UK seafood sector, government making progress on EU export situation

Published on
January 27, 2021

Temporary issues experienced by the United Kingdom’s seafood supply chain in exporting products to the European Union’s markets are steadily improving, according to Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid.

Scotland’s salmon sector has urged the U.K. government to help resolve export issues related to the new border rules established in a Christmas Eve agreement. According to the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), dozens of truckloads of fish have failed to leave Scotland on time since the full Brexit regulations came into force.

“The U.K. government has been striving night and day to help the industry and I am encouraged that solutions now in place are beginning to bear fruit,” Duguid said following the latest meeting of the Scottish Seafood Export Working Group, attended online by the Scottish Seafood Association and Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

The minister also spoke with logistics company DFDS, which operates the Larkhall hub, through which much of Scotland’s seafood exports pass.

“It is essential that we know precisely what difficulties are arising so we can tailor solutions. The excellent feedback from DFDS is massively helpful. We are working to streamline systems, while supporting exporters and partners such as DFDS, and the commitment to making the system work is clear across the board,” Duguid said. “The U.K. government has acknowledged there have been difficulties and we want to work together to provide solutions and restore confidence within this crucial sector so that world-class Scottish seafood can be harvested at sea and sped from port to plate for customers here and abroad. We want a workable, sure-footed system so the industry can maximize the benefits of Britain’s new status as an independent coastal state, outside the Common Fisheries Policy.”

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week pledged GBP 23 million (USD 31.4 million, EUR 25.9 million) in emergency aid to help the country’s seafood businesses affected by border delays created by the new customs and export certification requirements of the Brexit trade agreement.

The fund is targeted at fishing export businesses who can show evidence of a genuine loss in exporting fish and shellfish to the E.U. This support, which is targeted at small- and medium-sized enterprises, is available immediately and paid retrospectively to cover losses incurred since 1 January, 2021.

The maximum claim available to individual operators is GBP 100,000 (USD 136,398, EUR 112,374).

Since 1 January, U.K. seafood exporters to the E.U. have been required to follow new border procedures, including providing accompanying customs declarations, catch certificates, and export health certificates (EHCs).

Photo courtesy of Peter Titmuss/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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