Scot­tish seafood del­e­ga­tion in fact find­ing trip to Boulogne

Fish Farmer - - Contents – Editor’s Welcome - BY ROBBIE LANDS­BURGH

Robbie Lands­burgh

AS Brexit con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate the UK po­lit­i­cal agenda, but still with no clear out­come in sight, many busi­nesses have sen­si­bly con­tin­ued plan­ning ahead to make sure they are ready for any even­tu­al­ity. Scot­tish salmon pro­duc­ers are most def­i­nitely in this camp. Within our sec­tor, con­tin­gency plans are de­vel­op­ing in anticipati­on of changes aris­ing from Brexit, par­tic­u­larly a no deal sce­nario.

Moves are un­der­way to con­sol­i­date Ex­port Health Cer­tifi­cate (EHC) cer­ti­fy­ing ac­tiv­ity at dis­tri­bu­tion hubs, along­side other ini­tia­tives to ex­pe­dite the process.

The SSPO and our mem­bers also con­tinue to work with hauliers and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to en­sure the routes to mar­ket are as quick and free of bur­dens as pos­si­ble amid on­go­ing wor­ries of po­ten­tial de­lays and tail­backs in the south east of Eng­land.

Hauliers have told us that they will likely wait around five hours at the Chan­nel Tun­nel be­fore con­sid­er­ing us­ing ferry ter­mi­nals as an al­ter­na­tive route to mar­ket.

It is very much a case of try­ing to en­sure there is min­i­mal dis­rup­tion to the usual pro­cesses, while at the same time keep­ing op­tions open to be able to adapt quickly in changed cir­cum­stances.

Against this un­cer­tain back­drop, a del­e­ga­tion of Scot­tish seafood ex­porters, salmon pro­duc­ers in­cluded, em­barked on a trip to France in late May to wit­ness first-hand the prepa­ra­tions the French author­i­ties have made for Brexit.

France is, at present, the big­gest mar­ket for Scot­tish salmon, with UK whole fresh salmon sales of some £168 mil­lion in 2018.

As well as this, it is a nat­u­ral first point of en­try in to the EU ahead of dispatch to other coun­tries.

While no one can say for cer­tain what sort of dis­rup­tion, if any, Brexit may cause to cross-border trade pro­cesses, author­i­ties, busi­nesses and other key stake­hold­ers on both sides of the Chan­nel are do­ing their best to en­sure goods, such as highly prized fresh and smoked Scot­tish salmon, can con­tinue to get to cus­tomers quickly as the UK ex­its the EU.

Our visit was punc­tu­ated by a very brief but en­joy­able trip to the Lux­em­bourg Palace in Paris with our French seafood coun­ter­parts to cel­e­brate seafood in the heart of the French cap­i­tal.

Af­ter this, we moved on to the main pur­pose of the trip: to visit Boulogne-sur-Mer, home of France’s most im­por­tant fish mar­ket and fish­ing port, on a Brexit fact find­ing mis­sion.

We be­gan at 4.30am with a tour of sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties in Boulogne. We

were guided around the dis­tri­bu­tion hubs of STEF and De­lanchy – the main seafood hauliers on the French side – and the fish mar­ket it­self, centred around the Halle Jean Voisin, catch­ing a glimpse of both the re­frig­er­ated fa­cil­i­ties for land­ing, al­lot­ting and for­ward­ing fish, and the auc­tion hall where it is bought and sold.

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