In an attack on Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon, Jimmy Buchan, chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association, claimed the sector had been let down by the two leaders. With fishermen experiencing issues due to the wave of EU checks, he claimed the support from the Government was not enough to keep the sector afloat. The UK Government established the £23million financial support scheme for traders but despite the new money, Mr Buchan claimed it is only “partial” in addressing the industry’s need.
The fish and seafood sector has also been given a £100million fund to help businesses modernise fleets and process fish.
Considering the promises made to the industry throughout Brexit, Mr Buchan said not many had been delivered.
He also claimed the financial package was made to appease the sector rather than to aid its long-term future.
Mr Buchan told Fish Farmer: “The truth is that while the financial support that has been forthcoming has been gratefully received, its partial nature means that businesses are being left in great difficulties in their hour of greatest need.
“There have been a lot of promises relating to smoothing the export path post-Brexit, but very few of them have been delivered.
“This funding package now looks like a convenient headline designed to appease the sector.
“When will they start taking bids, who will be eligible, when will pay-outs be made?
“We need to know, but we are greeted with silence on this at every turn.”
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To circumnavigate the EU’s rules, the Government established a review into the quality of the UK’s waters.
It is though the review by the Food Standards Agency may now upgrade the waters off Kent, Essex, Devon, Cornwall and Northumberland to Class A which may allow them to be exported.
This means the shellfish will now be exported to the EU for consumption without needing to be purified.
A Government source said: “The ban on the import of shellfish from Class-B waters was without scientific or technical justification.
“They effectively changed the law to justify their position in blocking the trade, despite clear indications that the export from Class-B waters for purification could continue after the transition period.
“This resulted in damage to markets on both sides of the Channel.”
The Government is also considering a plan to establish purification plants in order to allow traders to export to the EU.