Scotland politics

Seafood industry seeks answers on post-Brexit trade

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Image caption Producers worry that fresh produce could face delays

Leaders of Scotland's seafood industry have told UK environment and food secretary Michael Gove more has to be done to safeguard exports after Brexit.

At a meeting in London, representatives of salmon producers, fishing boat skippers and seafood processors set out the concerns.

In particular, they worry about delays of fresh fish being delivered by truck to European customers.

Defra described the meeting as "very productive".

The seafood industry representatives also sought reassurances about compensation for any new tariffs.

Another concern was increased paperwork to certify the seafood's origin.

'No extra barriers'

Hamish Macdonell of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation said: "Scottish seafood rightly enjoys an enviable reputation for quality and availability in European markets.

"As representatives of all seafood sectors, farmed and caught, we made it clear to the UK government that we are determined to ensure this continues, even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

"We held a constructive meeting with Mr Gove and his senior officials and while we appreciate the preparatory work that has been already been undertaken, we believe more has to be done to protect seafood exports to the continent if no Brexit deal is agreed."

The Scottish Seafood Association's Jimmy Buchan added he was "hopeful" about Mr Gove's response.

"Seafood is perishable so it is imperative that no extra barriers are placed in the way of its access to market," he said.

"We are now hopeful Mr Gove will work with his colleagues across the UK government to make sure access remains as swift and as easy in the future as it is now."

A Defra spokeswoman said: "We all want a sustainable, profitable fishing industry and to have the greatest possible tariff-free and barrier-free trade with our European neighbours and negotiate our own trade agreements.

"We look forward to continuing our engagement with the sector to achieve the common goal that exports of this top-quality product can continue in all scenarios."