Salmon Scotland, the body which represents the Scottish salmon industry, has urged the UK Government to take urgent action to support vital exports affected by cross-Channel delays.
Salmon Scotland has called on the UK Government to introduce immediate contingency plans for perishable goods to have priority status when delays occur at peak times such as the summer holidays.
Scottish salmon is the UK’s biggest food export, generating more than £600 million for the UK economy through foreign sales alone, and supporting thousands of jobs in Scotland.
Salmon Scotland CEO Tavish Scott held talks in Shetland with UK Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis to highlight the disruption and the importance of salmon exports for island and rural communities.
Fresh salmon from Scotland will normally arrive in France the following morning, but in recent weeks there have been delays of up to 48 hours due to queues on the UK side of the Channel.
France is the top market for the fish.
“But there also needs to be a longer-term permanent post-Brexit solution after schools return, with extra capacity in place to avoid delays for all transport, and flexibility built in to adapt for shifts in demand,” said Salmon Scotland.
“Scottish salmon competes in the European marketplace with Norway, which is not experiencing the same disruption to exports.
“The sector directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland and supports more than 3,600 suppliers, with a further 10,000 jobs dependent on farm-raised salmon.”
Scott said: “This meeting was a welcome opportunity to set out the challenges currently facing salmon exporters and the risk to the Scottish and UK economies unless urgent action is taken.
“As the UK’s biggest food export, it is vital for jobs in Scotland and for the UK economy that we avoid any hold-ups at the Channel.
“Fresh Scottish salmon is perishable and needs to arrive with customers as quickly as possible.
“We have urged the UK Government to prioritise the movement of perishable goods.”