Salmon safeguard measures ruling hailed as “new beginning” for Scottish industry – Fishupdate.com

Salmon safeguard measures ruling hailed as “new beginning” for Scottish industry Published:  13 August, 2004

AN influential UK and Irish salmon producers group has hailed as “excellent

news” a decision reached today, Friday, by the European Commission to

institute safeguard measures on EU imports of Atlantic salmon from Norway

and other countries that export salmon to the EU.

The safeguard measures, which are provisional, are to take the form of an

annual quota on imports, which represent two thirds of salmon consumption in

the EU. Once the quota is exceeded, a duty of about 18% will be levied on

all further imports.

Angus Morgan, secretary of the EU Salmon Producers Group, which represents

the EU-owned primary producers in Scotland and Ireland, said in a statement:

“This marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Scottish salmon industry,

when farmers, processors and all associated with it, can now look forward

with some confidence to a much brighter future, freed from unfair

competition that was bringing the industry to its knees.”

Mr Morgan, whose organisation had worked with the UK Department of Trade and

Industry, the Scottish Executive and the Irish Authorities to prepare the

request for measures, had high praise for all the authorities’ support.

“In the Autumn of 2003 our Government clearly identified the extreme peril

that our industry faced . . and decided to act. They have been tireless in

prosecuting our case in Brussels, and also with Member States, not all of

whom were initially in support of the Commission’s proposals [to impose

safeguards].”

Consumer fears about a resulting increase in the price of salmon should be

allayed by the EU investigation, which also established that the full

benefit of lower prices had not been passed on to consumers, so price rises

as a result of the ruling were unlikely.

Mr Morgan continued: “Over the past 18 months our industry and that of

Ireland has been severely affected by massive over-supplies, imported at

prices well below the costs of production. In the last 12 months, more than

six companies in Scotland have gone into administration or receivership and

many others are being forced to stop much needed investment and to reduce

production”.

Calum MacDonald, MP for the Western Isles, who lead the political lobbying

in Whitehall said: “At a particularly difficult time in our negotiations, I

asked the Prime Minister to become involved. He did not with gusto . . .

and I’m sure it made the difference between success and failure in our

lobbying, because the Norwegians were putting up a tremendous resistance.”

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