Brexit costs Scotland up to £100m a year in lost salmon exports

Edinburgh, Scotland: Brexit is costing Scotland up to £100m a year in lost salmon exports, according to trade body Salmon Scotland which is calling on the next government to take urgent action. Scottish salmon is the UK’s largest food export, but farming companies have faced increased red tape and costs triggered by the departure from the EU in January 2020, says Salmon Scotland.

In 2019, there were more than 53,000 tonnes of Scottish salmon exported to the bloc, with the figure falling to 44,000 tonnes in 2023. Salmon Scotland believes there has been a net ‘loss’ of around £75m, or up to £100m had the sector grown at the rate previously expected. Chief executive of trade body Salmon Scotland, Tavish Scott, is today addressing MSPs on the constitution, Europe, external affairs and culture committee as part of their inquiry into the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) – which is up for review after the general election.

Scott will talk about challenges including:

  • Border Control Posts (BCPs) which come into force in April this year, bringing in a raft of new import requirements for the feed sector
  • Competitive disadvantage – there is still significant paperwork and processes which can lead to delays which may have knock-on impacts if consignments are delayed
  • Veterinary agreement – the sector is calling for the UK and EU to create a bespoke and mutually convenient Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement which returns efficiencies to supply chains on both sides of the Short Straits to help consumers and businesses in both territories
  • The lack of a new eCertification for export health certificates (EHCs), and issues with the current outdated system, which costs salmon farming companies £3 million-a-year
  • Bulk exports – improved technologies which are openly in use across the UK would benefit EU customers and consumers through reduced costs and environmental emissions via the use of larger bulk packaging.

“Scottish salmon is the UK’s largest food export and a major contributor to our economy, with demand rising at home and abroad,” said Scott.

“And despite soaring sales to Asia and the US, the EU is still the most significant region for our exports, accounting for more than 60% of international sales.

“The world-renowned quality of nutritious low-carbon Scottish salmon means that we could significantly grow markets such as Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

“But Brexit red tape continues to hold back the potential of Scottish exports, despite the hard work and investment put in by farmers to address the issues.

“We need the next UK government – whatever formation it is – to ease the burden on exporters so that sectors like ours can sell more Scottish produce, delivering economic growth and creating jobs here at home.”