Seafood Scotland Chief Executive, Donna Fordyce has welcomed the announcement of a Scottish Seafood Taskforce
Seafood Scotland Chief Executive, Donna Fordyce has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a Scottish Seafood Taskforce but has warned that the industry needs real solutions quickly.
In a press release today, Ms Fordyce said, “The Scottish seafood industry has this week reached the peak of the export crisis and the promise of action, while weeks later than all had hoped, is welcome. What the seafood industry is experiencing goes far beyond ‘teething problems’ and needs real solutions, delivered quickly. We have yet to see the makeup of the Taskforce, but we would hope that its approach will echo the passion and fierce determination of the men and women whose livelihoods depend on the sea, and have done for generations. The challenge that lies ahead is to fix systems and red tape both here and in the EU that have so far failed seafood exporters from all over the UK, with the devastating impacts becoming clearer as each day goes by.”
Earlier this week, the Scottish Government announced an aid package for the industry which has experienced a serious blow from Brexit. The £7.75 million funding package will offer support to fishermen, seafood businesses and ports and harbours threatened by the ongoing effects of COVID-19 and the exit from the EU’s Single Market.
The package includes:
- £6.45 million for the Seafood Producers Resilience Fund which will provide support to eligible shellfish catchers and producers, in addition to trout farmers who have faced issues exporting to the EU and have lost access to domestic food markets as a result of COVID-19
- £1 million to be made available to support the investment plans of ports and harbours faced with a loss of income through landing fees
- up to £300,000 to assist the welfare and emergency support activities of the Fishermen’s Mission in recognition of the hardship facing people working in the sector at this time.
On the announcement of the financial aid, the Scottish Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing said, “The UK Government has catastrophically failed our seafood sector, so the Scottish Government has stepped up to safeguard jobs and livelihoods so otherwise profitable businesses will not pay the price for Brexit trade barriers or failed by the Tories’ grossly inadequate compensation scheme.”
Over the past few weeks, the UK Government in Westminster has announced a number of aid-packages for the UK seafood industry that has been dealing with red-tape causing border delays at ports in the south east of England. It has been estimated that the Scottish seafood industry is haemorrhaging £1 million a day down to border delays.
On the crisis a UK government spokesman said: “We recognise the temporary issues the fishing industry is facing, and know businesses involved in the export of highly perishable goods, such as fish, will be more affected by delays at the border. That’s why, following a constructive meeting of the Brexit Business Taskforce last week, we are working with the Scottish Government to set up a working group to understand and address any practical issues facing Scottish businesses, including the seafood sector.
“It’s also why we have announced a £23m scheme which will provide crucial support for fishermen and seafood exporters, who have experienced delays and a lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry in the UK and Europe. This is in addition to the £100m fund [for the UK fishing industry] announced by the Prime Minister last month.”