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UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss with the SSPO's Tavish Scott, left, and Mowi Scotland boss Ben Hadfield. Photo: SSPO.
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss with the SSPO's Tavish Scott, left, and Mowi Scotland boss Ben Hadfield. Photo: SSPO.

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation chief executive Tavish Scott has used a ministerial visit to a salmon processing plant to remind the UK government of the continuing need to cut post-Brexit red tape that has cost the sector millions of pounds.

The SSPO chief was speaking during a visit by UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to salmon farmer Mowi’s secondary processing facility in Rosyth, Fife yesterday.

Scottish salmon farmers sold record volumes of fish to the EU in the first half of 2021 despite Brexit, according to figures released by HMRC last month.

Paperwork burden

But the additional burdens caused by Brexit cost Scotland’s salmon farmers at least £11 million in that period, and is still costing the sector £120,000 a month extra just in paperwork, says the SSPO.

Truss was opposed to the leaving the European Union during the 2016 referendum on the subject but changed her mind the following year. She is now in charge of winning trade deals with non-EU countries.

Scott said Truss had been a firm supporter for promoting Scottish export and investment for almost a decade since 2014 when she was first appointed as Environment Secretary.

Pivotal role

“The Scottish salmon farming sector plays a pivotal role in the post-Covid economic recovery and growth for both Scotland and the UK,” added the SSPO boss. “We hope that today’s visit by the Secretary of State will continue to highlight the value it brings to the table in terms of low-carbon jobs, investment and our vital contribution to the country’s balance of trade. 

“We look forward to our sector continuing to enjoy the support of the UK government, particularly in easing the post-Brexit red tape which has proven to be very expensive for our sector.”     

Opportunities ‘around the world’

Truss said: “It’s fantastic to be here... Salmon is our largest food export, there are huge opportunities around the world.”

Mowi Scotland managing director Ben Hadfield accompanied Truss on a tour of the processing facility, which has benefited from significant investments in new technology and automation. 

“We are leading the world not only in sustainable and responsible food production but also in the creation of high-skilled STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs throughout our business,” said Hadfield, who is also chief operating officer of Mowi salmon farming in Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Islands.