Post Brexit export problems cost Scotland’s salmon farmers £11 million: “This cannot be the ‘new normal”

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Losses from bureaucracy, paperwork and delays clock up.

In a press release, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) has published figures showing the losses incurred to the sector – which produces the UK’s top food export – because of the extra paperwork, the new layers of bureaucracy, the delays and the confusion caused by the end of the Brexit transition phase.

The trade organisation said that Scotland’s salmon farmers have incurred losses of at least GBP 11 million as a direct result of the changes brought about by Brexit. The sector has experienced an immediate loss of sales to the tune of 1,500 tonnes of product.

Scottish salmon farmers have also had no choice but to delay harvesting 700 tonnes of fish in order to minimise any of product becoming spoiled or destroyed.

The publication coincides with the second meeting of the UK and Scottish government joint task force on seafood exports, a task force which was set up at the urging of the SSPO.

SSPO chief executive Tavish Scott said that the sector has experienced various increasing costs which are unrelated to production, amounting to GBP 0.2 million in January alone. Such overheads are the cumulative result of additional export documents and resources, logistics costs, administrative and veterinary costs, and through lost custom as a result of reduced confidence in the supply timeline.

“This cannot be the ‘new normal’. Our members cannot guarantee reliable delivery times to the European Union, which is our biggest overseas market. The systems need to be streamlined and a lighter touch adopted on all sides to make sure we can continue to serve our European customers as we have in the past. If not, they will go elsewhere and we will lose both trade and customers,” said Scott.

“We are calling on both the UK and Scottish governments to work together with us and with the supply chain to make sure there are no more blockages in the system which prevent our members from getting their fish to market on time,” he added.