Food Standards Scotland is warning the country’s fishing industry that vessels need to be registered as food businesses, and be inspected by the relevant local authority, to enable catch to be exported to Europe after EU-exit.

If vessel owners fail to meet this legal requirement by 31st December 2020, their catch will not be permitted for export to the EU from 1st January 2021.

Food Standards Scotland has been working closely with the Scottish Government, local authorities in Scotland and fishing organisations to support Scotland’s fishing industry during the transition period.

Pat Smyth, senior environmental health officer at Food Standards Scotland, said: “If you are a vessel owner exporting fish and seafood across Europe, the importance of urgently registering as a food business and being inspected by your local authority cannot be stressed enough.

“From 1st January 2021 your vessel(s) will need to have been inspected so that the Export Health Certificate, issued following inspection and confirming your export meets the health requirements of the designated country, can be complete or your catch will not be permitted for export.”

Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive officer at Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “It is essential that fishermen ensure they have their vessels inspected by their local authority if any part of their catch will be exported to the EU after the end of this year.

“Failure to do so will mean that the authorities will not be able to issue the export health certificates, which will be needed after the end of the transition period.

“If skippers or owners need more information, they should contact their local authority. Food Standards Scotland has all of the local authority contact information on its website.”