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Scottish seafood taskforce to tackle Brexit export issues

08 February 2021 by
Scottish seafood taskforce to tackle Brexit export issues

A task force set up by the UK government to solve export issues facing Scotland's seafood industry after Brexit will meet for the first time this week.

Minister for Scotland David Duguid said the group would work "collaboratively" across UK and Scottish governments to solve "medium and longer-term" problems.

Seafood industry leaders have raised concerns over issues faced by fishermen exporting their catch to the European Union (EU) since the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December.

This has included a ban on live exports of shellfish, which must now be processed before reaching the continent at a huge cost to suppliers.

Last month James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said anger amongst seafood exporters had been "simmering" for weeks.

He said: "The door to their most important market has been slammed shut. Many now fear for their survival.

"That anger has been stoked by a number of UK ministers dismissing the crisis as ‘teething problems' or, worse still, trying to make jokes about it."

The Scottish Seafood Exports Task Force will meet every two weeks and aim to help businesses manage new procedures and tackle export issues.

It will also work with French authorities to ensure administrative issues do not prevent goods from reaching the EU.

Duguid said: "I am clear about the need for action. I want the taskforce to track the export process to identify issues stopping or delaying export, and areas of complexity that are not yet well understood."

Last week the Scottish government announced £7.75m of funding to support fishermen, seafood businesses and ports and harbours threatened by the impact of Brexit and coronavirus.

The UK government has promised £23m in compensation for fishing export businesses to cover losses incurred since 1 January. This is on top of £100m pledged by the prime minister to ‘modernise' fishing fleets, fish processing and ‘rejuvenate' the industry.

Photo: Shutterstock

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