Scottish salmon producers say May’s Brexit plans pose severe questions

FILE PHOTO: Scottish salmon is pictured on the fish pavilion within the Rungis International wholesale meals market as patrons put together for the Christmas holiday season in Rungis, south of Paris, France, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Producers of Scottish salmon, Britain’s largest meals export, are in search of reassurance that the Brexit deal won’t hyperlink fishing in British waters by European Union boats with the availability of all British seafood merchandise to EU markets.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief government of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, mentioned “serious questions” had been raised by Britain’s draft settlement with Brussels to exit the European Union revealed final week, and for which Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to get political backing at home.

British salmon is a 1-billion-pound trade and all of it is farmed in Scotland. It is just not topic to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy which units quotas for entry for caught white fish at sea. But the draft opens the potential for this to alter, Hesketh-Laird mentioned on Friday.

“By coupling aquaculture with future catch fish quotas, this doc raises the prospect of tariffs being imposed on exports of farmed fish if there isn’t any settlement on North Sea white fish quotas.

“It additionally raises the prospect of border checks for recent salmon exiting the UK certain for our largest export market – the EU,” she mentioned.

While she recognised this could solely occur if the proposed deal was carried out unamended and if there was no mutually acceptable deal on fisheries, it was, in her view a threat.

“There must be no linkage between access for EU vessels to UK waters and the tariff-free entry of seafood products to EU markets,” she mentioned.

Her phrases chime with these of some Scottish lawmakers in May’s personal Conservative occasion, who are searching for a “cast-iron guarantee” that any fisheries settlement won’t hyperlink entry to British fishing waters with single market entry.

May sought to allay these fears in parliament on Thursday, saying: “The fisheries agreement is not something we will be trading off against any other priorities”.

Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; modifying by Stephen Addison

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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