Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil yesterday participated in a Westminster cross-party debate on the impact that the EU exit deal is having on the fishing industry.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:

“The difficulties faced by the Scottish fishing industry because of the Brexit deal continue to hit our fishing industry and I was glad to have had the opportunity to participate in this debate.

“I highlighted the deal Norway currently has, a deal which has a detrimental impact on the fishing industry. The UK government has given the Norwegians the greater part of our market overnight and achieved nothing in return for fishermen.

“I also highlighted the delay with the £100 million scheme that was promised by the UK Government in January, nearly seven months later, fishermen are still waiting. The UK Government needs to move quickly and deliver on their promise to help our fishing industry which is caught up in bureaucracy as a result of the Brexit deal.

“Prior to Brexit, three-quarters of Scottish fishermen’s exports went to the European Union, but there has been an almost exponential rise in costs. As an example, Barratlantic, a local fish factory in my constituency, tell me that where a delivery note used to suffice, it now needs a catch certificate, packing lists and commodity codes, scientific names on consignments, a commercial invoice and an import and export declaration form, a staggering eight pieces of paper before it starts exporting. In addition, this fish factory pays the French Government VAT at 5.5%, and it also needs a health certificate.

“Export costs to get a product to the continent has trebled from 32p per kilo to around £1 a kilo. Whereas consignments could be sent in three to four pallets, they now have to be sent in pallet loads of 10 to make matters viable and economical, this affects the bottom line of many businesses.

“The Government really have to look quickly at ways of streamlining exports and along with Luke Pollard MP and Alistair Carmichael MP, I have been in touch with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on several occasions to try to get these matters streamlined so that multiple data entries and paperwork are not required. Some things could and should be digitised to enable the transfer of data from one place to the other without the onerous time.”