SSPO chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird. Photo: FFE

Don’t drag us into Brexit fishing row warns SSPO

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation has warned that a tie-up between aquaculture and fishing quotas in the proposed Brexit deal could harm the farmed sector and must be scrapped.

Published Last updated

In a statement today, SSPO chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird said: “We have been clear that a negotiated outcome between the UK and the EU is preferable to a ‘no-deal’ scenario. Exiting the EU without a deal would almost certainly place fresh barriers in the way of the export of farmed salmon to the continent.

“As a result, the SSPO believes it would be better to have an agreement which continues to allow frictionless trade with the continent than no agreement at all.”

Hesketh-Laird added: “However, the political heads of agreement for future trade talks does raise serious questions. By coupling aquaculture with future catch fish quotas, this document raises the prospect of tariffs being imposed on exports of farmed fish if there is no agreement on North Sea white fish quotas. It also raises the prospect of border checks for fresh salmon exiting the UK bound for our biggest export market – the EU.

“We accept that this would only happen if the proposed agreement is implemented unamended and if there is no mutually acceptable deal on fisheries being reached. But it is included in the text around the ‘backstop’ and, as such, remains a risk. It is a risk the farmed sector is determined to avoid.

“We are clear: there must be no linkage between access for EU vessels to UK waters and the tariff-free supply of seafood products to EU markets.

“The SSPO will continue to study the draft agreement in detail and we look to both the UK and Scottish governments for their own analysis of the impacts of the proposed deal on the UK biggest food export, farmed Scottish salmon. In the meantime, we shall continue to push for the continued, tariff-free export of the premium, niche product that is Scottish farmed salmon to the EU after Brexit, with no additional conditions attached.”