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Concern Grows Over Post Brexit Delays at Ports for Scotland’s Fisheries

Michael Matheson, the Transport Secretary in the Scottish Government has raised concerns with Chris Grayling the Transport Minister in the UK Government over delays at ferry ports which will affect live/fresh Scottish produce.

Michael MathesonIn a letter to Chris Grayling Michael Matheson said:

“With an annual value of £944 million, seafood accounts for 58% of Scotland’s total food exports. Seafood is highly perishable and therefore dependent on the sort of swift and reliable transport connections which would be damaged by a disorderly UK exit from the EU.

“The Scottish Government has, on a number of occasions, sought to have seafood and other time critical exports prioritised through Kent and Dover. We have also asked that these exports are given priority access to the additional ferry capacity secured by the UK Government where this is not required for essential supplies. So far, these requests have been refused.

“This lack of support for exporting businesses, which threatens the livelihoods of many in Scotland especially in our more remote and rural communities, is of great concern to us and to the industries affected.

“The current situation, which puts at risk jobs and livelihoods, is simply not acceptable. I am asking the UK Government to look again at the issues of prioritisation, and more generally at what assurance they can give businesses that their critical routes to market will be maintained in the event of a no deal.”

Regulations for live shellfish exports to the EU after Brexit

BrexitAn export certificate is needed for each consignment for anyone exporting directly into the EU – can be completed online

An export health certificate (paper) is needed for each consignment signed in person after  inspection by an environmental health officer or a vet – £38.60. Currently these are only available Mon – Fri during office hours. In Orkney it would be from OIC. This must go with the consignment and will be checked at the EU border inspection post. Currently this is only available at Zeebrugge.

Delays are likely and exporters are advised to check if they have arrangements in place to prevent  live shellfish rotting before it reaches its market.

The Scottish Government has described the UK Government’s tariff proposals as reckless having been announced with no prior consultation with the devolved administrations.

£2million has been made available to businesses by the Scottish Government in order to support them in preparing for Brexit. The Brexit Support Grant, administered by Scottish Enterprise,  will  help small and medium sized businesses with funding of up to £4000 each. It is available to SMEs whether or not they export to the EU.

Support and information can be found here: Brexit Planning for Businesses in Scotland

“The commercial catching of fish and marketing of fish and seafood, including the farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants and algae (aquaculture), is regulated by the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). “

When the UK leaves the EU it will no longer be in the Common Fisheries Policy. The UK Government has laid out in a White Paper how it will manage Fisheries – the White Paper does not cover the marketing of fish.

After Brexit UK registered vessels will no longer have an automatic right to land fish in any EU port.  UK vessels will have to ask permission in advance to access a port in an EU country. The vessel may be subject to a search and documents relating to what is on board will have to be presented.

Selling  Fishery Products – UK Government Advice

UK Fishery products for sale will continue to use the same labelling as they did when an EU member.

Catch certificates will be required for UK fish products being exported to the EU. This will need to be verified by the UK fisheries authority where the vessel is licensed before being submitted to the competent authority in the EU. Products being imported from the EU into the UK will also require to submit the relevant documentation.

The UK Government is still developing the IT system which will have to cope with the increased demand it expects for administration. There will  be an additional financial cost resulting from this, not yet specified.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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