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Brexit costs Scottish salmon farmers £11m in two months

A Label Rouge Scottish salmon. Problems caused in exporting fish to the European Union following the end of the Brexit transition period have cost the industry £11m since January 1.
A Label Rouge Scottish salmon. Problems caused in exporting fish to the European Union following the end of the Brexit transition period have cost the industry £11m since January 1.

Scotland’s salmon farmers have incurred losses of at least £11 million as a direct result of the changes brought about by Brexit, the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) announced today.

The publication of the figure coincides with the second meeting of the UK and Scottish government joint task force on seafood exports, which was set up at the urging of the SSPO. The information was presented to the task force this morning by SSPO chief executive Tavish Scott.

Layers of bureaucracy

The organisation blames the losses on extra paperwork, new layers of bureaucracy, delays and confusion caused by the end of the Brexit transition phase.

Since January 1 this year, when the Brexit transition phase ended and exporters had to deal with the full effects of not being in the European single market, salmon farmers have experienced considerable delays, some of which have resulted in lost orders, failed deliveries, unharvested fish and heavily discounted products at market.

The sector has experienced an immediate loss of the sale of around 1,500 tonnes of product.

An illustration of the pre-Brexit Day 1 to Day 2 supply chain. Post-Brexit issues have disrupted this, sometimes resulting in Day 1 to Day 3 which can result in lost orders, failed deliveries and discounted product. Graphic: SSPO.
An illustration of the pre-Brexit Day 1 to Day 2 supply chain. Post-Brexit issues have disrupted this, sometimes resulting in Day 1 to Day 3 which can result in lost orders, failed deliveries and discounted product. Graphic: SSPO.

The SSPO said salmon farmers prepared extensively for the changes and allocated additional resources to maintain the smooth and efficient supply process it previously enjoyed.

But problems beyond their control meant they had to delay harvesting 700 tonnes of fish in order to minimise any of their product becoming spoiled or destroyed.

The sector has experienced various increasing costs which are unrelated to production, amounting to £200,000 in January alone, added the SSPO. They are the cumulative result of additional export documents and resources, logistics costs, administrative and veterinary costs, and lost custom as a result of reduced confidence in the supply timeline.

Tavish Scott:
Tavish Scott: "This cannot be the 'new normal'."

Lighter touch

Scott said: “This cannot be the ‘new normal’. Our members cannot guarantee reliable delivery times to the European Union, which is our biggest overseas market. The systems need to be streamlined and a lighter touch adopted on all sides to make sure we can continue to serve our European customers as we have in the past. If not, they will go elsewhere, and we will lose both trade and customers.

“We are calling on both the UK and Scottish governments to work together with us and with the supply chain to make sure there are no more blockages in the system which prevent our members from getting their fish to market on time.”