The UK’s seafood sector is at “rock bottom” with the impact of Brexit resulting in significant price drops, according to Seafood Scotland.
Price drops of around 50% have been reported by Seafood Scotland, along with system failures and a lack of clarity on paperwork which the trade body says is making seafood exports “all but impossible.”
Donna Fordyce, head of Seafood Scotland, commented: “The sector is at rock-bottom and needs space to breathe. Trying to navigate the system we have at the moment is like pushing water uphill, and it is not improving. Getting anything out of the UK into the EU is being achieved by luck rather than design. In the meantime, businesses that have been operating for generations, the people that work for them, and their families and communities are bearing the brunt of the issues.
“We have been requesting this grace period for months but now it really is the only way to keep the sector afloat.”
“Everyone has their sleeves rolled up desperately trying to help companies meet the requirements for export, but at the heart of it, the UK system needs fixing. This cannot be done while it is live. This was inevitable, given such a complicated process was put together at the last minute. With some breathing space, the system can be fixed and rebooted, and companies will then be able to keep moving.”
Seafood Scotland says it is working with Government to try to resolve problems throughout the supply chain. The trade body is calling for a six-month grace period from the new paperwork while systems are tested.
Fordyce added: “The grace period will also allow companies to fully familiarise themselves with the new regulations so that human errors become less prevalent and we are working hard to support this via a series of webinars and one-to-one education sessions. We have been requesting this grace period for months but now it really is the only way to keep the sector afloat, allowing the issues currently frustrating trade to be resolved while still allowing product to flow.”