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April 29th 2021

Scotland's salmon producers have welcomed recommendations to improve the process of exporting seafood to the EU made today (Thursday 29 April 2021) by MPs on the UK Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

In the report, Seafood and Meat Exports to the EU, the cross-party group of MPs called on the UK Government to streamline and speed up the export processes, make compensation schemes more flexible and create more distribution hubs for exporters, particularly those with small loads.

Tavish Scott, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), said the report should spur the UK Government into action.

He said: "This report rightly identifies some of the main barriers which are hindering our members in getting product to the European market.

"There are thousands of customers in Europe who want Scottish salmon, who recognise its quality and provenance but who have faced delays and bureaucratic barriers since the full effects of Brexit were felt at the start of this year.

"If we are going to keep the customers we have and attract new ones we need to be as competitive as possible and that means cutting down the paperwork and making the process of getting salmon to the EU as easy, efficient and swift as possible.

"We call on the UK Government to implement these recommendations in full to help us support the huge effort our members are making in keeping exports thriving."

The EFRA report calls on the UK Government to make the following changes:

  • Digitise the process of Export Health Certificates, to make it quicker and more efficient.
  • Introduce a more flexible approach to compensation for seafood exporters who have lost out since January 1.
  • Provide the same help for small business exporters to Europe as is available for those moving goods to Northern Ireland.
  • Establish a ring-fences fund to create new distribution hubs focussed on the needs of the smaller companies which rely on groupage.

Notes to Editors:

  • Scotland's salmon producers are spending an additional £200,000 a month on extra paperwork because of Brexit.
  • Post-Brexit it takes an extra two hours for each seafood load to be processed and given an export health certificate for transport to the EU, and, in some cases this process is taking four hours or longer.
  • The SSPO has previously called for Export Health Certificates (EHCs) to be redrawn, simplified and digitised.
  • EHCs currently require certifying officers to score out ALL products which the supplier is NOT exporting to the EU. This increases the possibility of errors occurring.