASAP to try and find a way to meet the demand.

Mr Scott said: “Sometimes the orders were for half a ton of fish, which there is no way we could fill individually. It is too difficult to achieve alone.”

Stuart’s Fresh Fish, Alex Spink and Sons, Arbroath Fisheries, M&M Smith and E&O Fish put their heads and talents together to find a solution.

“We started thinking how to supply these companies and it appeared more costly than we first thought. There is vacuum packing, glossy literature, lab testing, marketing and lots more that needs considered before we can export on any scale.

“Thanks to Douglas Watson of the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) who recommended we apply for a grant and Lesley Walker from Angus Council. Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to get the association off the ground.”

Scotland’s Food Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Through the CFF, we are increasing access to fresh, seasonal, nutritious and local food, which is essential if we are to achieve our ambition of becoming a Good Food Nation.”