Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has described as “shocking” reports in Denmark that up to 40% of fish sold in auctions there came from Scottish fishermen, and warned that government complacency risked turning short term disruption into a long term loss for Scottish exporters. The news comes as seafood businesses in Scotland face disruption and suspension of shipments due to post-Brexit trading changes.
Jesper Kongsted, a leading figure in the Nordic logistics industry, told Danish TV station TV 2 that he estimates up to 40% of fish sold at an auction in the Danish town of Hanstholm came from Scottish fishermen who are trying to avoid customs and regulatory red tape. The move risks permanently cutting out local processors and exporters.
Mr Carmichael said:
“These figures are shocking and a reminder that complacency we are seeing from the Government may turn short-term disruption into a long-term loss for parts of our fishing industry. Every fish sold in Denmark will be processed by someone working in Denmark. That is work that could be done by a worker in the UK. As we rebuild our economy post-COVID we will need every job we can find. As a result of Boris Johnson’s bungling, coastal and island communities are left doing that with one hand tied behind their back.
“We need real focus now from ministers – exactly why I pushed for an urgent debate this week and why I am continuing to push all levers to get action.
“Yesterday Jacob Rees-Mogg boasted that after Brexit we have “British fish” – they may be “British” but thanks to the Government's incompetence on exports it seems a lot of them may be processed abroad in future. Mr Rees-Mogg treats fishing like a punchline but there are livelihoods on the line. We don’t want to be a political football and this is long past being about Brexit arguments – we just need action to support local businesses.”
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