Salmon firms warn of 'huge burden' caused by Brexit red tape

The Scottish salmon farming industry could face “huge unnecessary burdens” under the Brexit deal being pursued by the UK Government, the industry’s trade body has warned. The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said that the sector – behind the UK’s biggest food export – would face major bureaucratic hurdles under a planned deal. Scottish salmon exports to the EU do not need Export Health Certificates (EHCs) at the moment because of free movement of goods within the EU.

However, the trade body said it now appears inevitable that these exports will need EHCs after the end of this year, when the transition phase is over, because of the UK Government’s decision not to align with EU regulations in the future.

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As well as costing the sector millions in extra fees, it could mean the processing and signing of an extra 50,000 to 100,000 EHCs every year, each one of which has to be signed by either an environmental health officer or a vet.

This will need extra staff at the main haulage distribution hub, the DFDS base at Larkhall in South Lanarkshire, and delays and hold ups in the dispatch of salmon to the continent.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the SSPO, said: “We deal in a perishable product so it is crucial for the thousands of loyal customers we have in the EU that we get our fresh fish to key markets as quickly and smoothly as possible.”

“The addition of an EHC for every order of salmon to the EU would place huge unnecessary financial and bureaucratic burdens on our sector – potentially undermining one of the UK’s biggest modern export success stories.”

She said around 300 salmon orders are dispatched to the EU every day by road and through the Channel Tunnel.

“If each one – or even each lorry load – had to have an extra certificate, signed by a vet or an environmental health officer, it would not only add delays and cost to Scottish Salmon exports, it would give our international competitors an advantage they would be unlikely to pass up.

 “We are appealing to the UK Government to make this a priority in negotiations with the EU.”

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