Scottish seafood exports are suffering severe hold-ups as a result of post-Brexit customs requirements.
Jimmy Buchan, chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association, said he was extremely disappointed that just a few days into 2021 his members who export to the EU were being hit by unnecessary delays.
Mr Buchan said: “Trucks laden with fresh seafood are being held up in central Scotland due to problems with customs barcodes and lack of veterinary service capacity.
“Instead of representative samples being removed from trucks and checked, entire trailers are being emptied so that every box and label can be checked.
“Combined with computer problems on both sides of the English Channel, this is a worrying sign for the days and weeks ahead when the flow of produce will get much greater.”
He added: “These issues have a detrimental impact on our member businesses because, ultimately, they lose revenue, and prices in the market become depressed in reaction to the problems.
“We are at the point now where the white-fish fleet may have to stop fishing.
“Things are tough enough due to Covid-19 without this on top. Ministers of both the UK and Scottish governments need to get on top of the situation and resolve these issues as soon as possible.”
Scores of Scottish lorries are being held up in queues at Larkhall and Dunkirk as IT and customs barcode problems thwart exporters. Some drivers have reportedly been waiting 24 hours.
The latest delays follow major hold-ups just before Christmas when other countries responded to a big jump in new variant Covid-19 cases in the UK by introducing travel restrictions – effectively cutting off Britain.