British fishing catch left to rot due to ‘absolutely ridiculous’ red tape

Brexit deal has 'smashed people's dreams' says fishing boss

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) hit out at a “brick wall of bureaucracy”, with new rules around trade in force following the end of the transition period on December 31. The NFFO claimed a consignment from Cornwall had rotted after being delayed for 48 hours.

British fishermen must complete paperwork which requires a vet who is approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to check the goods before export.

Andrew Iveson, an approved vet from Amivet in Cheshire, told the Telegraph: “It has been absolutely ridiculous.

“The complexity of the rules and confusion over the new paperwork has led to chaos.

“Many fishermen don’t know what the rules are, who to turn to for help and are panicking.

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“We have gone from doing 20 certificates a day to more than 300.”

Mr Iveson said it had been a “struggle” to get guidance from the UK and the EU on the paperwork.

He added: “You can imagine fresh food isn’t going to be fresh when it gets to Europe.”

The delays have led to Scottish fishermen being told to catch less fish.

Jimmy Buchan, chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association, said: “We’re now advising the catching sector to ease up.

“We can’t guarantee we’ll get it into the marketplace.”

Earlier this week, Mr Buchan warned exports to the EU are being hit by hold-ups.

He said: “Trucks laden with fresh seafood are being held up in central Scotland due to problems with customs barcodes and lack of veterinary service capacity.

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“Instead of representative samples being removed from trucks and checked, entire trailers are being emptied so that every box and label can be checked.

“Combined with computer problems on both sides of the English Channel, this is a worrying sign for the days and weeks ahead when the flow of produce will get much greater.”

“These issues have a detrimental impact on our member businesses, because ultimately they lose revenue and prices in the market become depressed in reaction to the problems. We are at the point now where the whitefish fleet may have to stop fishing.

“Things are tough enough due to Covid-19 without this on top.

“Ministers of both the UK and Scottish governments need to get on top of the situation and resolve these issues as soon as possible.” has contacted Defra for comment.

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