THE seafood and fishing industry has welcomed Scottish government help to deal with the chaos imposed by Westminster’s disastrous post Brexit arrangements.
It comes as the industry is fighting for survival because border delays are stopping fish from getting to European markets on time, costing millions of pounds in lost sales.
Boris Johnson’s hastily arranged Brexit ‘’deal’’ has introduced swathes of red tape and delays at the border. Weeks later Westminster compensation arrangements are still not clear.
This will have a tangible impact on the livelihoods of some of the hardest hit in the sector and in some cases could save generations-old businesses from going under
The Scottish government has introduced a £7.75m cash package to support fishermen, seafood business, ports and harbours.
Chief executive of trade body Seafood Scotland Donna Fordyce said: “This will have a tangible impact on the livelihoods of some of the hardest hit in the sector and in some cases could save generations-old businesses from going under.’’
Scottish fishing firms recently held a lorry protest at London involving vehicles bearing slogans such as ”Incompetent government destroying shellfish industry”.
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said the Scottish government was acting “in the absence of any further clarity on resilience funding from the UK government’’.
He added: ”The fund for shellfish and trout businesses will help the sector survive the ongoing loss of domestic sales due to Covid-19 and the current immediate challenges of Brexit, giving them some breathing space and allowing businesses to make the changes they need to adapt to the new, tougher, trading realities.”
The package includes £6.45m for the Seafood Producers Resilience Fund to provide support to eligible shellfish catchers and producers, in addition to trout farmers who have faced issues exporting to the EU.
The Scottish seafood industry’s exports accounted for 57% of the country’s overall food exports in 2019, worth an estimated £1.02bn.
All of this action from the Scottish Government is good news, but frankly actions that mitigate the incompetence of the Westminster Government in dealing with a Brexit that Scotland voted against shouldn’t be all the Scottish Government is tasked. In an independent Scotland none of this would be necessary and the fishing and seafood sector would still be thriving and exporting as normal.