In a letter to his Westminster counterpart, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove, Ewing said work on contingency planning had identified that the number of export health certificates required by the salmon industry could quadruple from around 50,000 per annum to 200,000.
“This would cost around £15m extra each year – even if the EU’s more stringent requirements for certificates are disregarded,” wrote Ewing.
No benefit to industry
“Industry will see no benefit from this additional paperwork.
“At the same time, imports of similar products to the UK from the EU will not be subject to these requirements, creating an asymmetry that is only to the detriment of our own industry. As a minimum, we would expect the UK Government to be exploring with the European Commission urgently whether a temporary derogation from export health certification requirements could be possible.”
In the letter, Ewing said the practical consequences of a no-deal Brexit “become more stark by the day”.
He pointed out that he has raised the issue of export certification with UK ministers in September, and with Gove at a meeting on January 14.
Ewing concluded: “The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and Scotland’s public finances should not bear the costs of EU exit. I therefore seek your commitment that the UK Government will reimburse these costs, whether borne by the public sector or by industry.
“Can this be done?”