EU blasted over ‘absolutely incomprehensible’ red tape leaving own fishermen struggling

EU: Fishing red tape is 'incomprehensible' says expert

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Marc Delahaye, manager of the Normandy Fishing Committee, explained local fishermen are having to deal with a complicated process before they can begin fishing. Speaking to France 24, Mr Delahaye said: “The French state used to have a fixed quota of fishing licences that it could give out to the Normans and Bretons. Now Jersey is saying, ‘no it’s me that’s giving it out’.

“But it’s an extremely complicated process going from here to Paris, Paris to Brussels, Brussels to London, London to St. Helier and then back again.

“All that red tape is excruciating and regular fishermen find it absolutely incomprehensible.”

It comes as new group set up by the UK Government in a bid to resolve the export “issues” Scotland’s fishing and seafood sectors have faced in the wake of Brexit will meet for the first time this week.

Scotland Office minister David Duguid said the taskforce would aim to “work collaboratively across UK and Scottish governments”.

The group is due to meet fortnightly, with the first talks coming after industry leaders accused the UK Government of being “in denial” about the scale of the problem fishermen face exporting their catch to the European Union.

James Withers, chief executive at Scottish Food and Drink, told MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee it had been a “dreadful first few weeks” due to problems with paperwork and IT systems crashing.

The introduction of new checks and paperwork since the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 has caused disruption to exports of fresh fish and seafood to the EU.

Producers have expressed frustration at the lack of Government action, while last month seafood hauliers protested against the Brexit fishing deal by stacking lorries in central London.

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Mr Duguid promised the new taskforce would be “action-oriented” as it worked to ensure that “medium and longer-term export issues are resolved”.

The Scottish Seafood Exports Task Force will bring together representatives from the UK Government and the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors – with the Scottish Government also invited to take part at both ministerial and official level.

Mr Duguid has now written to the Scottish Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, to ask if he and his officials can take part in the first meeting this week.

Mr Duguid said: “We have had extensive consultations with the industry and have been working day and night to resolve issues around the new arrangements for getting our world-class seafood to customers in Europe.


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“From this ongoing consultation with industry representatives, I believe that the gap they would like us to fill would comprise an action-oriented group. This will work collaboratively across UK and Scottish governments, increasing confidence in the seafood and aquaculture supply chain by ensuring that medium and longer-term export issues are resolved.”

He insisted: “I am clear about the need for action. I want the task force to track the export process to identify issues stopping or delaying export, and areas of complexity that are not yet well understood.

“We want to seek a common understanding on the export process and address concerns by developing solutions to be taken forward by the UK Government, Scottish Government and EU.

“And we want to ensure there is effective communication with the industry to ensure traders are aware of issues and of solutions.”

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