Brexit chaos at UK ports is forcing Scottish fishing vessels to land their catches directly into the EU via ports such as Hanstholm in Denmark
Two weeks into the new “sea of opportunity” era and Scottish fishermen are being forced to travel to the EU to land their fish directly.
Brexit chaos in fisheries exports in the United Kingdom is now leading Scottish fishing vessels to travel across the North Sea and land their fish in Denmark.
The fish auction in Hanstholm, on Denmark’s northwest coast, is reporting unusually high interest from Scottish boats.
“We are in dialogue with 10-15 new boats, because their market has suddenly become completely different from what they knew before 01 January,” says auctioneer Jesper Kongsted.
“Many of them are some ships with a cargo of 50 tonnes.”
Jesper Kongsted estimates that 30-40 percent of the 1300 tonnes of fish sold at the fishery auction in Hanstholm this year come from Scottish fishermen.
“From 01 to 04 January, their market was very similar to ours, but from 05 January onwards, prices have completely collapsed over there. When you have been out fishing for 5-6-7 days, and you are lying with a load of mixed fish, you look at what you can get for it in Peterhead, and what you can get over in Hanstholm. Right now, they might earn DKK 100-200,000 (£12,000 – £24,000) more by sailing a whole load of fish to Hanstholm, and that means that there are some who have never been this way who are really considering doing so,” says Jesper Kongsted.
It is not unusual for fishermen from other countries to land their catch in Hanstholm when fishing in the North Sea. But so far it has not been more than five to ten Scottish boats that have made their way past the west coast of North Jutland, which is the most obvious Danish port for the Scots and the largest Danish fish auction.
This indicates at least a doubling of the activity, reports Jesper Kongsted. (Source).
One major seafood exporter that didn’t want to be named has already confirmed that catch set to be exported to the EU next week will be processed in Denmark, rather than in Scotland.
The Scottish National Party yesterday accused Johnson’s government of being “asleep at the wheel” after two ministers were accused of not taking the disruption seriously enough.
The party called on fisheries minister Victoria Prentis to resign after she told a House of Lords committee that she didn’t read the UK-EU trade deal when it was agreed as she was “organising the local nativity trail”.
Scotland minister David Duguid was also accused of flippancy after replying “how long is a piece of string?” when asked by BBC Radio Scotland how long it’d take for the government to resolve the issues facing Scottish fishing traders.
A Downing Street spokesperson on Thursday confirmed that the government was “looking to compensate the fishing industry,” but didn’t provide further details.
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We recognise the fishing industry are facing some temporary issues as businesses get used to new processes for exporting following the end of the Transition Period.
“Our priority is to ensure goods flow smoothly to market and we are working closely with industry and the authorities in EU countries to understand and address any issues with documentation.
“We are also looking at what additional financial support we can provide to support those businesses affected and we’ll provide more details on that in due course.” (Source)