Scotland’s salmon sector has urged the UK Government to take urgent action to support vital exports affected by cross-Channel delays.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, held talks in Shetland with UK Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis to highlight the disruption and the importance of salmon exports for island and rural communities.
Salmon Scotland has called on the UK Government to introduce immediate contingency plans for perishable goods to have priority status when delays occur at peak times such as the summer holidays. But there also needs to be a longer-term permanent post-Brexit solution after schools return, with extra capacity in place to avoid delays for all transport, and flexibility built in to adapt for shifts in demand.
“This meeting was a welcome opportunity to set out the challenges currently facing salmon exporters and the risk to the Scottish and UK economies unless urgent action is taken,” Scott stated.
“As the UK’s biggest food export, it is vital for jobs in Scotland and for the UK economy that we avoid any hold-ups at the Channel. Fresh Scottish salmon is perishable and needs to arrive with customers as quickly as possible,” the Salmon Scotland boss added.
Scottish salmon competes in the European marketplace with Norway, which is not experiencing the same disruption to exports, the trade body warned.
Fresh salmon from Scotland will normally arrive in France the following morning, but in recent weeks there have been delays of up to 48 hours due to queues on the UK side of the Channel – and there are concerns of repeat problems.
Scottish salmon is the UK’s biggest food export, generating more than £600million for the UK economy through foreign sales alone, and supporting thousands of jobs in Scotland.
France is the top market for the fish, where it holds prestigious status with chefs and restaurants.