Fish Farmer

SSPO calls for urgent reform of export red tape

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SCOTLAND’S salmon farmers are spending £200,000 each month on extra paperwork following the end of the Brexit transition period. So says the Scottish Salmon Producers Associatio­n which is calling for urgent reform of the export health certificat­es regime to cut down on red tape.

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisati­on (SSPO), said there was an urgent need for the Export Health Certificat­e (EHC) to be redesigned.

Scottish salmon producers have had to cope with significan­t delays since the transition period ended on January 1 and the full effect of Brexit came into force.

The SSPO said that despite improvemen­ts since January when it was taking many hours – and sometimes days – to process orders of seafood for the continent, orders are still being held up because of the bureaucrac­y of the extra paperwork.

It now takes about two hours for each seafood load to be processed and given an export health certificat­e for transport to the EU and, in some case, this process is taking four hours or longer.

These delays mean salmon is not arriving in France on time, leading to lost orders, discounted sales and disgruntle­d customers, the industry says.

One of the biggest problems with the certificat­e, according to the SSPO, is that numerous boxes have to be crossed out by certifying officers, scoring out all products which the supplier is not exporting to the EU .This often leads to confusion and mistakes, causing delays both in the UK and at the EU border posts.

Tavish Scott has asked the UK Government to look into this issue as a matter of urgency and he raised the issue personally with Michael Gove, the UK Government’s Brexit Cabinet minister, on a recent call.

Scott said he had received a verbal assurance from Gove that the UK Government would look to redesign, redraw and simplify the export certificat­e, which can run to dozens of pages for each order.

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