Scottish salmon producers have welcomed the announcement from Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove MP that a joint government led taskforce is to be set up to help support British seafood exporters.
Tavish Scott, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), previously took the idea of an expert working group to Cabinet ministers in both administrations.
Mr Scott called for the creation of a cross-border government taskforce to iron out the post-Brexit export problems experienced by seafood businesses this year.
Following this morning’s confirmation Tavish Scott 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.
“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.”
Speaking on BBC Scotland’s “Good Morning Scotland” this Thursday 28th January Michael Gove MP said:
"Just last week I had meetings with Tavish Scott, Jimmy Buchan, those at the frontline of providing us with seafood, and also with Fiona Hyslop. We agreed we would set up a specific joint task force in order to make sure that we supported the sector. We are looking at how we can streamline any bureaucratic obstacles."
Since the introduction of new checks, rules and bureaucratic regulations at the start of year – brought about by the end of the Brexit transition period – seafood exporters have had to endure delays, cancelled orders and lost customers.
The situation has improved over the last week but there are still serious issues which are causing problems, mostly linked to the huge amounts of new paperwork that is needed to export seafood to the EU.
Notes to editors:
In January around 3,100 tonnes of whole, fresh/chilled salmon worth £23million exported to the EU (the vast majority going through France).
Equivalent to over 100 tonnes every day of whole, fresh Scottish salmon are en route to the EU.
valuation of £750,000 every day in January.
Estimate of financial losses by the Scottish salmon sector in first week of January from cancelled orders, discounted fish and extra staffing costs of new paperwork - £3 million.
The issues which have caused problems for salmon exports include: the time it takes to process export health certificates for consignments of fish to the EU, the extra paperwork needed to process those certificates, IT problems in the UK, IT problems in France and confusion over which documents are needed (in hard copy and in an electronic form).