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Scotland’s salmon farmers tell UK Government that more must be done to help seafood exports into Europe.  

The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) today (February 19) submitted evidence to a UK Government (EFRA) Inquiry on ‘Seafood and Meat Exports to the EU’ assessing the effects of Brexit on trade with Europe.

Scotland’s salmon farmers prepared extensively to ensure they were ready for the post-Brexit trading arrangements. SSPO member companies’ initial problems arose from being grouped in with other parts of the seafood sector who were less ready to deal with the complex export paperwork requirements and a lack of efficiency in processes at distribution hubs. This has subsequently been exacerbated by IT system failures, problems with communications between some hauliers, certifiers and exporters, inconsistency at Border Control Posts (BCPs), and a lack of knowledge and understanding of post-Transition Period requirements from EU-based traders.

This disruption has resulted in several negative impacts. There is evidence of reputational damage to the sector arising from delays and, what Scottish salmon producers hope will be a temporary reduction in the reliability in delivery times. More commonplace is a general reduction in prices as premiums are closely linked to freshness and thus timely delivery. The full impact in cost terms to Scotland’s salmon farmers is still not known.

The SSPO are confident that if these problems can be resolved, sales and revenue values will return to pre-Brexit and pre-Covid levels with room for further growth. However, this will only be achieved with the increased costs and complexities brought about by non-tariff barriers, which ultimately impacts profits.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of the SSPO said: “We continue to call on the UK Government to do everything within its power to minimise bureaucracy and non-tariff barriers with the aim of securing an acceptable “new normal” of Day 1 for Day 2 delivery and a streamlined system to deal with additional bureaucracy for UK-EU trade arising from EU exit.

“Moreover, the UK Government should make good on its intentions to deliver the “world’s most effective border by 2025”. We have also asked for the UK Government to negotiate a “grace period” to phase in new paperwork requirements– akin to those secured for goods movements between the British mainland and Northern Ireland - in the recent past. We would continue to urge the UK Government to consider this.

“Scottish salmon is unique in terms of the combination of premium quality and efficiency of supply chain so that it reaches markets and consumers in pristine condition. Smooth and efficient trade links are vital in maintaining salmon (and other fresh/perishable seafood) at the forefront of the UKs food exports.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • In 2020 exports of Scottish salmon to the EU accounted for 69 per cent of global sales in volume (50,000 tonnes) and 64 per cent in value (£288 million) terms, an increase from 56 per cent and 52 per cent in 2019 respectively.

  • In January around 3,100 tonnes of whole, fresh/chilled salmon worth £23 million is typically exported to the EU (the majority going through France).

  • Equivalent to over 100 tonnes every day of whole, fresh Scottish salmon are en route to the EU.
  • The Scottish salmon farming sector provides direct employment for 2,500+ people and supports 10,000+ jobs in processing and the supply chain. 
  • 3,600 companies across Scotland work with the sector.
  • In 2020 the Scottish salmon sector launched their Sustainability Charter: A Better Future For Us All, detailing 5 pledges and 41 actions to ensure they are world leading in growing healthy, nutritious food in the most responsible and sustainable way.

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