Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has denied claims the UK’s Christmas eve exit agreement with the EU has “comprehensively betrayed” the fishing industry.
Mr Raab responded to claims brought forward by Loch Fyne Langoustines and industry body Seafood Scotland that a number of family-run businesses were “days from collapse” as a result of new “red-tape”.
It follows revelations last week the fisheries minister did not read the withdrawal agreement as she was too busy overseeing her local “nativity“, while an argument over compensation will be given to those who have lost weeks of trade since January 1 rages on.
ENOUGH is ENOUGH WE CANT GET OUR PRODUCT into the EU MARKET WE are facing BANKRUPTCY get it sorted @Ianblackford_MP @FergusEwingMSP @Feorlean @michaelgove @scotfoodjames @BorisJohnson @ScotGovFM @BBCJamesCook @itvnews @BBCNews @scotgov @ScotTories pic.twitter.com/MtRpEMx44N
— Lochfyne langoustines Ltd & Lochfyne seafarms Ltd (@LochfyneLangous) January 13, 2021
Seafood exports to Europe have faced delays following the end of the Brexit transition period.
Transport company DFDS has halted exports into the EU as new checks and paperwork are required.
Some Scottish fishermen are now landing their catch in Denmark to avoid the “bureaucratic system” that exports to Europe now involve.
Mr Raab described the issues raised by the fishing industry as “teething problems”.
The agreement will allow EU-berthed boats the opportunity to fish in UK waters for the next five years, while a number of catches in UK waters by UK fisherman will still be subject to quotas.
Jamie Macmillan, of Loch Fyne Langoustines, warned earlier this month his company was no longer able to trade in the EU because of the “red-tape” brought about by Brexit.
Speaking on the BBC, Mr Raab said he did not accept the fishing industry’s claims of “betrayal”.
He said: “This is a great deal for the fishing industry, both short term and long term.
“We get control over our fisheries back and full control as an independent coastal state.
“There is an immediate 15% uplift in our access to fisheries for the UK sector in the first year. This rises by two-thirds in the five-year transition period.
“We have annual negotiations an of course the industry is going to want to increase its capacity to take advantage of those increased stops.
“That’s why we are putting in £100 million to shore up the industry across the UK to make sure this important opportunity of leaving the EU and transition period can be grasped.”
He added: “There will be some teething problems, we are very focused on working with all the different sectors including the fishing industry, to resolve these.”