Russia has now lifted all restrictions on fish imports from the UK, a restriction which has not applied for some time to exports to Russia from local pelagic factory Shetland Catch.
MSP Tavish Scott, responding to the news, said UK fish processors must be allowed to compete in eastern European markets on equal terms with their principal competitors.
The UK Government must include fish exports to eastern Europe in the exports credits insurance scheme operated for the UK Government by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), Mr Scott stressed.
He said. “It is clearly good news that this important market has completely reopened, but if Shetland Catch and other UK processors are to be able to compete with their Norwegian competitors, they must be backed by the ECGD scheme.
“Shetland Catch recently advised me that in sales to eastern Europe they find themselves at a competitive disadvantage to the Norwegians, who are backed by the Norwegian government equivalent of the ECGD scheme. No doubt they will find themselves in the same position in Russian markets if the government doesn’t act.
“I have already made representations to ministers in both London and Edinburgh, arguing for our fish exports to eastern Europe to be included in the ECGD scheme. These representations have become even more important now that the Russian market has reopened.”
He said that at present Shetland Catch cannot offer the same credit terms as their Norwegian competitors and insisted the government must act to ensure a level playing field.