The Scottish Seafood Taskforce has met for the final time but tailored dialogue for exports with the fisheries sector will continue
A taskforce instrumental in smoothing seafood exports has met for the final time. Tailored dialogue with the fisheries sector will continue.
The Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce grew from consultation with the industry to consider export issues experienced after Britain left the EU. It brought together key industry representatives from the catching, processing and aquaculture segments with senior political figures and officials from both the UK Government and Scottish Government.
The taskforce was chaired by David Duguid, UK Government Minister for Scotand.
After the final meeting yesterday (Monday), he said:
“A tremendous spirit of co-operation has helped us deliver results, for instance on more rapid digitisation of the processes around exporting. The frequency of supplier declarations has been cut back, helping ease the administrative burden on business, and other changes driven by the task force have cut the time required to ready seafood for export.
“We will issue a final report from the taskforce and have agreed to reconvene in six weeks’ time to map out with industry how best to continue our productive two-government engagement.
“We plan to keep delivering action-focused engagement and look forward to the sector maximising the opportunities that come from the UK now being an independent coastal state, free of the yoke of the Common Fisheries Policy.
“The UK Government has committed £100m into the sector to help ensure an industry vital to so many of our coastal communities has a bright future. I would like to thank everyone involved, especially those from within the industry without whom the task force could not have delivered the results we have.”
The Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce grew from consultation with the seafood and aquaculture industry and met virtually. It held eight formal meetings, while expert sub-groups considered specific issues in detail.
The taskforce’s remit was to be an overarching body delivering action on medium to long-term issues for the industry, and to complement UK-wide consultation with the aim of increasing confidence in the seafood and aquaculture supply chains.
The taskforce had a core membership drawn from the catching, processing, exporting and aquaculture sections, and invited industry experts and specialists to join on an ad hoc basis. Key members represented included the Scottish Seafood Association, Scottish Fishermen’s Association, Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation and Seafood Scotland.
Attendees from the UK Government included George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Victoria Prentis, Under-Secretary of State for Farming Fisheries and Food.
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretaries for Rural Affairs Fergus Ewing and, latterly, Mairi Gougeon also attended.
The UK Government has offered considerable financial support for the seafood industry. Over and above the £32m replacement for EU funding, the Government introduced a £23 million Seafood Disruption Support Scheme. Additionally, £100 million is earmarked for the UK sector to maximise the opportunities arising from Britain’s emergence from the EU Common Fisheries Policy as an independent coastal state.