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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 13:50 GMT
12,000-mile scampi trip condemned
Langoustines
The langoustines are to be shipped to Thailand for processing
Plans to send Scottish seafood on a 12,000-mile trip to Thailand to be peeled before being sold in the UK have been condemned by environmentalists.

Young's Seafood said the move, which will result in 120 job losses at its plant in Annan, was necessary due to "prohibitive wage costs" in the UK.

Friends of the Earth Scotland described the decision as "madness".

It said every tonne of scampi shipped to Thailand would generate half a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions.

FoE director Duncan McLaren said: "It clearly makes economic sense but the environmental impact of this is remarkable."

"For the few pounds it is saving the company, it is costing the rest of us - costing the planet - many pounds of environmental damage."

This is another unwelcome reminder about the vulnerability of the economy of south-west Scotland to global trading conditions
Murray Tosh MSP
Conservatives

He said the government should implement the recent Stern Review on climate change, which called for high charges on carbon dioxide emissions, and ensure those charges also applied when goods were imported into the UK.

The company plans to start processing its scampi products at a facility in Thailand owned by Young's sister company, Findus, from February next year.

The site at Annan, which currently employs 250 people and has been open since the 1940s, is to remain open and continue to pack and distribute seafood.

Director of scampi, Mike Mitchell, had said it had been an "extremely difficult" decision but hand-shelling of langoustines or prawns, the seafood from which scampi is made, was not economically viable in the UK.

Local politicians expressed concern over the move.

Conservative MSP Murray Tosh said: "This is another unwelcome reminder about the vulnerability of the economy of south-west Scotland, which is so highly dependent on manufacturing and processing, to global trading conditions."

Michael Russell, an SNP parliamentary candidate for the area, said the decision highlighted the need for green taxes that favoured food being prepared and consumed close to where it is produced.

Ministers quizzed

Labour MSP Elaine Murray said she would be asking whether there would be support for workers made redundant from the Scottish Executive and Scottish Enterprise at minister's question time next week.

The MSP for Dumfries said she also hoped to raise the issue of the impact on the local economy and environment at first minister's questions.

"I understand that Thai workers are paid one twenty eighth of the wages of Scottish workers, therefore the company will find it cheaper to ship prawns half way round the world for processing," she said.

"This doesn't take into account either the social or the environmental consequences of the decision."

In September it emerged that Dawnfresh of Uddingston planned to shed 70 staff as part of plans to send Scottish prawns to China for shelling before being returned for sale.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See what's behind the firm's decision



SEE ALSO
Seafood company to shed 120 jobs
14 Nov 06 |  South of Scotland
New shellfish strategy launched
11 May 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Jobs go as seafood plant closes
17 Oct 05 |  Humber
Workers reel at news of closure
18 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Empey to hear jobs concerns
07 May 02 |  Northern Ireland

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