SSA chief executive Jimmy Buchan has urged the UK and Scottish governments to act on the seafood exports crisis before it’s too late
SSA chief executive Jimmy Buchan today urged the UK and Scottish governments to “get a grip” of the seafood exports crisis amid very few signs of improvement two weeks into the year.
The Scottish seafood industry is under massive pressure since the beginning of the new year, when the Brexit transition period ended and new rules for exporting fish to the European Union came into effect.
With two-thirds of the Scottish fleet tied-up and fish prices plummeting, the start of 2021 has been desperate for the seafood industry.
One Scottish seafood company normally sends £1m worth of product to the EU every week. Last week they managed to get £12,000 of product into the EU. As a result, they have told the 27 boats that supply them to stop fishing.
A Scottish whitefish processor that in 2020 exported 100 tonnes of seafood in the first two weeks in January, managed to do 8.5 tonnes last week and none this week. The product that he did not get through has been frozen, but his freezer facilities are now at capacity, and he stopped buying at market on Thursday last week.
Another Scottish processor, exporting shellfish, exported £2m value in January last year. This year, he expects to achieve somewhere between £500k – £1m for this January.
“There has been a lot of direct engagement between the industry and ministers and civil servants in recent days, and plenty of soothing words about resolving ‘teething troubles’,” said Mr Buchan.
“But these are not minor impediments to trade. The industry in Scotland has basically ground to a halt and businesses that employ hundreds of people in communities around our coastline are losing money. In some cases, they are close to going under.
“It is time for our governments to get a grip of what is now a full-blown crisis, and fast, before severe and lasting damage is done to the sector.”
Source: Press Release