“There is going to be a catastrophic decline in the number of small exporters processing out of Scotland”

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Former chair of the Scottish Seafood Association the Industry body representing salmon and trout processors Dawnfresh, Sutherlands of Portsoy, St James Smokehouse and more, fear outcome Brexit aftermath and foreign takeovers.

Press and Journal reports that at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, former Scottish Seafood Association co-chairman Andrew Charles said that the industry feared red tape that could whack exporters with a GBP 160 per customer transaction.

“To put that in perspective, that’s going to cost the Scottish fish exporters £34 million a year,” he said.

As Boris Johnson heads to an EU summit on Thursday morning to iron out what is generally hoped to the be final stages of a deal, Charles said whether the PM walked away with or without a deal made no difference.

“Unless the government do something about this – and we have only got a matter of days – there is going to be a catastrophic decline in the number of small exporters processing out of Scotland,” he said.

Charles said that the risk was that foreign investors ultimately would come in to rescue them – pushing earnings out of the country.

“We now have this booming distillery industry today but unfortunately Scotland doesn’t own it and a lot of the profit isn’t retained in this country,” he said.

“We look at the aquaculture industry, the salmon farming sector, and it is exactly the same thing. I see that happening in the whitefish processing industry.”

The UK is set to leave the EU by the 31st October.