The composition of the fish processing sector varies throughout Scotland. Whitefish processing mainly takes place in the north-east of Scotland. Pelagic processing, like whitefish processing centres around the north east but also takes place in Shetland. Shellfish processing takes place across all fishing areas and in the central belt. There are over 200 processors in Scotland, employing approximately 7,000 people.
There are three types of processing activity:
Primary processors are involved in the cutting, filleting, picking, peeling, shelling, washing, chilling, packing, freezing, heading and gutting of fish and shellfish. These tend to be small units employing few people.
Secondary processors are involved in brining, smoking, cooking, freezing, canning, deboning, breading , battering, vacuum and controlled packaging and the production of ready-to-eat meals. The facilities tend to be larger with higher employment than the other two categories.
"Mixed" processors carry out both primary and secondary processing. Most fish processing in Scotland is in mixed facilities and they generate significantly higher average sales than the other two categories.
Fish processors in Scotland are represented by the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA) and the Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF).