Brexit taskforce to tackle seafood export problems
A joint taskforce is to be set up by the UK and Scottish governments to address issues for seafood exporters following the end of the Brexit transition period.
The move, announced this morning by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, follows urgent calls from the seafood industry after a series of problems with shipping arrangements, certification and customs clearance caused many loads of perishable produce to be delayed or cancelled.
The joint taskforce, which will include representation from the UK and Scottish governments, as well as the seafood industry, will look at how the bureaucratic obstacles which have arisen post-Brexit can be streamlined.
A UK government spokesman said: “We recognise the temporary issues the fishing industry is facing, and know businesses involved in the export of highly perishable goods, such as fish, will be more affected by delays at the border. That’s why, following a constructive meeting of the Brexit Business Taskforce last week, we are working with the Scottish Government to set up a working group to understand and address any practical issues facing Scottish businesses, including the seafood sector.
“It’s also why we have announced a £23m scheme which will provide crucial support for fishermen and seafood exporters, who have experienced delays and a lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry in the UK and Europe. This is in addition to the £100m fund [for the UK fishing industry] announced by the Prime Minister last month.”
Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said: “We welcome the UK Government’s commitment to create a seafood export taskforce with the Scottish Government. This is a result of calls by the Scottish salmon farming sector and the wider food and drink industry to seek a collaborative solution to the post-Brexit export problems experienced by the seafood sector.”
He warned, however: “While the situation has improved in recent days, significant issues remain. With experts from Scotland and the UK now poised to get around the table we now need to work together as a matter of urgency to get these export issues resolved.
“Our customers in Europe need to know they can rely on Scottish salmon, the UK’s biggest food export, arriving on time.”