Fish prices on Peterhead Fish Market fell by as much as 80% due to Brexit disruptions and COVID-19
Prices on Peterhead Fish Market fell by as much as 80% yesterday as Brexit disruptions and COVID-19 hit the Scottish fishing industry with a hammer blow yesterday.
Boxes of fish that would usually reach £40 to £60 per box hit a low of £8.00 per box as the average price for staple species dropped.
It has been reported that one-third of the fleet is now tied-up with other boats taking the expensive option of travelling across the North Sea to Denmark to unload catches in an effort to avoid wasting valuable catches through border bureaucracy.
This could lead to further concerns for the seafood industry as James Withers, CEO of Scotland Food and Drink expressed in a tweet earlier today. He wrote, “If boats fish in UK waters, but land in Denmark, processors here are cut out of trade. If this becomes a new pattern, it’s a huge concern for processors here. Fish landed in Denmark (trucked to France/Spain) is traded within single market, so avoids a lot of Brexit bureaucracy.”
The combination of border delays at UK ports and the impacts of the growing COVID-19 pandemic at home and on the continent has led to fish prices dropping further as the industry faces another bleak year in 2021.
Exports from the west of Scotland were stopped over the weekend because hauliers would not transport goods due to delays at English ports and will not resume until tomorrow Wednesday with one fish supplier saying that their boats are unable to fish this week.
Scottish fish traders say that they are losing at least £1 million a day and have again urged the UK government to offer financial supports for the seafood industry. Fish suppliers have been complaining that they have lost prices as the highly perishable product is delayed sitting in lorries.
But, the main issue of COVID-19 causing lockdowns on the continent is having a greater long-term impact on fish prices as restaurants and eateries in European cities such as Paris and Berlin are forced to remain closed. Germany has announced stricter lockdowns nationwide. Any future relief from the coronavirus looks far-off even with the introduction of the inoculation campaign at home and in the EU, ans it looks like it could be the summer before non-essential services will be allowed to offer some sort of service to the public.