Fishermen are being reminded that vessels must be registered as food businesses – and be open to inspection – before any catch can be exported to Europe after the EU exit.
Food Standards Scotland has joined forces with industry leaders to raise awareness of the move.
It has been working with the Scottish government, local authorities and fishing organisations to support the industry during the transition phase.
They have warned that catches will not be permitted for export to the EU from 1st January if vessel owners fail to meet the legal requirement by the end of this year.
Pat Smyth, Senior Environmental Health Officer at Food Standards Scotland, said: “If you are a vessel owner exporting fish and seafood across Europe, the importance of urgently registering as a food business and being inspected by your local authority cannot be stressed enough.
“From 1st January 2021 your vessel(s) will need to have been inspected so that the Export Health Certificate, issued following inspection and confirming your export meets the health requirements of the designated country, can be complete or your catch will not be permitted for export.”
Chief Executive at Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Elspeth Macdonald said: “It is essential that fishermen ensure they have their vessels inspected by their local authority if any part of their catch will be exported to the EU after the end of this year.
“Failure to do so will mean that the authorities will not be able to issue the export health certificates, which will be needed after the end of the transition period.
“If skippers or owners need more information, they should contact their local authority. Food Standards Scotland has all of the local authority contact information on its website.”
Food Standards Scotland recently issued a letter to all fishing vessel owners in Scotland highlighting the required action.