UK ministers have told a north-east MP that Scottish seafood exporters will be able to continue operating “without disruption” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Banff and Buchan Tory MP David Duguid told the Press and Journal that he has “consistently received assurances” from ministers that trade will continue unimpeded if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.
Official figures show Scottish seafood exports globally were worth nearly £1billion in 2017, with much of the seafood exported from the north and north-east going to the EU.
Mr Duguid said: “The UK Government is 100% focused on leaving the EU with an agreement, but it is also right that the country is prepared for a ‘no deal’ outcome – no matter how unlikely that seems.
“I have been having regular discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Secretary and the Transport Secretary about the need to ensure perishable goods such as seafood can move back and forth without disruption.
“I have consistently received assurances on this front, and I know that our EU neighbours are just as concerned that their produce continues to be transported into the UK.
“I will continue to lobby hard to protect the interest of the seafood sector – and indeed other sectors that rely on the smooth passage of goods into the EU.”
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing warned earlier this year, in a letter to Michael Gove, that the seafood industry would face costs running into millions of pounds if the UK left without a deal.
Mr Ewing said the bill for salmon processors alone will run to at least £15million in costs for extra paperwork that will be needed for exports.
Defra and the UK Government have consistently said that the aim remains to leave the EU with “the best trade deal for the whole of the UK’s fishing industry”.