Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has urged the Scottish Government and UK Government to work together to secure a good outcome in UK/EU trade negotiations for the aquaculture industry, following news that the Scottish Rural Economy Secretary has not had any specific discussions with the UK Government on the sector.
In portfolio questions on Wednesday, Ms Wishart highlighted that 23% of UK farmed salmon is produced in Shetland as well as 75% of Scottish farmed mussels and noted how important aquaculture is to small rural communities. Ms Wishart asked the Rural Economy Secretary what recent discussions the Scottish Government has had with the UK Government on aquaculture in its EU negotiations and asked what additional resources are being planned to ensure producers can continue to export when the transition period ends.
Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing replied there have been no discussion on aquaculture but that the Scottish Government is concerned about the approach that the UK Government is taking on tariffs. He noted that he shared concerns about exporters being faced with the burden of red tape.
Commenting Ms Wishart said:
“It’s worrying that there have been no recent discussions with the UK Government on aquaculture. The sector is hugely important to Shetland’s economy and indeed in other areas of Scotland too.
“I would urge the both governments to work together to ensure that the aquaculture industry is not hit with a sea of red tape and trade barriers after leaving the EU. These are high value perishable products. Producers need to know what they can expect and that additional resources will be available to help deal with any new regimes.”