Rural Affairs Secretary urges UK Government to continue talks
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has called for continued regular engagement with the seafood industry and UK Government to help the sector navigate the challenges presented by Brexit.
A sector specific taskforce aimed at supporting the sector is set to hold its final meeting on Monday 14 June.
Speaking ahead of the final meeting of the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon urged the UK Government to ensure a forum continues to exist at least until the end of 2021.
The extension would allow issues related to exports to be worked through and to prepare for further changes to trade arrangements.
Ms Gougeon said: “Through the taskforce, the Scottish Government has highlighted significant issues facing the sector, including the digitisation of export paperwork and the transit of goods from EU vessels.
“Six months on from Brexit and the seafood sector is still trying to work through the red tape and barriers to trade imposed by a damaging and last minute deal.
“At this crucial point, where we are starting to see some hope of recovery there remains a strong need for a forum where Ministers from the UK and Scottish Governments, and industry, continue working together to minimise the impact of changes to import regulations.
“Given the significance of seafood to our national economy and our coastal communities, we are continuing to do all we can to protect the livelihoods of those working in the industry.
“We have provided support through the Seafood Producers Resilience Fund to more than 800 vessels and 26 aquaculture businesses impacted by COVID-19 and Brexit.
“Funding has also been used to support ports and harbours who have lost landing fees, while welfare advice and Brexit advisers to assist businesses navigate through the new processes have also been made available.”
The Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups (RIFGs) aim to improve the management of inshore fisheries in the 0-6 nautical mile zone of Scottish waters, and to give commercial inshore fishermen a strong voice in wider marine management developments.