Shell­fish in­dus­try suf­fers as qual­ity pro­duce rots in stand­still lor­ries

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

THE WEST Coast fish­ing in­dus­try is reel­ing from the shock waves of the cri­sis at Calais, which is cost­ing it mil­lions of pounds in lost rev­enue.

Thou­sands of mi­grant work­ers have been lay­ing siege to the ferry ter­mi­nal at the French seaport in a des­per­ate bid to board lor­ries trav­el­ling to the UK.

Tail­backs of lor­ries at Dover wait­ing to cross the chan­nel has now turned miles of Kent into an ex­tended lorry park.

This has proved dis­as­trous for the West Coast seafood and shell­fish in­dus­try as mil­lions of pounds worth of per­ish­able pro­duce is now be­ing spoiled be­fore it reaches high-pay­ing Euro­pean cus­tomers in France, Italy and Spain.

Pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tive routes or modes of trans­port will be dis­cussed by key fig­ures from the seafood, fish­ing and trans­port sec­tors.

Scot­tish seafood ex­ports to Europe are reck­oned to be worth more than £450 mil­lion a year.

Scot­land’s First Min­is­ter, Ni­cola Stur­geon, has said the sit­u­a­tion at the French port is cost­ing busi­nesses mil­lions of pounds a week.

Richard Lochhead, the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment’s fish­eries sec­re­tary, said Scot­tish seafood pro­duc­ers were be­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected by the dis­rup­tion caused by the may­hem at Calais.

He said: ‘ The sit­u­a­tion in Calais is clearly com­plex and re­quires a multi-agency re­sponse in­volv­ing both the UK gov­ern­ment and the French author­i­ties.

‘The Scot­tish gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to urge the UK gov­ern­ment to play its part in a co- or­di­nated a com­pre­hen­sive EU plan of ac­tion to deal with the mi­grant cri­sis.

‘We also need ac­tion to ad­dress the im­me­di­ate is­sue around get­ting ve­hi­cles and ex­ports mov­ing again.’

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