SCOTTISH salmon producers are being faced with a constantly changing “bureaucratic morass” that potentially could bring the sector to its knees.
That is the view strongly expressed by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) after the latest Brexit burach in which so-called Frontier Permits became necessary on July 1 for Norwegian crews on the specialist wellboats that treat, harvest and transport Scottish salmon. The new permits, however, do not cover all the Norwegian crew members needed to operate the boats.
Hamish Macdonell, the SSPO’s director of strategic engagement, wrote in Fish Farmer magazine: “The result has been a major headache for our sector and a problem which could potentially bring the whole Scottish salmon sector to its knees.” Macdonell says there are more problems to come: “Anyone who adhered to the clean-break theory for our departure from the EU is being proved wrong, week by week and month by month. Indeed, every time we think we have got to grips with the changes brought about by the UK’s exit from the EU, something else rises up from the bureaucratic morass to test us yet again.”
On August 21, the rules on Export Health Certificates (EHC) for the export of fish to the EU will change.
Macdonell wrote: “There is still considerable uncertainty over the changes and what they will mean. It appears that the certificates may need to be signed off by a certified vet, rather than an environmental health officer, but even that is unclear at the moment. What is certain is that eight months after EHCs were introduced for fish exports to the EU and after eight months of getting used to the complicated new system, further changes are in the pipeline.
“So if there is one thing our members are having to get used to with Brexit it is this: constant change. Just when they thought it was safe to relax a little and think they had sorted the Brexit changes, along comes something new.”