First Minister to meet seafood sector
EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 16 August 2018
Protecting Scotland’s valuable seafood industry and mitigating the impact of Brexit on trade, funding and ongoing access to labour will be discussed at a sector roundtable hosted by the First Minister.
Fishing, processing, aquaculture, environmentalists, scientists, port authorities and food and drink representatives will raise their key Brexit priorities at the summit in Edinburgh, which will also be attended by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.
Seven out of 10 of Scottish seafood’s current top overseas export markets are EU member states, and account for 79% of the sector’s exports outside the UK.
Speaking ahead of the meeting Mr Ewing said:
“The Scottish seafood sector has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is an important part of our economy – but the UK Government’s lack of clarity on how the industry will be affected by Brexit is putting the livelihoods of workers and communities at risk. With seafood exports to the EU worth £725 million last year, the industry needs an assurance that it can continue to easily access EU markets.
“Increased trade barriers and customs delays – as well as question marks over our ability to attract and retain migrant workers and our continued access to EU funding – could all harm the entire seafood chain if it is not addressed sensibly through the UK Government’s Brexit negotiations.
“The Scottish Government’s firm view is that the least damaging Brexit would involve continued membership of the single market and customs union. However, in the absence of any realistic UK Government position, this summit is an opportunity to hear the seafood sector’s concerns so we can push for more clarity – this will also help us shape our national discussions around the future of fisheries management in Scotland.”