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Fears That Scotland’s Trade with EU Could Collapse

There are fears in Scotland that its €1 billion Euro seafood trade with the EU could collapse over Brexit. Deliveries of Scottish seafood to the EU were halted after post-Brexit problems with health checks, IT systems and customs documents caused a huge backlog. This is reported as “plunging Scottish fishing into crisis” as lorry-loads of live seafood and some fish destined for shops and restaurants in France, Spain and other countries were rejected because they were taking too long to arrive. New Brexit rules require every box of seafood and fish to be offloaded from lorries and inspected by vets before it leaves Scotland.

The Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Elspeth MacDonald, wrote a letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston saying: “Our industry is facing mounting financial losses. Many fishing vessels are tied to the quay wall. Of the others that can go to sea, some are now making a 72-hour round trip to land fish in Denmark, as the only way to guarantee that their catch will make a fair price and actually find its way to market while still fresh enough to meet customer demands.

"This, on top of the desperately poor deal on fisheries in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, is not what you promised the fishing industry. You and your Government have spun a line about a 25% uplift in quota for the UK, but you know this is not true, and your deal does not deliver that. This industry now finds itself in the worst of both worlds.”

Meanwhile it has been reported that Scottish fishermen have turned to fish auctions in Denmark in the first two weeks of the year to avoid having their deliveries to the European Union blocked by post-Brexit red tape. A fish auction on the west coast of Denmark, Hanstholm has so far this year sold over 500 tonnes of fish from Scottish fishing vessels, more than double compared to the same period last year.

Some Scottish fishing companies say they face ruin, as several EU countries rejected UK exports after new customs demands delayed the arrival of their fresh produce.