In the week that the UK government unveiled the Withdrawal Agreement and the details of the future relationship with the EU after Brexit (See Below) , MP for Argyll and Bute, Brendan O’Hara reiterated the concerns of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) for the farmed fishing industry.
The Scottish Salmon industry – estimated to be worth over £1 billion to the Scottish economy last year – face the prospect of high tariffs and lengthy border checks if the UK government fail to secure a future trade agreement with Europe by 2021.
Brendan O’Hara who spoke on the Fisheries Bill last week (21 November) in the House of Commons, draw particular attention to the dangers ahead when he said,
“Argyll and Bute export huge quantities of salmon and shellfish and we are proud to be the home of many world-renowned salmon, halibut and trout producers. They rely on guaranteed, fast, unhindered access to markets, the ability to recruit crew for their boats and they need sufficient numbers of people to process their catch quickly and efficiently to dispatch it to where it needs to go – much of it to continental Europe.”
“I fear that what is contained in the Government’s withdrawal agreement will not be happy reading for the industry. It does not provide for frictionless trade nor does it guarantee access to the workforce that they require. It is hugely worrying that this inept government are determined to embark on a course which put this industry at risk and puts Scotland and my constituency at a competitive disadvantage particularly with Northern Ireland who will keep a foothold in the EU regardless.”
These fears were echoed by the Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, Julie Hesketh-Laird when she said,
“This document raises the prospect of tariffs being imposed on exports if there is no agreement on North Sea fish quotas. It also raises the prospect of border checks for fresh salmon exiting the UK bound for our biggest export market – the EU.”
Draft Political Statement