Pressure grows on government to help ease pressure for fishing sector

Pressure is growing on the UK government to help resolve the problem of mounting hold-ups in fish exports to the EU.

Dozens of lorry loads of fish have failed to leave the UK on time since full Brexit regulations came into force on 1st January.

Confusion over paperwork, the extra documentation needed and IT problems have all contributed to delays.

The leaders of Scotland’s main food and drink bodies wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November.

They were appealing for a gradual implementation period for the new rules. However, that implementation period was not adopted.

Now, they are asking for a “lighter touch” to help exports get through the ports more smoothly.

Chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) Tavish Scott, said: “Had a deal been concluded even a couple of months ago, that would have given our producers and hauliers the time to test out the new systems, trial the paperwork and get everything in place.

“As it is, we have had lorry loads of salmon stuck in Scotland, waiting for the right paperwork, we have seen delays in France because of IT problems in bringing in whole new systems and confusion everywhere.”

Executive officer of Shetland Fishermen’s Association Simon Collins said the hold-ups were causing problems for those buying and exporting isles produce.

“We’re disappointed because, after all, everybody has known there would be more red tape at this point. We know things have not worked as well as they should have done. But it’s more a cock-up than a conspiracy.”

Donna Fordyce, Chief Executive of Seafood Scotland, said: “All our producers have been working incredibly hard to work through all the extra red tape which has been put in place since 1st January but it is an almost impossible task given the lack of preparation time.”

The issue was highlighted last week by isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

Now, political pressure is growing with SNP MSP Maree Todd insisting the development is a result of the “damaging” Brexit process.

“Unfortunately, this debacle confirms what we already knew, Brexit will and is causing serious and lasting damage to jobs and businesses across the Highlands and Islands, at a time where unemployment is already soaring.

“The UK government must act immediately to rectify the issues at the border and ensure seamless trade for exporters.”

The government has been contacted for a response.


Add Your Comment
  • John M Scott

    • January 11th, 2021 16:49

    This issue would have been resolved long before we left the European Union had the SNP and Liberal Democrats not tried to scupper the original BREXIT vote at Westminster in 2019. I find it a bit rich that Alistair Carmichael and Maree Todd are attempting to make political capital out of a problem that they both had a hand in creating.


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